The Cloisters of Paradise Island

Augustinian monks built this marvelous garden and the stunning stonework in France, dating all the way back to the 12th and 13th centuries. The remains of the beautiful French Monastery has incredible history, and has traveled a long way to get to it’s final resting point.

This French Monastery was purchased by the famous William Randolph Hearst, a US publication owner, who was also known to buy art and historical sights from around the world, have them dismantled and reassembled wherever he pleased. Hearst constructed a literal castle in California that is adorned with rare artifacts, marble, and stones from all over the world. We suspect his purchase of the French Monastery was to be able to add to his castle, and just maybe never got around to it, but who knows. The foundation of the structure is made out of stone, and had to be dismantled and shipped to the U.S. This French Monastery is one of only four to ever have been dismantled and removed from France, so visiting the Cloisters in Paradise Island, Bahamas is truly a treat.

In 1969, Huntington Hartford, the heir of A&P, bought the stonework after having a vision inspiring him to want to make a paradise for the rich and famous. He bought the French Monastery from Hearst, and imported the pieces to what was known then as “Hog Island”. Hog Island has become known today as Paradise Island, and Hartford brought the garden to the islands in hopes of developing an attraction for the island economy.

Since the garden arrived in pieces, with no directions of which stone went with what, Hartford had to hire the help of an artist and sculptor to assemble the mess and make it into a lush and beautiful garden oasis, that visitors would want to come and see for years to come. Jean Castre-Manne, the artist and sculptor for the project, was able to not only construct the gardens, but successfully figure out where to put each stone in only two years, thus creating the beautiful garden destination today known as the Cloisters.

Today the Cloisters, also called or known as The Versailles Garden, is a tranquil and calm space for visitors to explore. It is a popular spot amongst couples to visit, as well as a popular destination wedding location. It is the ultimate photo op on Paradise Island, and is a family friendly tourist attraction. Located on Paradise Island Drive, The Cloister gardens are just a five minute walk away from popular resorts such as Atlantis Resort and Marina Village Resort.