The stunning ruins of St Bertin Abbey, in St Omer, North East France

in Pinmapple5 months ago

During our vacation to France in August we visited the amazing ruins of St Bertin Abbey, in the lovely town of St Omer, which lies in North East France.


St Omer is quite a quaint town to visit in general, with the Abbey located away from the town centre, but in quite a prominent position.


It was the vast size that amazed me. It was clearly huge, with very impressive masonry work throughout.


The pic above begins to give an idea of the size of just what is left. The position from which I took the pic above was actually within the old footprint of the building. For info, the crane in the background was not related to the ruins, and is where what looked like apartment buildings were being constructed next to the site.


My wife and I loved the ruins - they seemed rather romantic. Although our teenage daughter didnt even get out of the car to look at them ! I thought that was really funny !


The workmanship around the main entrance door is quite impressive, as is generally found in such large abbeys. Rather surprisingly the 5 statues you can see on the pedestals in the middle of the picture are all headless ! That seems a little odd - I wonder if there is any connection to the French Revolution for that action.


Wikipedia states that it was built in the 7th century (so 1300+ years old !), closing in the late 1700s during the French revolution. It was then largely pulled down in 1830, and further damaged during world war 2.


The pic above begins to give an indication of the original height. There is a stairwell to the left of the arched windows you can see - with arrow slits to let light in, roughly equating to a standard floor height each. 7 arrow slits are visible above the ground entrance door (ground floor) - so the main structure of what we can see was roughly a ground floor plus 7 storeys high - quite large. The central tower is now completely gone and I can only guess that it was even higher still !


In the pic above you can see some of the huge structural supporting pillars that would have supported the upper roof weight - again, they give an idea of size.


In the park, the footprint of the rest of the abbey was laid out via the raised beds that you can see above. It was quite a surprise to see that, as it showed just how huge it was - and it went way further across the park than I thought it would.


Even as a ruin it was very impressive to see - imagine what it must have been like in its glory !


The statue out front, which I assume to be a monk, has a very interesting name - Suger ! I'm guessing it was one of the more prominent monks from the abbey. 'Hey Suger' is not something I would expect to say to a monk !


The weather was stunning the day we were there, with the blue skies certainly acting as a lovely background for the pics !


The pic above is taken to the side of the main entrance door, and you can see just how thick that front wall is, although again, there is a spiral stairwell in it too - but it looks to be atleast 10-12 foot across !


I have to say that I was really impressed with the ruins - they were well worth going to see. They were fenced off, so you could not get right inside to see them, but they were still very impressive.


Definitely worth the visit if you ever get the chance, along with having a wander around St Omer town centre itself as well, which is quite pretty - and also has another stunning cathedral.



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I also like the way the entrance looked, the design is beautiful. For the monk status to be up there, he must have been influential and powerful at that time. I calling a monk suger, as in sounds like sugar, is kinda funny.

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It certainly was quite beautiful for a ruin !

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Many thanks @livinguktaiwan - I appreciate it !

Hahah well i think your daughter isnt a fan of ancient France, i adore them, it takes me back in time which is something i'll probably love to see now
.... The building never gets old yehh i wonder if its being renovated every year

It was stunning. I could not see any renovation work as such - apart from work to make sure it was safe, but there was not any work related to bringing it back to its former glory.

Hmm well at least they trying their best to maintain it in shape, what was your compliment your daughter didn't go look the beautiful structure? Did she at least tell you why,? Or you never asked

She had been moaning because we dragged her around the town centre of St Omer beforehand, and it was quite a hit day. So she'd had enough be the time we had gotten to the abbey !

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Hahha no wonder she feels stressed out though that was she couldn't enjoy the view well i can relate to her behavior have been in exactly the same spot before

'Hey Suger' is not something I would expect to say to a monk !

🤣 Lol I love that sentence!

Absolutely agree with you about visiting the place if it’s possible! I’ve never been there but according to your post and pictures it’s very beautiful! It also seems to have a powerful energy!

It really was a great place to visit - I dont know why, but it just seemed to be more special than what it should have been.

It was a historical place, even though it was ruined but still the beauty will captivate us. The new generations will not admire the ruin buildings, hehehe they are not sentimental as we are. Thank you for posting it here.

Lol - but yes, I will still inflict these things on my daughter until she likes them !!

Beautiful place!

It certainly is - quite stunning !

France has been top on my list of the beautiful places in the world i'll to visit someday.

Funny how the name of the monk is Suger when its not one's fiancée or something. 😂

These are really tall buldings... just imagine how beautiful they were when in its glory.

Beautiful place though. Welldone and greetings to you beautiful teen 💖

France is a great country to visit - I've been quite a few times, and keep going back - loads to see and tons of history !
Many thanks !

They sure did go all out with their churches back in the day didn't they? What a beautiful piece of history! It looks like it was a perfect day for you as well!

There are stunning churches, abbeys and cathedrals pretty much everywhere in France - and this one was no exception, and the weather was great pretty much the whole two weeks we were there, except for one day of rain - so I cant complain !

Yet a less known part of France in my opinion! But happy to see more of this country, other than the most common and popular touristic attractions

So far I've found that there is great stuff to see wherever you go in France - and St Omer was lovely !

Wow, very interesting place. Thanks for sharing ☺️