You are here:
Abbeys > France > Midi-Pyrénées > Martiel > Loc-Dieu

Loc-Dieu

Loc-Dieu originally belonged to a series of monasteries reformed by Gerald of Salles. Founded in 1123, it took its name from the exuberance of its vegetation which sheltered the bandits robbing travellers on the road between Rodez and Cahors. In 1134, the Bishop of Rodez transformed the ?locus diaboli? into ?locus Dei?, the place of God, Loc-Dieu. Of spirituality very close to the Cistercians, the Gerald of Salles monasteries progressively joined them. Loc-Dieu joined the Cistercian order through Dalon in Limousin, daughterhouse of Pontigny, in 1162. The Burgundy Abbey helped them to overcome major difficulties by sending master-builders to complete the Cistercian church in 1189. The nave, of roman elevation, ends with a vault which conveys the contribution of Early Gothic style in Midi-Pyrenées. Magnificent Cistercian church in yellow sandstone, extraordinarily bright and spare. The cloister, the chapterhouse and the current monastery buildings, destroyed during the hundred years' war, were rebuilt and fortified in 1430/1470, giving it an unusual aspect of a fortified castle. In a state of disrepair during the Revolution, they were sold with the estate and used as farm buildings. Then, from 1840, the monastery was consolidated; leading from a monumental hall the floors were little by little transformed into family accommodation. The Cistercian church was re-consecrated in 1897. A romantic park (1840/1890) helped make Loc-Dieu a haven of peace and tranquillity, which incited the ?Mona Lisa?, the most beautiful paintings from the Louvre, their curators and guardians to hide there for a few months in 1940.

[ Back ]