We headed to Cadouin with the express purpose of visiting the abbey. Since abbeys are often outside of towns in quite rural areas, we drove through town looking for signs to the Abbey. No luck so we turned and drove through again. Still no luck so we stopped at a boulangerie and got a baguette for our evening picnic and asked for directions. The baker told us to return to town and the abbey was on the way. Again, no luck.
We decided Cadouin was a cute village so we parked and decided to walk through the village taking pictures. Lo and behold, we got out of the car and looked at the huge building on our left and it was the abbey . . . completely unmarked. It is in the center of town on the Market Square. It was so obvious we hadn't seen it.
That problem solved, we paid and entered the beautiful old Abbey. The cloisters are fabulous. They contain marvelous sculpture and even remnants off beautiful frescoes. The visit is worth it for the sculptures alone. Highly recommended, especially if you like flamboyant gothic sculpture.
Apparently there were several religious enhancements during the Cistercian period and later when the cloister was added in the 15C and the stained glass later. Most uncharacteristic are the frescos, capitals and column decorations which were earlier.
Although the church is Cistercian it has many subtle enrichments. The Gothic arcades, that separate the aisles from the nave, have plain capitals but the capitals in the apses and transepts are carved. There are fresco in the apse and altar semidomes and a large cross on the decorated altar. The stained glass windows are recent and are not in character.
Family run hotel and restaurant in the Dordogne. Warm welcome, fine food and glorious views.
Favorite Dish: Pan fried scallops and black pudding with a delicate apple coulis - delicious