Orval is the home of a 12th-century Cistercian monastery that was established based on a legend; Countess Matilde of Tuscany had dropped her ring into a fountain and a trout rose to surface bearing the ring, to which she exclaimed, “Truly this place is a Val d’Or!”.
The Cistercian monks are self-sufficient; they brew beer, make cheese, and gather wood from the surrounding forests. According to their beliefs, they live a celibate and secluded lifestyle, allowing for continual prayer and harmony with natural surroundings.
The abbey is well-maintained and highly representative of the French Gothic style with its arches and beautiful stained glass windows. It has been rebuilt ever since a fire destroyed much of the buildings in 1252.
Overall, the surroundings were very peaceful. Somehow I can imagine myself spending hours of reflection amongst the monastery grounds and writing my memoirs when I am old.
Brassiere d’Orval. (2015). Orval | Abbey. Retrieved from http://www.orval.be/en/