Situated on the western shore of Lac du Bourget in Savoie, not far from Aix-les-Bains, Hautecombe Abbey is one of the region's historic and artistic jewels. Since it was founded, it has seen generations of monks and has established itself as a place of pilgrimage and contemplation. The abbey is open to visitors all year round, except during the summer season.
History of Hautecombe Abbey
Hautecombe Abbey was founded in the 12th century by Cistercian monks with the help of the Counts of Savoy. Thanks to its privileged location, it quickly became an important spiritual centre in the region, constantly inhabited by a religious community. During the 14th century, the abbey became the necropolis of the House of Savoy. Numerous princes and members of the royal family were buried here, adding to its importance and renown. After enjoying a golden age for four centuries, the abbey fell into turmoil during the French Revolution. The abbey's various buildings fell into ruin. But they were saved by Charles-Félix, King of Sardinia, who ruled Savoie in the early 19th century. Since then, Hautecombe Abbey has flourished, once again becoming a place where the faithful come together. The Chemin Neuf community moved here in 1992.
Art at Hautecombe Abbey
The architecture of Hautecombe Abbey bears witness to the mastery of neo-Gothic art by the Piedmontese architect Ernesto Melano. Melano was commissioned to rebuild the abbey church after it was destroyed during the French Revolution. The sculpted decorations and ornamentation he added gave the church a new lease of life. When you visit Hautecombe Abbey, open your eyes and take in all the treasures of the site: statues, paintings and frescoes. Among the paintings hanging in the abbey, you can discover scenes from the Bible (the Beheading of Saint John and the Lactation of Saint Bernard). The abbey's frescoes date from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. The colourful stained glass windows add an atmosphere of contemplation and serenity. Finally, discover the Necropolis, where the recumbent figures and funerary monuments of the House of Savoy are veritable sculptural masterpieces. They bear witness to the central role played by the abbey in the life and death of the princes.
The Chemin Neuf Community
During your visit to Hautecombe Abbey in Savoie, meet the Chemin Neuf Community, which arrived in 1992 thanks to the Abbot and the Archbishop of Chambéry. Today, the community at Hautecombe Abbey is made up of around thirty brothers and sisters of different faiths (Protestant, Orthodox, Catholic, etc.).
Possible visits to Hautecombe Abbey
To discover this exceptional site during your stay in Savoie, you can opt for an audio-guided tour or a guided tour of Hautecombe Abbey.
Guided tour of the Abbey
The guided tour of Hautecombe Abbey invites you to discover the history, architecture and hidden treasures of this religious building in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. You'll have the chance to explore the gardens, the Marie-Christine Tower, the salons of the royal flats and the King's Terrace. Length of visit: 1 hour Times (except Mondays and Tuesdays / summer season): 2.45pm and 3.45pm
Audio tour of the church
The audio tour allows you to explore the church on your own. The 30-minute tour is available in 8 languages and has even been adapted for children aged 8 to 13. Thanks to this audio guide, you can learn more about the history, architecture and spiritual life of Hautecombe Abbey. Length of visit: 30 minutes Opening times (except Mondays and Tuesdays / summer season): 10am to 11.15am and 2pm to 5pm
The Abbey souvenir shop
If you'd like to leave a lasting impression of your visit to Hautecombe Abbey in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, there's a souvenir shop on site. It features candles and icons hand-decorated by members of the Chemin Neuf community. You can also find other religious and regional products.
How do I get to Hautecombe Abbey?
There are several ways to get to Hautecombe Abbey and start your visit to this exceptional site. You can come by car (close to Annecy and Aix-les-Bains). But you can also get to the church by boat from Aix-les-Bains on Lac de Bourget or from Chanaz, also on Lac de Bourget. There are landing stages to take you to this monument from another century.
Would you like to book a stay in Savoie to discover Hautecombe Abbey and the magnificent Lac de Bourget? Our campsite in Savoie, camping des 3 Lacs, offers you cosy rentals and pitches in south-east France. During this week's holiday, as well as visiting the Abbey, its church, abbey church, chapel and the history of its monastery, you can also discover the region (Lyon, Aix-les-Bains, Chambéry...).