Pontigny is a municipality with 719 inhabitants (as of 1 January 2011) in the department of Yonne in the Burgundy region in eastern France.

The place is mainly known for the famous monastery Pontigny and as the headquarters of the Mission de France.


Pontigny is in the Serein valley on the eponymous river about 19 ​​km northeast of Auxerre.


The first mention of the place goes back to the 6th century.

The Holy Porcaire, one of the women who accompanied Germanus of Auxerre in 448 to Ravenna, retired as a hermit in a forest in Sereintal back. At the place where she lived, is still a commodity that bears her name.

The abbey was founded in 1114 Pontigny at the request of Ansius, priest of the diocese of Auxerre, by monks from the monastery of Citeaux, the origin and starting point monastery of the Cistercian order. It developed very quickly, especially as by Theobald II, Count of Champagne, permission to build a church was granted in 1150.

From 1164 are 1170 the monastery Thomas Becket, the then Archbishop of Canterbury as a refuge served as he fled from England because of a conflict with Henry II. Only after massive pressure that the king had on the Cistercians, he left the monastery again. Two other Archbishops of Canterbury, Stephen Langton and St. Edmund Rich of Abingdon, whose tomb in Pontigny became a pilgrimage, following the example of her predecessor and retreated in a dispute with their king in the monastery back.

During the French Revolution the monastery was dissolved and destroyed a large part of the convention. The village Pontigny that counted up to then a parish of the neighboring town Venouse, became an independent municipality.

In the mid-19th century, brought in the priests Community of St.. Edmund in the remaining monasteries down, there to lead a life in the Convention and to provide a base for their country evangelism.

Since 1949, the Mission de France has her mother's house in the monastery.

The city Pontigny maintains a partnership with the German town of Sankt Thomas (Eifel ).


Pontigny is a municipality with fewer than 1,000 inhabitants. Since the early 1960s, the population is growing steadily at an average rate of approximately. Through an increased outflow at the beginning of the period, the population stagnated despite a relatively high birth rate. In the 1990s, this trend could be reversed through increased immigration.


Townscape and history of the community are determined from the former monastery Pontigny. The remains of secular history is one of the ruined medieval village Révisy, located on the territory of the municipality. About the Serein be spun a remarkable double lancet bridge.

The destroyed during the Revolution of farm buildings classified as a monument historique monastery were built partly later and used for secular purposes on. These include a monastery hall, the wine cellar, the granary, the pottery or the fountain.

Monastery Pontigny

Main article monastery Pontigny

  • The construction of the medieval abbey church Notre -Dame- et -Saint- Edme de Pontigny was begun in the 12th century.
  • In the churchyard is the tomb of the philosopher and writer Paul Desjardins.


The main source of income is agriculture since the time of flowering of monastic life. In addition to cereal crops and nurseries of the vineyard is the decisive factor. Among the traditional craft trades counts the brickyard.

In the former monastery buildings is now home to, among others, a center for vocational training for the disabled.


The French philosopher and writer Paul Desjardins gathered from 1910 to 1939 several times a year in decades Pontigny writers, philosophers and artists from many countries in the former monastery, which he acquired in 1909. His guests included, among others, André Gide, Edmond Jaloux, Roger Martin du Gard, Jean Schlumberger, André Maurois, Pierre Viénot, Jacques Rivière, François Mauriac, Paul Valéry, Charles du Bos, André Malraux, Paul Claudel, Antoine de Saint- Exupery, Jean -Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, TS Eliot, Thomas Mann, Heinrich Mann, Ernst Robert Curtius and.