L. Fontenay Abbey

One of the things I've noticed in the pamphlets we get from places we see is the importance of family in people's motivations. For instance, this is from the Fontenay Abbey guidebook:

"In 1820, the abbey was bought by Elie de Montgolfier, . . . who converted the abbey into a paper mill. In 1906, Edouard Aynard, a banker of Lyons and a notable art collector, bought the abbey from his father-in-law, Raymond de Montgolfier. He undertook an immense restoration work, to 'extract Fontenay from its industrial gang.' All the alterations effected for the construction of the paper mill were dismantled."

The father-in-law, who ran a paper mill in the abbey; the husband of his daughter, who saw himself liberating the abbey from a gang . . . I wonder what Sunday dinners were like in that household.

 The guidebook notes that "Fontaney Abbey continues to be the property of the Aynard family. . . . " Indeed, we bought our tickets from a man in suit and tie--the first time we've encountered that degree of formality--who presented us with our Anglais guidebooks, unlocked the entrance gate, and courteously wished us a pleasant visit. Later we saw him attending to other visitors and moving from one station to another, as if he were the only staff around. I like to think he is a descendent of the man who had believed so deeply in the need to preserve the past: carrying on the family tradition and dressing up to do it.