Cultural héritage

Proud of its history, Saint-Génis-des-Fontaines makes a strong headway into the 21st century by supporting quality life environment, dynamic societies and events whilst preserving numerous historical sites.

Eglise abbatiale St-Michel et son cloître/ St-Michel abbatial Church and its cloister

The Abbatial Church

>> Abbatial Church Virtual tour

Saint-Génis-des-Fontaines Benedictine Abbey was build in 778-780: It is dedicated to Christ’s martyr Saint-Génis (AD 303).

Shortly after Norman looters destroy it in the midst of the 11th century, it is rebuilt throughout medieval times architectural evolution: the 12th century church vault and the 13th century cloister construction.

Following its decline throughout the 16th century, it is united in 1507 to the Catalan Montserrat Abbey (near Barcelona).

After its unification to France in 1659 (Traité des Pyrénées), the Frondeur monks resist French governing, but these quarrels eventually sap the abbey’s ruling and bring on its decline.

The French revolution further wipes out the monastery.

In 1850, the abbatial church becomes the village parish church.

1922-1924: during those years a majority of columns from the cloister are sold to a Parisian antiquarian. It is dismantled. The remaining southeastern quarter is classified as cultural heritage in 1924. 

From 1970 to 1985, Saint-Génis-des-Fontaines town engages  in the restoration of its cultural heritage in partnership with l'ASVAC (Association pour la Sauvegarde des Valeurs Archéologiques et Culturelles). Throughout perseverance and united efforts stones are returned to their original location. (in situ). As from 1987 substantial restoration works are undertaken allowing for the vault, ceilings and angle corners of the lower ambulatory to be rebuilt.

The year 2002 sees the restoration of the upper ambulatory, which now serves as a “Cultural Gallery” and hosts renowned artists (exhibition program in the agenda).

Le cloître/ the cloister

St Génis-des-Fontaines cloister was built during the 8th century. Its specificity lies in the polychromies of its marbles, white for Céret, pink for Villefranche de Conflent and black for Corbières Roussillonnaises.

Le Linteau/ The Lintel

The Lintel made out of Céret white marble is the first stone dated Roman sculpture (1019-1020).

The date of engraving is mentioned in the two Latin lines: “ The twenty fourth year of King Robert’s ruling, abbot Guillaume by God’s grace, ordered for this work to be carried out in the monastery called les Fontaines, in remembrance of Saint-Génis.

Cloister and St Michel church tours

Opening hours

Opened everyday excepted for 1/05, 24 and 25/12 and  1/01. 

  • Octobre to March : 9h30 – 12h00 / 14h00 – 17h00
  • April, May, June and  Septembre : 9h30 – 12h00 / 14h00 – 18h00
  • July and August: 9h30 – 12h30 / 15h00 -19h00  
  • Closed: 1/05, 24 and 25/12 and 1/01

Entrance Fees

  • Full rate: 2€ 
  • Pass’intersites’ rate : 1,50€
  • Discounted rate: student, unemployed, disabled: 1€

Disabled access, booklets for visually impaired, plans and draft in 3Ds models, moldings, stone carving tools.

Group tours

Group minimum:15.

  • Cloister and church tour: detailed documentation in French and foreign languages - 1€/person- free access for the group leader
  • Cloister and Church guided tour: French - booking  required ( or fax : 2€ / person - gratuity for group leaders and coach drivers. Average tour duration: 1h.
  • Academic Tour (Schools) and recreational tour (Day Centre). Leaflets and tutorial packs provided for the tour. The guide accompanies the children throughout the site and helps them observe and discover the architecture. 

Cultural Office - Rue Clémenceau       

Info: 04 68 89 84 33.

Classified site : 

  • « Historical monument»
  • « Tourism for disabled » (auditive and  mental)  
  • « South of France Quality»
  • Site member of « Réseau Culturel Terre Catalane ». This network’s objective lies in developing quality cultural tourism whilst preserving its cultural resources. 

La chapelle romane Sainte-Colombe/ St Colombe Roman church

Listed as historical monument, it is located 2km north of Saint-Génis-des-Fontaines, in the Cabanes domain.

As from June 15th 2013 to September 15th, free guided tours of the Chapel , organized by by l'ASVAC (Association de Sauvergarde des Valeurs Archéologiques et Culturelles) will be available on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays, 4pm to 6pm. 

For further info please contact the Tourist Office at 04 68 84 33

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