Loc-Dieu Abbey

Martiel, France

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.



Your name


Martiel, France
See all sites in Martiel


Founded: 1123
Category: Castles and fortifications in France
Historical period: Birth of Capetian dynasty (France)


4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Vincent Touzet (4 months ago)
Private abbey renovated and maintained with respect. Very nice park. The guided tour was very well conducted. The altarpieces of the church are magnificent
NICOLE HOUTEKINS (5 months ago)
This place is fantastic ..... extraordinary park .... we climbed the 87 steps of the tower after a very interesting visit of the Abbey .... it must be said that the guide was great, knowing her subject perfectly. .... thanks to her ... Do not miss
Brian Kennan (6 months ago)
Huge restored Cistercian Abbey is well worth the visit. Set in beautiful grounds, just off the main road, the Abbey is a family home, so expect normal family things (kids, toys, family pet) and be aware that about half of the Abbey is inaccessible. Nevertheless it's a very worthwhile and enjoyable visit. Price is very reasonable and includes a 1 hour guided tour in French. The stonework in the church is exceptional. After the tour, you should follow the map to the tower in the garden and take the 100 steps to see the view at the top.
Mikey Roberts (3 years ago)
Lovely walk in the grounds,fantastic view from the tower..GO !
Dennis Dixon (3 years ago)
Beautiful setting for a wonderful choir concert.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Palazzo Colonna

The Palazzo Colonna is a palatial block of buildings built in part over ruins of an old Roman Serapeum, and has belonged to the prestigious Colonna family for over twenty generations.

The first part of the palace dates from the 13th century, and tradition holds that the building hosted Dante in his visit to Rome. The first documentary mention notes that the property hosted Cardinal Giovanni and Giacomo Colonna in the 13th century. It was also home to Cardinal Oddone Colonna before he ascended to the papacy as Martin V (1417–1431).

With his passing, the palace was sacked during feuds, and the main property passed into the hands of the Della Rovere family. It returned to the Colonna family when Marcantonio I Colonna married Lucrezia Gara Franciotti Della Rovere, the niece of pope Julius II. The Colonna"s alliance to the Habsburg power, likely protected the palace from looting during the Sack of Rome (1527).

Starting with Filippo Colonna (1578–1639) many changes have refurbished and create a unitary complex around a central garden. Architects including Girolamo Rainaldi and Paolo Marucelli labored on specific projects. Only in the 17th and 18th centuries were the main facades completed. Much of this design was completed by Antonio del Grande (including the grand gallery), and Girolamo Fontana (decoration of gallery). In the 18th century, the long low facade designed by Nicola Michetti with later additions by Paolo Posi with taller corner blocks (facing Piazza Apostoli) was constructed recalls earlier structures resembling a fortification.

The main gallery (completed 1703) and the masterful Colonna art collection was acquired after 1650 by both the cardinal Girolamo I Colonna and his nephew the Connestabile Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna and includes works by Lorenzo Monaco, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Palma the Elder, Salviati, Bronzino, Tintoretto, Pietro da Cortona, Annibale Carracci (painting of The Beaneater), Guercino, Francesco Albani, Muziano and Guido Reni. Ceiling frescoes by Filippo Gherardi, Giovanni Coli, Sebastiano Ricci, and Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari celebrate the role of Marcantonio II Colonna in the battle of Lepanto (1571). The gallery is open to the public on Saturday mornings.

The older wing of the complex known as the Princess Isabelle"s apartments, but once housing Martin V"s library and palace, contains frescoes by Pinturicchio, Antonio Tempesta, Crescenzio Onofri, Giacinto Gimignani, and Carlo Cesi. It contains a collection of landscapes and genre scenes by painters like Gaspard Dughet, Caspar Van Wittel (Vanvitelli), and Jan Brueghel the Elder.

Along with the possessions of the Doria-Pamphilij and Pallavacini-Rospigliosi families, this is one of the largest private art collections in Rome.