Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Abbey near our Apartment: Abbaye de la Cambre (Apr 11)

For over a year we've lived by this beautiful abbey where we often take several walks and jogs, but we haven't ever taken many pictures of it, so here's my best to show some of its charming characteristics especially during the Spring.

It is a former abbey called the Abbaye de la Cambre and is nestled in a lovely little wooded area in Brussels, actually in Ixelles, our neighborhood. It has beautiful gardens with tulips, roses, flowering trees and well manicured trees and shrubs. The greatest part is that it only takes 5 minutes to walk to from our apartment. We feel very fortunate not only to have ponds and a green space outside our apartment window, but also this picturesque of an abbey so close by. It's almost like we live in the country, but then I'm reminded we live in the city when I hear ambulances and sirens zoom by our apartment! I feel like we have the best of both worlds! Also occasionally the abbey hosts concerts or parties which may sound a bit odd. We managed to hear Sinead O'Connor singing "Nothing Compares to You" from our apartment window when she was performing at the abbey last Summer. You technically had to purchase tickets if you wanted to actually see her and other artists who were performing.

Here's a little history about the abbey: The abbey was founded in medieval times but was suppressed by the French Revolutionary army. The attractive 18th-century brick buildings of the abbey, which surround a pretty little courtyard, are now used by several government departments. The abbey church (Notre Dame de la Cambre), with a beautifully simple barrel-vaulted nave, can be visited daily during certain hours. The church is a combination of styles incorporating both Gothic and Classical features. Inside you can see a marvelous painting by Albert Bouts "The Mocking of Christ", an early 16th-century work showing a mournful, blood-spattered Jesus. Behind the abbey's buildings are walled and terraced gardens, an oasis of peace away from the hubbub of avenue Louise.

Entrance to the Abbey
Upon entering the abbey there is a beautiful green area with flowers and trees where people often have picnics or social gatherings
I loved the pink flowered trees which were in full bloom in April (cherry blossom trees?)
There are benches spread throughout the abbey along with pathways for people to enjoy a nice stroll
These pink flowering trees are so pretty in the Spring
Some daffodils also near the entrance of the abbey
Cute walking path in the abbey
Former abbey bath on right
Terraced gardens with well manicured shrubs overlook the abbey
From the top of the terraced gardens with the church in the background
Everything is so nicely groomed
At the very top of the abbey looking down through the gardens and miniature fountain
White tulips are in full bloom during the Spring giving the abbey a pure and peaceful setting
Another shot overlooking the gardens with the church and some other parts of the abbey in the background
The opposite side of the church
Long pathways extend on each side of each level of the gardens
Entrance to the gardens
I believe these were former abbey resident halls
The entrance to the church: Notre Dame de la Cambre
It's nicely landscaped around the abbey's buildings
Back of the church

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