Cadouin Abbey, in Le Buisson-de-Cadouin, Dordogne, was founded in 1115, becoming a Cistercian monastery in 1119. It became a magnet for pilgrims on the route to Santiago de Compostela after it claimed to have the shroud that had been wrapped around the head of Christ. Eleanor of Aquitaine and Richard the Lionheart were both visitors. However, when it was discovered that the cloth came from Egypt and dates from the eleventh century, pilgrim numbers unsuprisingly fell drastically.
The Abbey’s main attraction now is the cloister, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage monument. It was rebuilt in the fifteenth century after the Abbey buildings were badly damaged during the Hundred Years War. It was built in the Flamboyant Gothic style, with very rich ornamentation and decorative sculptures.
Cadouin Abbey cloister