On 11-08-2020, My co-Director, Bunny and me ventured to Belgium to have an invigorating adventure in Abbey de Villers. As a guidance for the location of Abbey de Villers, there is a building with the name of “Le Chalet De la Foret” (the address : Rue de Chevelipont 6, Genappe, Belgium). It is erected at the side of the road, I am sure you will not miss it. There is a car park provided in front of the Abbeys and is free of charge. During our visits, there is a construction going on but not to worry, the abbeys are open for visitors. Please refer to the link as provided below for the entrance fees.
Villers Abbey (abbaye de Villers) is an ancient Cistercian abbey located in the town of Villers-la-Ville, in the Walloon Brabant province of Wallonia (Belgium), one piece of the Wallonia’s Major Heritage. Founded in 1146, the abbey was abandoned in 1796. Most of the site has since fallen into ruins.
During this period, the abbey reached the height of its fame and importance. Contemporary accounts suggest that roughly 100 monks and 300 lay brothers resided within its walls, although this is possibly an exaggeration.
The abbey now hosts an annual choir festival “Nuit Des Choeurs” in which a number of choirs sing a variety of music – classical through to gospel, jazz and pop arrangements – from different parts of the grounds over successive nights, culminating in a fireworks display and centre stage concert.
Every year in August an international choir festival takes place in its floodlit ruins.
Heading for some adventures:
We crawled into the tunnel and that is located inside the abbey. It leads to the underground chambers. It was interesting as you will wonder what are those chambers are for. We think that those were for the kitchen and the bedrooms for the chef and helpers. Then we climbed out from a narrow stairs leading us the open area. We walked to the abbeys. Don’t worry if you were wondering what are those buildings are for, there is always a board of stories.
The best part of the visiting were, we were amazed a pair of geese : a gander and a goose. The goose was angry with the gander because he is escaping from the fence. Meanwhile the goose is pregnant and she could not get out from the fence with her growing belly. It was hilarious. They were honking with each other like a pair of lovers.
The highlights :
Oh yes, please do not forget to visit the back of the abbeys. There is a beautiful landscape with a fountain. At the back of the garden, there were some stairs, yes very high up. This will lead you to the vineyard and also a chapel. I want to share this part, it is exciting. Inside the small chapel, there was a paper written as, Please find 5 letters of “H” around the small chapel. Why it is marked “H”? Because that was the secret place for the monk to enjoy wine drinking. We found it, but it is more than 5 letters of “H”. So whoever is planning to visit the abbeys, try and find the said the letter “H”. Let us know where and how you found the letter. Good luck.
As you are coming down from the stairs, there was a pool of old blood stained from someone that fell down and died as stated in of one of the boards beside the stairs. We could not find the stained and now is your turn to let us know where it is located.
Do you know that in that era, they also believe in draining blood to cure certain diseases? Yes, there was a long and huge chamber next to the abbeys where all the monks are draining the blood for healing.
Conclude your visit with stopping at the abbey’s microbrewery, vineyard 5 fantastic gardens:
- The Jardin des Simples (inspired by the medicinal garden used by monk in Middle Ages)
- The Jardin des Moines (a modern medicinal garden)
- The Jardin de l’Abbé (a French style garden)
- The Jardin de la Pharmacie (a 10 acres ornamental garden on the hill)
- The Jardin des Senteurs and its meditative path (follow this scented path all the way to the Saint-Bernard chapel).
In the Villers de Abbey’s archives was discovered one of the monks’ recipes for beer, dating back to the 18th century. This precious find inspired new recipes to its microbrewery. 4 organic craft beers are now brewed within the abbey: the V, IX, the Lumineuse (light) and the Ténébreuse (dark). Visitors can learn how beer was brewed over time, whether in Villiers or elsewhere in the world.
Make sure enjoy the beers, it is smooth and delicious, love the beer pouring down the throat.
Brewed from organic ingredients
The 4 beers brewed on site by the Brotherhood of Hostieux Monks are made with organic ingredients.
- The Villers V beer or L’Authentique (the authentic one): light, brewed in the purest tradition of abbey beers
- The Villers IX beer: a 9% triple beer perfect with a meal
- The Ténébreuse and the Lumineuse: these beers refer to the abbey’s motto: post tenebras, spero lucem (after darkness, I hope for light)
Now readers, thank you for spending your time in reading my travel blog. Hope to hear from you too. Hugs. Have a nice vacation.
For extra information :
What are the differences among an abbeys, cathedral, church, basilica, monastery and chapel?
**An abbey is a building that houses a monastic community of either monks or nuns and is headed by an abbot or abbess, who holds the same rank for his/her community as a bishop does. Most large monasteries have an abbey. An exception is Westminster Abbey in London, which bears the name but no longer functions as an abbey.
A cathedral is a church where a bishop has his seat (Latin, cathedra) and is the official church of his diocese. Size has nothing to do with being a cathedral.
A church is any building used exclusively to worship God in the Christian (or related) traditions.
A basilica is a large building used for public gatherings. At first, these were not religious meetings, but time has narrowed it down to such. Probably the most famous is St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, which, by the way, is NOT a cathedral.
A monastery is a community of monks or nuns without an abbot/abbess. In that case, the head of the order would be the Father/Mother Superior. In many cases a community of nuns is a convent, especially when attached to a parish. Most monasteries have taken special vows of silence and are cloistered, i.e., separated from the world.
A chapel is a smaller area in a large church which can be used for liturgical ceremonies. The best known example is the Sistene Chapel, which houses the famous Michelangelo ceiling and the altar painting of the Last Judgment. This room is used for the election of the Pope as well as Masses, and is attached to St. Peter’s Basilica.
Index links for references :