Select your language

The Abbey of Villers

Villers abbey

The well-marked trail allows you to discover the cultural landscape of Walloon Brabant and the surroundings of the old Cistercian abbey of Villers-la-Ville. The alternation of hills and valleys, forests and open spaces, and cultural sights makes the walk particularly interesting.

Distance: 7 km.

Time: 2h00.

Grade: Easy.

Type: Circular.

Gps Track: Yes.

Route description: Yes.

Wheelchair: Not suitable.

Dog: Allowed.

Height gain: 133 meters.

Trail: Paved and unpaved.

Marking: yellow bar.

Hiking shoes recommended.


Hill and valley.

The trail takes you to old farms, chapels, a mill, a castle and a church. With the help of a hiking map you can extend the walk if you wish. Before or after the walk a visit to the abbey ruins is recommended, which give an idea of the grandeur and importance of the abbey in the past.

Villers abbey

Download PDf for route description.

Some paths can be muddy.

Map & Poi's.

POI 1 - Villers abbey.

In 1146 an abbot, twelve monks and five lay brothers, at the request of the lord of Marbais and his mother Judith and under the impulse of Saint Bernard, left Clairvaux to found an abbey in Villers (Villers I). After a few months, the religious decided to settle their monastery lower down in the valley (Villers II). This place offered several advantages: a sufficiently remote valley, water in abundance, building material at hand. Those first buildings are no longer there: in the course of the 13th century - its spiritual and worldly flourishing - the Abbey was completely rebuilt (Villers III). Some abbots held high ecclesiastical functions and the preserved texts refer to many blessed monks and lay brothers in this community. The Abbey counted at the time - according to the chronicle! - a hundred monks and three times as many lay brothers. The domain covered ten thousand hectares, spread between Antwerp and Namur and built on by various abbey hooves. Moreover, Villers was under the protection of the influential dukes of Brabant. The first internal crises (decrease in the number of lay brothers ...) emerge from the end of the Middle Ages. From the 16th to the end of the 17th century, the Abbey experienced a succession of quiet and turbulent periods, during which the monks left the place up to nine times for security reasons. In the 18th century, however, the second golden age arrived for Villers. Certain medieval buildings are redecorated in the classical style. In 1796, the French revolutionary administration abolished the Abbey and sold it as a national good to a building material trader. The stately ruins of the monastery will remain an attraction for romantics throughout the 19th century. The first restoration campaign was started in 1893. It takes until 1984 before serious restoration work follows. They are still ongoing.

Villers abbey.