Abbaye de la Cambre (Cambre Abbey)
Abbaye de la Cambre is a small corner of paradise that we should really keep a closely guarded secret… but as you can tell we’re not! As well as the Ponds of Ixelles you’ll also discover here a French Garden which has taken over the 13th century abbey, surrounding it in natural beauty.
A certain Lady Gisele, Benedictine of Brussels lies at the heart of this magical place. In 1200, upon adopting the Cistercian rule and founding an abbey, Henry I, Duke of Lower Lorraine, Gave her an area of the Sonian Forest at the source of the Maelbeek River. A year later, the Cistercian Cambre Abbey was founded and consecrated by Jean de Bethune, the Bishop of Cambrai.
In the 16th century, many buildings were rebuilt so as to house nuns, many of whom were from the nobility. Do you know the style of these buildings? They were born from the style of Louis XVI and Louis XV and from 1718 to the French Revolution many religious followers restored and created some classic buildings.
After the French Revolution, the abbey was transformed into a car workshop, before turning into a cotton manufacturer and then closing… and opening again as a military school! In 1919, a fire devastated the church, which was reconstructed again in 1926 and gained cult status.
Today, the abbey is home to the National Geographic Institute, the National School of Visual Arts and the local parish.