In 1140, Rotrou III, Count of Perche, in memory of his cherished spouse, Matilde, daughter of the King of England, who had perished along with a number of other Normand nobles while crossing the English Channel, founded the Grande Trappe, in the Perche Forest, according to the Cîteaux (Cistercian) Order, observing St-Benedict's rule.
In the 18th century, abbot Rancé reformed the Cistercian Order to the current Trappist Order. The buildings used by the monks today were built at the end of the 19th century. The restored hostel building from the 13th century is the only original building.
One cannot visit the monastery, but can attend the religious services... an audio-visual presentation is offered at the visitor's center, where books, religious articles, and food products from the monastery are available.For those who can read French, click here to go to the monastery's web site