Region of Abbey of Mont des Cats

The French Trappist abbey of Mont des Cats is situated on a hill and belongs to the municipality of Godewaervelde in French Flanders. The abbey is not open to the public, but visitors can learn more about the monks’ lives via a short documentary which can be viewed at the Charles Grimminck centre. It is also possible to buy goods produced by the monks, especially the famous beer and cheese, in the monastery shop.

History

The origin of the name “Mont des Cats” dates back to the very end of the Roman Empire. In the 5th century A.D., during the period of Barbarian invasions, the German “Cattes” tribe crossed the borders of the Empire and settled their camps in this region, giving their name to the area and the surrounding hills. During the mid-17th century, a monastic community, following the rule of Antonius, settled in Mont des Cats. However, in the aftermath of the French Revolution, the hermitage of the abbey was closed and the monastic community disappeared. It was only in 1826 that a group of Cistercians of the Strict Observance founded a monastic community and started the construction of the first buildings of the new monastery, which received the status of “abbey” in 1847. In 1875 also the brewery, the dairy and the hostel were rebuilt. In 1905 beer brewing was discontinued at the monastery During the First World War the abbey was heavily bombed, but in the following years the monks engaged the reconstruction. Nevertheless the brewery was never rebuilt. Today there are approximately 20 monks in the Abbey of Mont-des-Cats. In 2011 the Abbey resumed its brewery tradition and presented the new Trappist beer “Mont des Cats”, that is brewed in Chimay.

  • Shop In the abbey shop you can purchase beer and cheese produced in the monastery of Mont des Cats as well as products from other monasteries including books, CDs, religious artefacts and postcards.

  • Museum Centre Charles Grimminck – visitors can come to the centre and can see a short documentary about the live of the monks.

Opening Hours

Openinghours shop
(April - September)
Sunday and Monday 14:00-18:00
Wednesday to Saturday 10:00 - 12:00 / 14:00 - 18:00

(October - March)
Sunday and Monday 14:30-17:30
from Wednesday to Saturday 10:00 - 12:00 / 14:00-17:30

Closed in January

Tourist Information

The Abbey of Mont-des-Cats is located in the French Flanders, close to the Belgian border. The region has an important natural heritage and counts many hiking and cycling tracks. From Mont-des-Cats it is possible to reach the Abbey of Westvleteren and the town of Poperinge, where it is possible to visit the Hop Museum. In the nearby of the Abbey there are also several cultural attractions, such as the Hazebrouck Museum and the Beaupré Abbey Museum.

Nord Tourisme: www.tourisme-nord.com/

 

Routes

The map shows all routes and points of interest in the region of the abbey.
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Mont des Cats, Hiking route 1

Starting point: Godewaersvelde

Arrival point: Godewaersvelde

Length: 11 km

Elevation: 163 m

Difficulty: **

Starting from the old train station of Godewaersvelde, just behind the church, the trail follows the ancient railway, which in spring is surrounded by nice colored flowers. This circular walk, called ‘Sentiers des Katts’ will let you discover the picturesque landscape around Mont des Cats, passing by the famous Trappist Abbey.

You can download the gps files of this route.

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Mont des Cats, Hiking route 2

Starting point: Mont-des-Cats Abbey

Arrival point: Mont-des-Cats Abbey

Length: 12 km

Elevation: 164 m

Difficulty: ***
 

This tough hiking trail you lead the visitors in the beautiful natural environment of Mont des Cats. Most of the walk is into the woods, with the possibility to get some really impressive sights on the monastery.

You can download the gps files of this route.

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Mont des Cats, Hiking route 3

Starting point: Godewaersvelde

Arrival point: Godewaersvelde

Length: 12 km

Elevation: 128 m

Difficulty: ***

Starting from the ancient train station of Godewaersvelde, this trail called “Sentiers des Fraudeurs” follows the tracks of the smugglers that used to cross the border in the last century, trying to hide from the customs officers. The visitors will follow the old railway and then walk on small quiet paths.

You can download the gps files of this route.

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Smugglers Route, Cycling route 1

Starting point: Godewaersvelde

Arrival point: Godewaersvelde

Length: 36 km

Elevation: 164 m

Difficulty: ***

Starting from the ancient train station of Godewaersvelde, this trail called “Sentiers des Fraudeurs” follows the tracks of the smugglers that used to cross the border in the last century, trying to hide from the customs officer. The visitors will follow the old railway and then walk on small quiet paths.

You can download the gpx files of this route.

Download

Mont des Cats, Cycling route 2

Starting point: Godewaersvelde

Arrival point: Godewaersvelde

Length: 25 km

Elevation: 163 m

Difficulty: ***
 

This cycling route starts from the church of Godewaersvelde and follows the tracks of the smugglers that used to cross the border in the last century, trying to hide from the customs officers.

You can download the gps files of this route.

 

 

Download

Mont des Cats, Cycling route 3

Starting point: Godewaersvelde

Arrival point: Godewaersvelde

Length: 13 km

Elevation: 163 m

Difficulty: ***
 

This cycling route is quite easy and short. It follows the tracks of the smugglers that used to cross the border in the last century, trying to hide from the customs officers.

You can download the gps files of this route.

Download

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