This is an annotated translation of the classic Description de l'abbaye de La Trappe, the most important eye-witness account of life at the abbey of La Trappe under Armand-Jean de Rancé. The work includes a map showing the physical layout of the abbey and detailed discussions of the monks' daily life and practice. It was written by André Félibien des Avaux for Jeanne de Schomberg, duchess of Liancourt, in 1671, with a new and enlarged edition being published in 1689. That is the edition translated here, with copious notes to help the reader appreciate Félibien's account.
David N. Bell is professor emeritus of religious studies at Memorial University and a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He retired as head of the department of religious studies at the end of 2011. He has published some two dozen books, more than a hundred articles, and a great number of book reviews. His most recent book, published in 2017, is A Saint in the Sun: Praising Saint Bernard in the France of Louis XIV (Cistercian Publications).