Flaran Abbey – Valence-sur-Baïse, France - Atlas Obscura

Valence-sur-Baïse, France

Flaran Abbey

A treasure trove of fine art is hiding inside this small medieval abbey in Gascony. 

The Abbaye de Flaran (Flaran Abbey) was built in 1151, and after over 800 years this well-preserved Cistercian abbey is still standing strong. At first glance, it may appear like any other rural medieval monastery. But step inside and you’ll see this place is much more than that.

Pass through the beautiful surrounding garden to enter the abbey and you will find a surprising collection of paintings and sculptures created by some of the most famous artists of European history. There are works by greats such as Claude Monet, Gustave Courbet (the leader of the realism movement), Auguste Rodin, Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, Auguste Renoir, Peter Paul Rubens, Toulouse Lautrec, and many more besides.

On top of being a centuries-old place of worship, the Flaran Abbey doubles as a magical art museum that transports visitors back in time. What’s more, the abbey now serves as a cultural center where new modern works are regularly created and displayed, blending the art of past and present. 

Know Before You Go

If you want, take a picnic to enjoy in this beautiful setting—and of course, a camera to capture the moment.

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