France: Abbaye de Fontenay

Fontenay Abbey is the oldest Cistercian (a religious monk order) abbey in Europe, founded in 1118. Almost all the original buildings remain intact and over 300 monks used to live here. As you wander around the cloister and domed church, you start subconsciously humming Enigma’s “Sadness” (which samples Gregorian monk chants). Many buildings and living quarters are quite simple and austere as required by the rules of Saint Bernard, the founder of the order. There are also pretty green gardens all around the abbey. It’s one of the oldest UNESCO World Heritage sites.