The gothic church of Abbaye-Nouvelle [New Abbey] is the last building still intact of a Cistercian monastery founded in the 13h century by the powerful Obazine abbey, in Corrèze.
In 1242, Guillaume de Gourdon bequeathed to the abbot of Obazine various farms, lands and oldings in the seigniory of Salviac.
The monks built the abbey on a trapezoid shaped limestone spur called Le Pech-Gisbert, overlooking the Céou valley. Such a semi-perched location is rare for a Cistercian abbey. The abbey is called “Nouvelle” because of a first attempt at founding one in 1150, near Lavercantière.
Constructed in 30 years, the abbey church had five bays, measured 45 metres in length, but had no transept : the nave opened directly on to a chancel With a flat end, now gone.
Standing above a Iow vaulted room used as a storeroom, it had wide, tall windows topped by a spandrel of roses.
Abandoned during the Hundred Years’ War, the church was partially restored in the 15th century, then secularized in about 1650. Parish offices have Since been held in the only two intact bays, With a classical style door opening made in 1669.
Of the monastery, only some scattered vestiges of the walls remain around the central area of the cloister. Sold to the Revolution as a national asset, for a long time the site was used as a stone quarry, despite the restorations of the 19th century and a first legal protection order in 1926. It is only thanks to the efforts of an ‘Association de Sauvegarde’ [Conservation Society] set up in 1978, behind its listing as a Historic Monument in 1991, that the Abbaye-Nouvelle, owned by the commune of Léobard, is today cleared of undergrowth and ruins. Since 1990, the site of the Cistercian Abbave-Nouvelle has been the setting for a major event attracting amateur gardeners ans specialist nurseymen. Free admission and parking.
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