The Monastery of San Paio de Abeleda is a medieval monastery built in the 12th century located 2 km from Abeleda village. Today found in a state of ruins, it was originally one of the most influential monastic centres in the province and was converted into an abbey surviving until the 19th century Ecclesiastical Confiscations of Mendizábal. It was acquired by the House of Alba in 1872.
The church was built in the Romanesque style in the 12th century (with further alterations later). In plan it takes the form of a Latin cross. It consists of a single nave with 3 wings separated by pointed arches with archivolts decorated with chequered imposts and the capitals are adorned with flowers and chimeras. Traces of the original paint on the capitals, which had been maintained for several centuries, still remain visible today. The church was greatly reformed during the 16th century however a door from the 13th or 14th century was preserved. The main altar dates to the 17th century.
The facade of the cloister is in the Gothic style, and features a quatrefoil Gothic arch.References:
Château de Falaise is best known as a castle, where William the Conqueror, the son of Duke Robert of Normandy, was born in about 1028. William went on to conquer England and become king and possession of the castle descended through his heirs until the 13th century when it was captured by King Philip II of France. Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840 it has been protected as a monument historique.
The castle (12th–13th century), which overlooks the town from a high crag, was formerly the seat of the Dukes of Normandy. The construction was started on the site of an earlier castle in 1123 by Henry I of England, with the 'large keep' (grand donjon). Later was added the 'small keep' (petit donjon). The tower built in the first quarter of the 12th century contained a hall, chapel, and a room for the lord, but no small rooms for a complicated household arrangement; in this way, it was similar to towers at Corfe, Norwich, and Portchester, all in England. In 1202 Arthur I, Duke of Brittany was King John of England's nephew, was imprisoned in Falaise castle's keep. According to contemporaneous chronicler Ralph of Coggeshall, John ordered two of his servants to mutilate the duke. Hugh de Burgh was in charge of guarding Arthur and refused to let him be mutilated, but to demoralise Arthur's supporters was to announce his death. The circumstances of Arthur's death are unclear, though he probably died in 1203.
In about 1207, after having conquered Normandy, Philip II Augustus ordered the building of a new cylindrical keep. It was later named the Talbot Tower (Tour Talbot) after the English commander responsible for its repair during the Hundred Years' War. It is a tall round tower, similar design to the towers built at Gisors and the medieval Louvre.Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840, Château de Falaise has been recognised as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture.
A programme of restoration was carried out between 1870 and 1874. The castle suffered due to bombardment during the Second World War in the battle for the Falaise pocket in 1944, but the three keeps were unscathed.