The old Convent of St Césaire

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2/5

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Date of travel

August, 2017

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On your own

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Located in the south eastern corner of the old city, this is reached through a splendid C18th gateway on Rue de la Madeleine. Visitors are able to wander round the outside of the buildings.

The convent was named after one of the first Bishops of Arles and was the first convent for women. Founded in the C6th just outside the walls, it became one of the great convents in Arles.

It was a very rich convent, with the Abbess coming from one of the wealthy families. It contained several churches dating from the C12th. The most important was Eglise St Blaise is a large simple building with a square tower and buttressed walls dating from the C12th. It held the relics of St Cesaire until the Revolution. Only the Romanesque apse of Chapelle St-Jean-du- Moustires survives.

The convent closed at the end of the C18th and the domestic buildings became an old peoples home until being abandoned at the end of the C20th. Since I visited, the area has been regenerated and some of the buildings now provide housing for 55 elderly people. “Eglise St Blaise”:http://www.fluor.fr/enclos-st-cesaire/ is being developed as an exhibition space.

There is an information board by the gateway with some information. This isn’t a must see, but if passing, it is worth going through the gateway to find out what is behind.

ESW

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