Places to visit | Local area map | rail travel


(left) Abbey ruins after the Revolution
(right) Today: 17th century tower of the old abbey, beautifully ornate.

Historic Abbey in the forest
Saint Amand founded an abbey here on the banks of the River Scarpe in the 7th century, and a small town grew up at the abbey gates.

The saint travelled the area (including what is now Belgium) as a missionary, converting it back to Christianity and founding 20 monasteries. The local king granted him a big estate in the forest by the river, where he built the first abbey. Over the centuries the St. Amand's abbey buildings were destroyed and rebuilt many times, mainly due to fighting in this border district.

French Revolution
The abbey was last rebuilt when this area finally became French in 1668. Most of the abbey church was then demolished in the Revolution, but the ornate tower survives. The Abbey's extensive estates now form part of the forested
Nature Park which surrounds the town.

1. View over the forests of the Nature Park
2. After the revolution, the abbey Prior's house became the local magistrate's courts and jail
3. Health treatment with water from the local hot springs - see 'Spa'
4.& 5. St-Amand's Brewery also uses local spring water 4. Spa patients relax at the town's Casino
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Weblinks and more information

Local area map
Hainaut map
Click on places on map for more information

Places to visit
Spa - water treatment health centre
Boat trips - on the rivers Scarpe and Escaut
Chicory Museum - Orchies

Scarpe-Escaut Nature Park - forests and outdoor leisure facilities in the area around St.Amand

Background Information:
Church & monasteries

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QUICK TOUR round Hainaut region, starting with Historic Mining Centre...



Valenciennes Last updated 9th September 2001 © Copyright Invicta Media 2000-01