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 and dean of theology at Queen's College, St. John's, Newfoundland, and canon theologian in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in St. John's. He is the author of a number of books published by Cistercian Publications, including Handmaid of the Lord: Mary, the Cistercians, and Armand-Jean de Rancé (CS293, 2021), Everyday Life at La Trappe under Armand-Jean de Rancé (CS274, 2018), and A Saint in the Sun: Praising Saint Bernard in the France of Louis XIV (CS271, 2017).