L’Abbaye Nouvelle (New Abbey)

February 12, 2015 by
Filed under: Living in Rural France 

L’Abbaye Nouvelle near Mas de Flory

It was such a beautiful sunny afternoon on Tuesday that I decided to get on my bike and visit a local historic monument, the 13th Century L’Abbaye Nouvelle. It’s about 5km from Mas de Flory to the Abbey and most of the trip is made on wooded back roads, with just a short stretch of main road at Pont Carral. There is a footpath to the Abbey, but it’s a bit bumpy for my hybrid!

L'Abbee NouvelleL’Abbaye Nouvelle

The official name of the Abbey is St Mary of Gourdon, but it’s always been known as the New Abbey, because the Cistercian monks who built the Abbey between 1242 and 1272 had already had a failed attempt at building an abbey a few miles away back in 1150!

L’Abbaye Nouvelle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The abbey was abandoned during the Hundred Years War (1337 to 1453). It was used again from the late 15th century up to 1650, when it was secularised after the last monks left. The monastery on the site is in ruins, mostly down to the fact that much of the stonework has been removed (stolen?) for use in other local buildings. The church, though, is still (partially) intact and is used regularly for local parish services held in the 2 bays left out of the original 3.

L’Abbaye Nouvelle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An association to protect and restore the site was formed in 1978 and the site was classified as an ‘historical monument’ in 1991. Since then a lot of work has been carried out to make safe the structure and restore parts of the walls. There is also a ‘lower room’ which is a vault that extends under the length of the church building. The ‘lower room’ is now fully functional and has been used as a theatre, for musical events and even for marriage ceremonies. Gary Brooker, of Procol Harum fame, performed there in 2010.

 

L’Abbaye Nouvelle near Mas de Flory

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