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Ruins Abbey Mont-Saint-Éloi

Mont-Saint-Éloi is a 136 meter high hill overlooking the valley of the Scarpe. There used to be an abbey here that goes back to Saint Eligius, who is said to have prayed here in the 7th century. Also the relics of Saint Vindicianus were kept here. The abbey has been rebuilt several times. After the French Revolution, the abbey was dismantled and used as a quarry. Only the West Portal with the two 53 meter high towers was preserved. During the First World War, the towers were used as a strategic lookout for the French army, so the German artillery tried to shoot them. Due to the great distance to the front, this was only partially successful, a floor disappeared and the height decreased to 44 meters. Whenever the soldiers climbed the tower, the bombardments started. People were puzzled at first, until someone understood that flying birds betrayed the soldiers.

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  • Text: TracesOfWar.com
  • Photos: Michèl Admiraal (1, 3, 5), Luc Van Waeyenberge (2, 4), (6, 7, 8)
  • Michelin: Les champs de bataille - Flandres Artois