The Gothic-style abbey dates from the 13th century and with its five bays towering above you, it takes your breath away to think that this example of a Cistercian monastery took just 30 years to complete.
Abandoned during the Hundred Years' War, the Abbaye Nouvelle has experienced a chequered past over the centuries, at one time it was used as parish offices at another as an impromptu quarry.
Walking around it today you can still appreciate the massive presence it must have had in the area, sat on a stony outcrop with a few village houses scattered around it, the views up and down the valley must have been far reaching, and ultimately powerful.
Eventually the building was given the respect it deserved with a conservation organisation created in 1978 and finally it was listed as an Historic Monument in 1991.
During the summer months the abbey plays host to music concerts and an annual flower festival on the third Sunday of May that draws many people to stroll around the grounds.
But there seems to be so much hidden history about the imposing building, even peaking through a gap in the door to the small church that must occasionally welcome worshippers you strain to look up into the high roof.
And through a barred window you can see a deep, dark cellar room that is used for musical evenings, but leaves you wondering just what must have happened in there over the centuries.
The Abbaye Nouvelle rests like a sleeping giant just off the main road into Gourdon, with cars and vans zipping past full of busy people, while its stories lie buried deep beneath its walls.
To visit nearby:
Pottering around Virebent pottery, Puy l'Eveque
Museum of Resistance in Cahors
Get set for Lalbenque truffle market
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