Former Cistercian abbey founded by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux in 1118, and built in the Romanesque style. It is one of the oldest and most complete Cistercian abbeys in Europe. The Abbey of Fontenay, along with other Cistercian abbeys, forms a connecting link between Romanesque and Gothic architectures.
Saint Robert established the Order of Cistercians in Citeaux, France. The new order strictly observed the Rule of Saint Benedict. As part of this rule, monks had to be poor and live a simple life. In order not to be distracted from the religious life, Cistercians built self-sufficient monasteries in isolated areas and refused to use servants.