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You are here : Home » Discover » Abbeys » Abbey church Saint Samson, Ouistreham riva bella

A dependency of the Abbaye aux Dames

The history of Ouistreham Riva – Bella is closely linked to the creation of the Duchy of Normandy and to the birth of its capital, Caen. In a deed signed in 1082, William the Conqueror and his wife Matilda gave the Abbaye aux Dames, or Women’s Abbey, which they had founded, a set of fiefs which would form a barony. A few years later, the abbey obtained the patronage of Saint Samson’s parish church and the tithes paid to it. This tax on farm production required vast storage areas. This was the origin of the tithe barn, a large building located to the north of the church, whose main part dates from the 13th century.


Saint Samson’s Church, built in the 12th and 13th centuries, is remarkable for its richly decorated Romanesque façade, an imposing lantern tower, and its nave inspired by the great abbey churches of Caen. Its dimensions and decorations are a sign of the prosperity of Ouistreham in the Middle Ages, owing to its position at the mouth of the Orne River, which made it an important trade port.

The unit that it forms with the tithe barn, in the heart of the town centre, is of great heritage interest, and has benefited from ambitious restoration campaigns. Thanks to those restorations, the tithe barn has become the beating heart of the town, playing host to many seasonally inspired cultural projects and festivals.


Crédit photos aériennes : F.Monnier

Practical InformationAddress : Place Albert Lemarignier 14150 ouistreham
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Website : View Website

Free entrance


Open from 9 a.m to 6 p.m. everyday

Norman Abbeys
Norman Abbeys

Abbayes de Normandie - Route historique
28, rue Raymond Aron
BP 52
76824 Mont-Saint-Aignan Cedex

+33 (0)2 35 12 41 60
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