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Moissac Abbey, Tarn-et-Garonne

The Cloisters at Moissac Abbey

The Benedictine Abbey of St Peter at Moissac is one of the gems of Romanesque architecture in Europe, but was so nearly lost in the 19th century. It was founded by St Didier, the Bishop of Cahors, in the 7th century, and took nearly 200 years to complete because of incursions by Moorish and Viking raiders. Later Abbots made additions to the abbey complex in the Gothic building style.

The French Revolution finally put an end to religious life at Moissac, and in the 19th century part of the building was torn down to provide stone for building the local railway, which runs right past the Abbey. Fortunately someone in the French government of the time realised what a treasure was about to be lost, and it was designated a historic monument. Now the cloister, which is virtually intact, is lovingly cared for and attracts visitors from all over the world.

Moissac Abbey - exterior

The original entrance to the Abbey, with its elaborate tympanum. The railway line is just out of picture to the left, less than 100 yards away.

The museum of Moissac Abbey

The museum contains priceless and beautiful examples of sculpture which were retrieved from the site of the demolitions.

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