Cistercian Abbaye de Cadouin
In the Dordogne Region of France, about 6km south of the town of Le Buisson you will find the 12th Century Cistercian Abbaye de Cadouin. The Abbaye was completed in 1154 and was for quite a time on the "a" list in terms of spots to see. The cloisters were built in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, provide a magnificent example of flamboyant Gothic architecture.
Up until 1935, and for the previous 800 years, pilgrims came to see a piece of cloth thought to be part of Christ's shroud. In 1935 the two bands of embroidery at either end of the cloth were shown to contain an Arabic text from around the eleventh century and that ended the prosperity for the Abbaye. Now, tourists come to see the finely sculpted, albeit damaged capitals of the flamboyant Gothic cloister.
The Abbaye is open daily except except during January and the first part of February between Tues 10am–12.30pm & 2–6pm. In July and August it remains open till about 7pm and there is not shut down during the day.
Beside the Abbaye is the Romanesque church with its very stark, bold front and a wooden belfry. The nave of the church is slightly out of alignment. Some sources say this is purposefully done. The three windows are lined up so that at the winter and summer solstices the sun shines through all three in a single shaft.