We are staying near Cadouin, a beautiful little town about 35km from Bergerac and 40 km from Sarlat. It is not far from the Dordogne River.
Cadouin is famous for its abbey. Founded in 1115 by Robert d'Arbrissel and taken over by Cistercian monks in 1119 it became one of the most important in the area. It became a pilgrim centre due to a piece of cloth said to be part of Christ's shroud. Pilgrims flocked to the Abbey which became part of the pilgrim route to Saint Jacques de Compostelle in Spain. Important pilgrims welcomed by the abbey included Eleanor of Aquitaine and Richard the Lion Heart. The shroud is now known to date from the 12th century but the Abbey remains worth a visit. The main attraction is the beautiful cloister in gothic style. There are many fine pieces of stone sculpture inside but many are damaged. In the French Revolution faces of religious statues were systematically destroyed throughout France. Cadouin Abbey is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the pilgrim route to Compostella.
Part of the Abbey buildings, now beautifully renovated, now house the youth hostel in Cadouin. Take a look the buildings are lovely.
Next to the Abbey, the Halle at Cadouin is different to many in the area as it is set on stone rather than wooden pillars.
Around the halle and wandering through the streets there are lots of lovely buildings and there are some very interesting shops with furniture, pottery, pictures etc made by local artists. Some pieces really are very good.
Cadouin has a medieval festival every year during the second fortnight of August. This is a great time to visit the town and many people will be dressed in medieval costume.