Traveling in the Le Var region of southern France this past September (branded as Var Provence), I did a shore excursion with one peculiarity: No cruise line yet offers it.
I suspect some soon will, however. Yes, it’s true, one of the abbey’s highlights is yet another church, which many tourists traveling Europe have seen all too many of, but this church is something special, even to a jaded traveler like me.
The acoustics, as you will hear in the accompanying video, are remarkable — and spiritually moving.
Situated in a secluded wooded region between the towns of Draguignan and Brignoles, Le Thoronet Abbey is one of three Cistercian abbeys in Provence and one of the best examples of the Cistercian order. The monks lived an austere life, and even the church acoustics imposed a certain discipline upon them, as the stone walls created long echoes, forcing the monks to sing slowly and perfectly together.
Built in the late 12th and early 13th centuries and now restored as a museum, Le Thoronet Abbey is an exceptional example of spirituality and philosophy transformed into an architectural marvel. Check out the video and let us know if you think cruise lines should be offering this as a shore excursion in the south of France.
An avid traveler and an award-winning journalist, Ralph Grizzle produces articles, video and photos that are inspiring and informative, personal and passionate. A journalism graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Ralph has specialized in travel writing for more than two decades. To read more cruise and port reviews by Ralph Grizzle, visit his website at www.avidcruiser.com