Aubazine – A unique abbey

In the heart of a landscape of wooded hillsthe village of Aubazine is a mecca for monastic life in Corrèze’s Dordogne Valley.

Notable for its 12th-century Cistercian abbey, Aubazine is also worth a visit for its picturesque lanes, old houses decorated with stone from the abbey buildings, and the memory of Coco Chanel. It was at the Aubazine Abbey orphanage that the future “Mademoiselle” drew some of her inspiration. The young Gabrielle Chanel spent 6 years there, between 1895 and 1901. Her austere life in the Cistercian abbey gave her a taste for clean-lined clothing, with a predilection for black, white and beige. As for the famous house’s logo, you only have to look at the interlacing of the abbey’s stained-glass windows to see where the two intertwined Cs come from!

Aubazine is also famous for its Canal des moines.

The canal, known as the Canal des Moines, is an exceptional structure and a unique design in Europe. The monastery’s geographical location, with no water, necessitated the construction of a canal to irrigate the fishpond and gardens and power three mills. Following the contours of the steep, rocky slope of the Coyroux valley, this 1500-metre-long canal was a real challenge, and still bears witness to the monks’ skill and daring in overcoming natural obstacles and precipices (Warning: no animals, bicycles, motorcycles or strollers allowed on site. Site not accessible to people with reduced mobility).