At the eastern edge of the Retz forest in the Savière Valley stands Longpont Abbey. These imposing ruins have been frozen in time since the French Revolution.
Longpont is a Cistercian Abbey founded in 1131 by St. Bernard. The first buildings were replaced at the end of the 12th century, part of which have been preserved to the present day. The large Gothic abbey facade still stands 40m high, with its empty rose window opening to the surrounding forest.
The monastery buildings could accommodate several hundred monks, as well as the many lay brothers who cultivated the land and returned to Longpont at the end of the week for Sunday services.
The Abbey was often damaged during the 15th and 16th centuries by armed bands ravaging the region. It was eventually ruined by the Revolution in 1793 when the last monks left the property and everything was sold by auction.
The remaining buildings were purchased in 1804 by Count Henri de Montesquiou, whose family continues to maintain them to this day.
Longpont suffered further devastation during World War I. As the enemy approached on September 2, 1914, the population chose not to evacuate and suffered as Imperial troops descended. The village would continue to be a passage for various units throughout the war. Eventually, much of the population left.
At dawn on July 18, 1918, Longpont was one of the starting points for the great Allied counteroffensive. By the end of the summer of 1918, the village was almost entirely ruined by bombing.
A present day monument in the village remembers the local children who were killed during the war.