Founded in 1114, Abbaye de Pontigny rises from the lush mustard fields 15km north of Chablis. The spectacular abbatiale (abbey church) is one of the last surviving examples of Cistercian architecture in Burgundy. The simplicity and purity of its white-stone construction reflect the austerity of the Cistercian order. On summer days sunshine filtering through the high windows creates an amazing sense of peace and tranquillity. Discovering Pontigny (€2.50), on sale in the gift shop, points out fascinating architectural details.
The Gothic sanctuary, 108m long and lined with 23 chapels, was built in the mid-12th century; the wooden choir screen, stalls and organ loft were added in the 17th and 18th centuries. Monks here were the first to perfect the production of Chablis wine.