4 – The cloister (XIII – XVe)
Monastic life in a medieval abbey was organised around the cloister (or “claustrum”).
This space was completely enclosed by buildings and galleries and served different purposes :
- it was the hub of monastic daily life
- it was the inter-connecting point for the different monastic functions
- it also served as a meeting place and for meditation
Today the only things that remain are some of the gothic arcades which still bear witness to the changes made in the 15th century.
The layout of the buildings which used to surround the cloister was probably as per this diagram:
- the church wall formed the north part of the cloister.
- the church transept extends out towards the monastic quarters where we find the Capitulary room (or Salle Capitulaire) and the monastic cells.
The south side of the cloister would have been the dining hall probably connected to the kitchens.
The only thing that remains is the lower section of a door which leads to the cloister gallery and serves as testimony of an overhall or rather of a reconstruction during the 15th century.
From traditional drawings of medieval monasteries the west wing would have been where the food cellar was located.