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.

Architecture

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.

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Address

Martiel, France
See all sites in Martiel

Details

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

Rating

4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Vincent Touzet (13 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
Vincent Touzet (13 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 (14 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
NICOLE HOUTEKINS (14 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 (15 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.
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