Orval (abbey Our Lady of Orval)

- Orval - ground of storms

The noble count was happy to see his father’s burning wishes being fulfilled. He often came with his family and mixed with the workers to encourage their efforts and provide for their needs. On their side, the monks were happy in their retirement, dreaming of long days of calm and quiet peace.

Alas! Theses unhappy exiled monks had left a theater of fights only to find another one: only the history of Orval will say how many times, since 1070 until 1944, the crashes of war disturbed the silence of the small valley. Let us feel sorry for the fate of those who live near too many borders. In fact, very close to Orval were the old County of Luxembourg, the Marquisat of Arlon, the Duchies of Lorraine and Bar, the Principality of Sedan, the Duchy of Bouillon and the Kingdom of France – and the always very close Germany. These neighbors, often rivals, did not hesitate to sow terror and mourning when they were not actually carrying iron and fire.

A tradition, fresh like a legend and uninterrupted through the centuries, is associated with the time of the foundation and comes to confirm the topographic etymology of Orval. The Countess Mathilde, sister of the Happy Ida who mothered Godefroy de Bouillon, future king of Jerusalem , went one day to the new Monastery. It is said that, having sat down near a limpid source to rest, she plunged her hand into the water, and in doing so dropped there her wedding ring. Being very afflicted, she addressed an enthusiastic prayer to Our-Lady: at once, the ring reappeared on the surface of the water, in the mouth of a trout. The countess were very merry, and claimed “Truly, this place is a Val d’Or (a golden valley)…”

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