Port-Royal-des-Champs was a Cistercian convent in Magny-les-Hameaux, in the Vallée de Chevreuse southwest of Paris that launched a number of culturally important institutions.


The Abbey was established in 1204, but became famous when its discipline was reformed in 1609 by its abbess Marie Angelique Arnauld (1591-1661). The Arnauld family became its patrons and the convent's subsequent history was directed by a number of the holders of that name. In 1625 most of the nuns moved to a new Port-Royal in Paris, which subsequently became "Port-Royal de Paris" (or, more commonly, "Port-Royal") while the older one was known as "Port-Royal des Champs" ("Port-Royal of the fields").

At the original site, several schools were founded, which became known as the "Little Schools of Port-Royal" ("Les Petites-Ecoles de Port-Royal"). These schools became famous for the high quality of the education they gave. Playwright Jean Racine was a product of Port-Royal education. In 1634 Jean du Vergier de Hauranne, Abbé de Saint-Cyran, became spiritual director of the convent; he was a companion of Jansenius and the implementer of Jansenism in France. From that point forward, the convents and schools of Port-Royal became intimately associated with that school of theology.

"La logique, ou l'art de penser", the "Logique de Port-Royal", was an important textbook on logic first published anonymously in 1662 by Antoine Arnauld and Pierre Nicole, two prominent members of the Jansenist movement; Blaise Pascal likely contributed considerable portions of the text. [Jan Miel. "Pascal, Port-Royal, and Cartesian Linguistics," "Journal of the History of Ideas", 30, (April 1969:261-271).] As it was written in the vernacular, it became quite popular and was in use, as a paradigm of traditional term logic, into the twentieth century, introducing the reader to logic, and exhibiting strong Cartesian elements in its metaphysics and epistemology (Arnauld having been one of the main philosophers whose objections were published, with replies, in Descartes' "Meditations on First Philosophy".

The atmosphere of serious study and Jansenist piety attracted a number of prominent cultural figures to the movement, including theologian and mathematician Blaise Pascal. Pascal defended the schools publicly against the Jesuits in the Jansenist controversies which agitated the French Roman Catholic Church, writing his Provincial Letters in 1657. Perhaps even more striking, several important persons of the court were close to Jansenism, such as the duke of Luynes or the duke of Liancourt. Members of the Arnauld family have managed to have important jobs such as Simon Arnauld de Pomponne, minister of Louis XIV. The Jesuits, on the other hand, enjoyed predominance in political and theological power in France and Europe, having a personal confessor to the King, etc.

As a result of the Jesuit attacks on Jansenism, the schools of Port-Royal were regarded as tainted with heresy. Louis XIV wanting peace in the church, the elementary schools were forcibly closed by bull in 1660 following the formulary controversy. In 1661, the monastery was forbidden to accept novices, heralding its eventual dissolution. The convent itself was abolished by a bull from Pope Clement XI in 1708, the remaining nuns forcibly removed in 1709, most of the buildings themselves razed in 1710. The chapel, containing Mère Angélique's tomb, as well as some buildings, still exist in the vast grounds of what eventually became Paris' leading maternity hospital, known as Port-Royal Hospital.

A celebrated history of Port-Royal and its influence was written by Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve in 1837-1859.


The remains of the monastery of Port-Royal-des-Champs may still be seen at Magny-les-Hameaux, in the Chevreuse valley.


Caring for the Sick

Distributing Alms to the Poor

The Sisters of the Abbey

General View

Nuns Meeting in Solitude

View of the Refectory

ee also

* Antoine Arnauld
* Antoine Le Maistre
* Marie Angelique Arnauld
* Port-Royal Logic
* Formulary controversy


External links

* [http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/modlangfrench/21/ Port-Royalists] Published in "Encyclopedia of Rhetoric and Composition" (1996)

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Port-royal-des-champs — 48°44′39″N 2°0′58″E / 48.74417, 2.01611 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Port Royal des Champs — 48°44′39″N 2°0′58″E / 48.74417, 2.01611 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Port Royal des Champs — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Port Royal des Champs es un antiguo convento cisterciense situado en el valle de Chevreuse al sur oeste de París, célebre por la comunidad religiosa de orientación jansenista que se desarrolló allí desde 1634 a 1708 …   Wikipedia Español

  • Port-Royal-des-Champs — war ein Frauenkloster im Zisterzienserorden; es liegt südwestlich von Versailles, heute befindet sich dort ein Museum. Es war im 17. Jahrhundert eine bedeutende Hochburg jansenistischen Ideenguts, besonders unter der Äbtissin Angélique Arnauld… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Port-Royal des Champs — (spr. pōr rŭajall dä schāng), Cistercienserinnenkloster bei Versailles, 1204 gegründet, spielte seit 1635 als Sitz einer jansenistischen Klosterschule eine Rolle, ward aber 1709 aufgehoben und 1710 zerstört. Vgl. Grégoire, Les ruines de P. (2.… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Port-Royal-des-Champs — (spr. pohr rŏaĭáll dä schang), Zisterziensernonnenkloster bei Versailles, gestiftet 1204, im 17. Jahrh. Mittelpunkt der jansenistischen Bewegung, aufgehoben und zerstört (1709 10); bekannt durch seine Beziehungen zu Lemaitre, Pascal, Racine,… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

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