Premonstratensian Abbey in Pont-à-Mousson



brief description: 

the impressive Sainte-Marie-Majeure Abbey arose from the smaller Sainte-Marie-aux-Bois, located approximately 10 kilometres from Pont-à-Mousson. At the beginning of the 17th century, Servais de Lairuelz, abbot of Verdun and reformer of the Premonstratensian Order, founded the abbey with the help of local Jesuits, the Jesuit University had turned Pont-à-Mousson into a religious and intellectual centre that very quickly became a bastion of the Catholic faith. The Premonstratensian Abbey, as it is known today, started to be built in 1705 under the reign of Duke Leopold I of Lorraine. Thomas Mordillac, whose work was strongly inspired by classic-style architecture, laid the first stone. But it also bears the signature of Nicolas Pierson, who completed the abbey in 1711, giving it a distinctly sober Baroque touch. With the death of Duke Stanislas in 1766, the Duchy of Lorraine was incorporated into the Kingdom of France by royal edict and the Society of Jesus (Jesuit Order) was suppressed.

relevant filming facts

good general condition
interior architecture: 
The Round Staircase: the only staircase not destroyed in 1944. Its eighty steps rise to the second floor in lines so pure and defined that, when standing in its centre, visitors will believe themselves to be looking up into infinity. The Oval Staircase: another magical place in the abbey. Strained-faced Atlas is putting forth superhuman efforts to support this staircase, making it seem light and airy, its soaring arches effortlessly swinging upwards. Each stone fits into the next, the treads of the low, broad steps are alternately convex and concave, creating a harmonious, Baroque whole which is rounded off to perfection by a wrought iron railing of consummate beauty from the workshops of artist blacksmith Jean Lamour in Nancy. The Square Staircase: an example of classic-style architecture. Its pure, elegant lines are omnipresent, even in the artistic details of the wrought iron balustrade. It is only on the second floor gallery that Nicolas Pierson`s Baroque signature is revealed: the architect had a penchant for stucco and wrought iron decorative elements with intertwined water-leaf motives. Being situated near the church, the staircase was nicknamed escalier des matines (stairway to prayer). All in all, the abbey has 20 rooms and can accommodate up to 250 persons.
a 2-hectare park surrounds the abbey, situated on the edge of the Lorraine Regional Natural Park
Background noise: 
park, gardens, city


Pont-à-Mousson train station is approx.. 1 km away


sanitary facilities: 
parking lot: 
water supply: 


Marie-Alix Fourquenay