Unexpected archaeological discovery at Orval Abbey


Archaeologists have unearthed a 16th century corridor made of beautiful yellow stones with carved capitals.

Taking advantage of the lockdown, major work has been going on at the Orval site. Thus, somewhat by chance, a mechanical digger discovered a forgotten wing of the abbey that had been ravaged by fire in 1637. As architect Eric Hanse explains, it may have been intended for scribes, "It's quite likely that the scriptorium could have been in this room, since it was near the boiler room, and in winter the inks had to be heated so they wouldn't freeze."

The site is once again open to visitors who will enjoy exploring the abbey the oldest ruins of which date back to the 12th century, when the first Cistercian monks settled in Orval. Today, it is still a place of spiritual retreat, but is mainly a tourist site full of the magic of the province of Luxembourg. It includes the Mathilde Fountain, where, legend has it, a widow accidentally dropped her wedding ring in the spring in this valley and began to plead to God, as she did so, a trout appeared on the surface of the water, carrying the precious ring in its mouth.

Other visitors will be attracted by the culinary specialities produced by the monks which in addition to cheese, include the local beer (the symbol of which is of course the trout) which has made Orval famous. A true benchmark among Trappists, it is distinguished by its complex and fruity taste with a balance between roundness and bitterness which is praised worldwide.