The quest for God that characterised the Middle Ages still marks the face of Europe’s cities and countryside today. Of all the monastic movements that arose in the 11th-12th centuries, the Cistercian order was the most successful, rapidly gathering more than 1700 abbeys across Europe.

Abbey territories

Cistercian abbeys have contributed, on many levels, to the development of the territories in which they have been established and in which they have prospered. After the Revolution, most have disappeared. Having become centres of heritage and tourism, hundreds of them are open to the world and welcome crowds of visitors within their walls. They still radiate on their own economic, cultural and social fabric. Everywhere the traces left in the landscape by the white monks continue to occupy the present. They form a heritage that is both diverse and unique. A common heritage to be preserved and enhanced.

Cistercian Territories invites the traveller to discover the territories of abbeys from Villers, Clairvaux and Alcobaça. These essential sites are gateways to a constellation of sites and rural landscapes marked by the Cistercian imprint.

Journey to Cistercian lands


An exceptional heritage nestled in the heart of a forest, in the Thyle valley (Natura 2000 site), in a rich rural area, a stone's throw from Brussels


A pioneer abbey, turned prison, on the borders of Champagne and Burgundy, the land of the prestigious "Champagne" appellation vineyard


A jewel of Cistercian heritage, classified as UNESCO heritage, in an agricultural region renowned for its orchards and vineyards, a stone's throw from the Atlantic coast

A cooperation between European rural territories

Launched in March 2020, “Cistercian Territories – Sense the History today” is a transnational cooperation project funded by the LEADER programme. It is led by the LAG Pays des 4 Bras (Belgium), project leader, in partnership with two other European LAGs: the LAG Côte des Bar en Champagne (France) and the LAG Leader Oeste (Portugal). The three rural territories are thus associated around their former abbeys: the abbeys of Villers, Clairvaux and Alcobaça respectively, with the support of the European Charter of Cistercian Abbeys and Sites.

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