History of the Abbey
Founded by Saint-Pierre de Tarentaise in 1132, the monastery has lived through many important periods in the history of France and Savoie, from the rise of the Cistercian movement to the French Revolution, the Great Schism and the Black Death. Tamié has been visited by some of the greatest names in local and international history. The Duke of Savoy stayed here in 1711. After their departure in 1793 during the French invasion, the monks returned in 1861. The abbey has always been in operation. It is home to a community of Trappist monks, members of the Cistercian order of Strict Observance. The abbey’s economy has long been based on agriculture. With the return of the monks in the 19th century, it turned to the production of cow’s milk cheeses. Today, Tamié cheese has earned its reputation.
Just 18 km from the l’Idéal campsite, Tamié Abbey is nestled in a green setting, between high mountains and generous pastures. Home to the Trappist monks and a place of meditation, it is not strictly speaking open to the public. Instead, you can discover its history and activities through an exhibition and store, located in the Saint-Pierre de Tarentaise visitor center, just beyond the site’s parking lot. The exhibition features photographs and a 20-minute documentary film on the life of the monks at the abbey. The store sells religious books and monastery products. The abbey church is open to those wishing to attend services. Take advantage of your visit to the abbey to climb up to Fort de Tamié, on the pass, for a sublime view of Mont Blanc and the Combe de Savoie. A botanical trail open in summer invites you to discover a wide variety of plants.
Cheese production became the abbey’s vocation when the monks returned in the second half of the 19th century. The “Abbaye de Tamié” trademark was created to designate the cow’s milk cheese produced at the monastery. Circular in shape, Tamié cheese is made from raw milk. Pressed, it retains its characteristic softness. Today, the monks do not produce their own cow’s milk, but collect it from local breeders and process it at the cheese dairy. The cheese is matured in the abbey cellars for 4 weeks. Tamié cheese is available whole or by the slice, depending on size, from local cheesemongers or directly from the store at the Saint-Pierre de Tarentaise visitor center, in the abbey parking lot.