Why a Tableware Museum at Belleperche Abbey?

Creating and developing a museum of tableware in a former Cistercian abbey may seem surprising, as the image that comes to mind, when one evokes the order of Cîteaux , is that of austerity, prayer and manual labor. However, in modern times, many of the great French abbeys have carried out hotel activities in the direction of high-ranking society. Premises were refurbished or built in the 17th and 18th centuries
,  in order to welcome guests for the duration of a stay or for apartment rentals, and the financial means of the wealthiest monasteries favored the hiring of the best cooks.

The abbey of Belleperche has preserved the installations made in the 18th century for the reception function: the guest rooms on either side of a huge gallery , two staircases of honor which followed one another in the 18th century , two winter and summer reception apartments including dining room and living room, but also the rooms of the prior and the abbot, the kitchen and the refectory built in 1701 where certain guests dined with the monks.

It is with reference to the history and the preserved spaces that the D epartmental Council of Tarn-et-Garonne has chosen to orient the new life of the Abbey of Belleperche towards tableware , a theme that crosses and connects ages, countries, cultures.

Since 2002, the Department of Tarn-et-Garonne has collected and enriched collections which illustrate the evolution of table practices and related objects. Intended for drinking and food consumption, from the end of the Middle Ages to the 21st century, crockery, glassware, cutlery, utensils and accessories, for daily or festive use, popular, bourgeois or aristocratic, artisanal and industrial .

How were we serving? How did our ancestors eat? Why do we use cutlery and plates today? So many questions to which you will find an answer by visiting the Abbey of Belleperche and its Tableware Museum .

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