In the early days of the Christian church, ascetism was very popular. It was hard to be a good Christian among the heathen and the religious long to get away, live on their own and pray and worship God without temtation or distraction. A lot of monks ended up in the Egyptian desert, living by themselves in the harsh environment of the desert. We call them lovingly, 'the desert fathers'. However in Central Anatolia (Turkey) some religious men decided living alone by themselves wasn't such a good idea. They started monasteries to serve the local community and attracted a lot of people who were interested in this kind of monastic lifestyle. This trend began to spread to Western Europe. In Saorge, there is a monastic church that is still active. While there are no monks here, the monastery does rent out rooms to people who need to be away from society for a while to pray, contemplate or to write. There is a potager garden attached to it and it is really a lovely place.