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Occitanie Saint-Roman Abbey

Saint-Roman Abbey (Abbaye de Saint-Roman) is an ancient troglodyte monastery dug out of rock by hermits and monks. Excavations to create the abbey started in the 5th century but many parts were built in the 12th century. Parts of the abbey were created using a natural grotto which has been used by hermits before the monks arrived.

Location: France - Occitanie - Gard - Beaucaire
Access by car either from D999 or D2 west of Beaucaire. Well signed. From the parking lot it is a 15 minute walk uphill (gentle on a good pathway). Paid entry.
Closed Monday, except in July and August. Only open on Sundays in winter. Check the website for details. Note that they usually close for an hour at lunch.

Website: Saint-Roman Abbey

The structure is similar to Cappadocia (Cappadoce) in what is now the Central Anatolia region of Turkey.

Since the 19th century this abbey has been exposed to the weather, so is not as beautiful and "finished" looking as it was originally. Some traces of wall paintings remain. Saint-Roman was a monastery until 1538 when a castle was built on top. The abbey was turned into a storage area. The castle was destroyed in 1850. Saint-Roman is one of the oldest monasteries in France.

One of the cells has a Latin text carved above the door, which translates as "Vitalis lived in this modest cell".

From the top of the abbey, the hill top, there is a view of the River Rhone and nearby towns. Here there are many tombs carved into the rock. The monks of Saint-Roman buried their dead in spaces carved out of the rock, either outside on the terrace (the top of the abbey), or inside in the floor or walls.


Tombs and the view south towards Tarascon and Beaucaire.

Google Map

More Photos

Photos from our visit in May 2013.


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