The Orval Abbey

History

The visit of the ruins of the old Cistercian Abbey offers you to discover a site full of authenticity at the bottom of a valley where the Mathilde fountain springs.

A projection introduces you to the history of the monastery and the life of the monastic community today (20 minutes). An interpretive tour helps to understand the various realities of the Cistercian place.

Depending on your expectations, you will be fascinated by the art and ironwork collections housed in the 18th century cellars, or by the traditional pharmacy and its medicinal plant garden.
In season, thematic exhibitions are added.

Brewery

The Brasserie d’Orval, located within the Abbey grounds, was created in 1931 to finance the huge reconstruction of Orval. From the outset, it hired paid labour, including the first master brewer, Pappenheimer, who was responsible for the recipe.

The brewery’s commercial policy was adjusted to the values lived by the monastic community.  The brand’s income is devoted to social works and building maintenance.

Cheese dairy: Orval Trappist know-how

Cheese making at the Orval Abbey dates back to 1928, two years after the monks’ return. It was the monks of Sept-Fons in Moulins (France), sent to revive Orval, who established cheese making. The current cheese dairy is located in the old farm building built by the architect Vaes after the Cistercian barn of Ter Doest.

Orval’s cheese is made by the Trappist Abbey of Orval using pasteurised whole milk from the Gaume. Its pressed, uncooked paste with a natural washed rind is characterised by its smoothness. In Belgium, Orval cheese is classified in the category of cheeses called “Plateau”.


Photo Credits: © FTLB/P. Willems.

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