The purpose of the Contemporary Garden & Heritage Prize is to reward the creation or rehabilitation of gardens in heritage sites. This prize of the VMF Association was created in 2014 thanks to the patronage of Ernest-Tom Loumaye.

In 2018, it is the Abbey of Combelongue which received this prize.


The Abbey of Combelongue

Nestled in the hollow of a valley in the Pyrenean foothills, between Foix and Saint-Girons, the Abbey of Combelongue, also called Saint-Laurent de Combelongue Abbey, is an abbey of the Order of Prémontré which offers the charm and prestige of a place steeped in history.

Founded in 1138 by the Count of Pallars, it received King Louis VII in 1154, on his way to Santiago de Compostela.

This Romanesque "Mudejar" style building, classified as a historical monument, is one of the jewels of the Couserans' heritage. From the medieval garden to the French garden, its park labelled "remarkable garden" offers a walk through the ages. Today it is a private residence open to visitors and has a guest apartment.

The Abbey of Combelongue is entirely built in bricks in a style mixing the Romanesque and the "Mudejar" in an unusual way.

When the owner acquired it in 1991, the remains of the abbey threatened to fall into ruin. Amazed by the beauty of the site, Jean-Luc Mirguet-Avanzi decided to give it back its structure without distorting the spirit of the place.

The landscape of meadows, trees and hedges that one might think had been in place since the foundation of the abbey was rehabilitated by Mr Mirguet-Avanzi after the acquisition of the surrounding land: in particular, a lawn path was created to extend the east-west axis of the church.

A rustic meadow, extended by a country landscape, serves as a showcase for this ensemble. Several sequences are also organised around an alignment of chestnut and lime trees forming a series of dominant green rooms, separated by beech or hornbeam hedges.

The garden of Combelongue Abbey offers an evidence, everything is in its place, in accordance with the genius of the place with an elegant country simplicity.



Abbey of, Combelongue,

09420 Rimont

Visit: 06 07 99 35 82

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