Longpont, Église Notre-Dame


    Founded in 1131 at the initiative of Josselin de Vierzy, bishop of Soissons who appealed for help directly to Saint Bernard of Clairvaux. The abbey later enjoyed the patronage of Count Raoul de Vermandois. By the later 12th century the abbey was xsrich from its agrarian possessions and viticulture; the community included sixty brothers and fifty conversi. Peter the Chanter (d.1197) chose to spend the latter part of his life here.


    Begun ca. 1200


    Cistercian church where an aisled basilica is intersected by a projecting aisled transept terminated to the east by a shallow chevet of a seven-part hemicycle ringed by an ambulatory with seven shallow radiating chapels.


    A the three-story elevation: an arcade support of slender cylindrical columns, blind triforium and generous clerestory windows; in an arrangement similar, in articulation and forms, to that of Soissons. The western frontispiece was a broad triple portal entrance with no towers.


    This was a Cistercian monastic abbey which enjoyed the patronage bishops, counts and kings. Begun around 1200 the church was probably substantially complete by 1227 when it was consecrated in the presence of King Louis IX . The abbey was closed in 1791 and the building stone retrieved for use in the neighboring villages; portions of the nave remain.


    This marks a dramatic break with specialized austere type of Cistercian architecture of an early generation and has been considered a 'cathedral' type of church. The designer of the chevet probably looked to prototypes like S-Denis, S-Remi of Reims, as well as the cathedrals of Soissons and Chartres.

    Bruzelius, C., "L'apogée de l'art gothique: l'église abbatiale de Longpont et l'architecture cistercienne au début du XIIIe siècle," Analecta sacri ordinis cisterciensis, 25, 1979, 3-204.
    ----, Cistericain High Gothic: Longpont and the architecture of the Cistercians in France in the early thirteenth century, 1977
    ----, "L'abbaye de Longpont," Congrès archéologique de France, vol. 148:2, 1994, pp 431-443
    Chauvin, B., "Le plan bernardin: réalités et problèmes," Bernard de Clairvaux- Histoire, mentalities, spiritualité: Colloque de Lyon-Cîteax Dijon, Paris, 1992, pp 307-348
    James, J., "The canopy of paradise," Studies in Cistercian Art and Architecture, vol. 2, Ed. Meredith Parsons Lillich, Kalamazoo, 1984, pp 115-129
    Kasarka, I., "Entre Notre-Dame de paris et Chartres: le Portail de Longpont-sur-Orges (vers 1235)," Bulletin monumental, vol. 160:4, 2002, pp 331-344
    Le cartulaire du prieuré de Notre-Dame de Longpont de l'ordre de Cluny, au diocèse de Paris, pub. pour la première fois avec une introduction et des notes, Lyon, 1879
    Montesquieu-Fezensac, A.-P. de, Abbaye de Longpont, Moisenay, 2001
    Poeck, D., Longpont: eine cluniacensisches Priorat in der Ile-de-France, München, 1986
    Sandron, D., Picardie gothique, Paris, 2001, 243-253