In the 5th century A.D. there was a monastery called Notre Dame la Dorée et Saint Véran in the municipal area of Cagnes sur Mer, at the mouth of the Loup Valley.
Four hundred years later, the monastery was in danger of collapsing. It was renovated by Charlemagne, King of the Lombards and patrician of the Romans. Later, the area of the monastery was increased considerably, thanks to the donations of property offered by neighbouring families.
For example, a charter dated 31 December 1016 referred to a donation by Pierre and his wife Emengarde of their territory of Canadel, which was their part of inheritance, to the Monastery of Notre Dame la Dorée et Saint Véran.
The charter says: "We give this for the love of God, so that the Holy Mother of God intercedes for us, so that we will be welcomed by angels when departing from this life."
In the year 1032, Logier, his wife Odile and his children, including Pierre, who was the Bishop of Sisteron, gave all the land to the Monastery of Notre Dame la Dorée.
In the year 1033, the Lambert family made a donation which further enlarged the site. The various chapels built on this new land were considered to be dependent on the monastery, but not yet as belonging to it.
It was in the year 1055 that the monastery was put under the jurisdiction of the monastery of Lérins. The monks of Lérins immediately began construction of the Chapel of Canadel. The choir and nave, in pure Roman style, data back to this period, as the apse in the form of a concave half dome and semi-circular arches indicate.
On the other hand, the barrel arch was definitely only added a century later, as the slightly gothic arches show.
The construction of the Abbey adjacent to the chapel can be placed between the years 1150 and 1200. Evidence of this can be seen in the remains of the cloister and the machicolated door of the 12th and 13th centuries, which, like the chapel, are listed as historic monuments.
Built by the monks of Lérins, the Abbey was at first used as lodging for the abbot father every time he travelled to the assembly of bishops in Vence.
Finding it suitable, he moved his community there during the winter months, and this is how the Abbey became their winter residence. It remained so until 1789, when our ancestors, the glorious revolutionaries, seized all their property. The Abbey was later put up for sale and was purchased by a rich Neapolitan, Minéi di Santa Elena. His family maintained ownership of the north section, keeping only the buildings facing the valley.
The new owner of this north section later sold the property to the head chef of the Negresco Hotel in Nice, who wanted to set up his own business. Known by his first name, Joseph, he opened the "L'Abbaye chez Joseph" hotel-restaurant in 1938, before the Second World War. His resourcefulness for solving food supply problems is legendary and he helped the people in La Colle sur Loup in many ways during this difficult period.
A first-class organiser, after the war Joseph turned l'Abbaye, into a renowned meeting-place for cultural circles. Artists of all kinds from around the world would meet there: movie stars at the time like Daniel Gélin, Dany Robin, Georges Marshall, Henri Georges Clouzot (he was married there), Brigitte Bardot; singers like Tino Rossi; musicians, dancers of the Marquis de Cuevas; and above all painters, who made it their second home.
The celebration was unending and the champagne flowed copiously. Joseph's demise also meant the end of this atmosphere, which remains legendary and many "old customers" still remember it.
Later, one owner after another tried to venture into the hotel and restaurant business.
After being closed for several years, it was only in 1997 that Sylviane Hugues and her son Stéphane fell under the spell of this establishment with a heart and soul and decided to bring its walls filled with history back to life.
This is how "L'Abbaye" was established: a 3-star hôtel with a delightful and charming restaurant. It will leave an unforgettable impression, whether you are seeking monastic rest, peacefulness or penitence.
Your gluttony will be forgiven here !