St. Pierre Abbey in Marcilhac sur Cele

Marcilhac sur Cele is situated at the foot of a limestone cliff, on the banks of the Célé River.

Gothic abbey church of St. Pierre in Marcilhac sur Cele
Gothic abbey church of St. Pierre

The small community developed in the 9th century around the Abbaye Saint-Pierre.

Amazingly, the Benedictine abbey once owned the sanctuary of Rocamadour, however, neglected it!

The monks from the abbey of Tulle took advantage of the situation and moved to Rocamadour and restored it.

The discovery of the relics of the hermit St. Amadour’s  in 1166 turned the site into a major pilgrimage center, which attracted pilgrims from all over the kingdom.

The Abbaye Saint-Pierre tried, but failed to recover its rights over Rocamadour.

The abbot had to settle for a compensation fee in exchange of relinquishing his abbey’s rights to Tulle’s.

The ruined St. Pierre Abbey in Marcilhac sur Cele

The abbey of Marcilhac sur Cele never really thrived and was destroyed and rebuilt several times during its long history.

When the French Revolution broke, it was already in decline.

St. Pierre abbey church in Marcilhac sur Cele
Fresco

All that is left of the 10th century Romanesque buildings is a square bell tower that was most likely fortified in the 14th century.

The other buildings are open to the sky.

However, the Gothic church attached to them was restored and boasts some beautiful religious statues and 15th century wall frescoes.

Most bore the coat of arms of the Hébrards of St-Sulpice family, the local lords who lived in the Château of St-Sulpice.

They counted many high profile statesmen, clergymen and soldiers who played a key role in the history of Quercy and exercised power over most of the Célé Valley during the Middle-Ages.

The Hébrard enlarged St. Pierre Abbey and gave protection to the local populations during the various historical conflicts and in particular the Hundred Years War.

Such was the Hébrards’ influence that this period is historically referred to as Hébrardie.

The church is open for monthly Mass and special musical events.

Department of Lot
Coordinates: Lat 44.553827 – Long 1.771069

Credits: Photos atelier434 by Melanged Magic by Evelyn Jackson – Edited by and for Travel France Online – Photo via Wikimedia Commons: header

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