Founded in 1123 in a place formerly called Locus Diaboli (Latin for 'devil's place') due to the large number of dolmens around it, tm abbey was renamed Locus Dei in Latin by the monks, which in French became Loc-Dieu, both meaning the 'place of God'.
Burnt down by the English in 1409, it was rebuilt in 1470, and the abbey was fortified.
The abbey was suppressed and its assets sold off as national property by the French government during the French Revolution in 1793. The Cibiel family bought it in 1812, and Cibiel descendants still live in it today.
The buildings were restored in 1840 (the east wing) and in 1880 (the south and west wings).
In the summer of 1940, paintings from the Louvre, including the Mona Lisa, were hidden in Loc-Dieu to keep them safe from German troops.
The abbey and its large park are now open to visitors.
Built between 1159 and 1189, the church remains intact. This is one of the first Gothic buildings in southern France, designed by architects from Burgundy. Cistercian rules are followed, i.e. the greatest simplicity possible, with no decorations other than the stone and light. Cloister and Chapter room, rebuilt in 1470, replaced the previous Romanesque cloister. They present a strong Gothic style.References:
Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.
Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.
The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.