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Fontenay Abbey: Exterior facade of the abbey church
The abbey church, built of limestone, was begun ca. 1139; it was sufficiently complete to be consecrated in 1147. It is therefore the oldest, though not necessarily the most representative, of the surviving group of so-called Bernardine churches.
The Abbey of Fontenay is a former Cistercian abbey located in the commune of Marmagne, near Montbard, in the département of Côte-d'Or in France. The second daughter-house of Clairvaux, it was established by St. Bernard himself in 1118. In 1130 growing numbers necessitated a move to the present site. The abbey was bought by Édouard Aynard in 1905 and restored. Apart from the demolished (1745) refectory, it retains almost all of its original buildings: church, dormitory, cloister, chapter house, caldarium or "heating room", dovecote and forge, all built in Romanesque style, with later abbot's lodgings and infirmary. Today the abbey buildings are set in modern manicured parterres of lawn and gravel. It is one of the oldest and most complete Cistercian abbeys in Europe, and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981.