The original abbey was built in 1132, and more buildings were added as the years went by. The complex, situated at the heart of the Haut-Escaut valley, stretches over more than 2,500 hectares. In its heyday, the abbey had the biggest Cistercian church in Europe. It suffered from the trials and tribulations of the passing centuries, particularly during the First World War. Because of the elevated costs of restoration, work only started in 1973 after the abbey was listed as an "Historic Monument." These days, the real treasure of the abbey is its chapter house, which has exceptional acoustics and regularly hosts concerts. You can round off your visit with a walk through the medieval-style gardens.