|Senanque - a Cistercian monastery in Provence|
We have been to Citeaux more than once, the first time we failed to find anything except the shop selling the monks produce – honey, cheese etc. The second time we found the new church, which is worth a look, but not exactly old (built in 1998) and finally we discovered that you could visit some of the old buildings, but of course the day we went for a visit (last November) everything was shut and wouldn’t open for tours again until this summer.
|Quote from the Abbot of Citeaux|
|No good me being a monk, I'm not getting up that early|
The young girl doing the tour was incredibly nervous, but became more confident as we moved from one area to another. I noticed her eyes kept flicking towards one of the men in the tour and I suspected that she was actually being graded on her performance, hence the nervousness. I kept my eyes fixed on him and I notice the tell-tale sandals. At that point I was sure that this man was one of the brothers incognito. The fact that he kept shutting doors after us everywhere and kept an eye on the movements of all in our group made me more and more convinced that he was not a genuine tourist. So here is our mock tourist “casually” looking at the copies of illuminations displayed in the library.
|Timetable of a monk's day|
At the end of our tour, the mystery tourist admitted who he was and that this was the girl’s very first time doing a tour for real tourists, which despite the palpable nervousness at the beginning, she had completed very well indeed. Unfortunately, I won’t be recommending this visit to people who stay here.