The attractive village of St Cyprien is full of history: witness the narrow streets winding up to the 12th-century belltower-keep, part of the abbey church with its famed (and officially listed) organ-chest.
The town’s history is tied into that of the abbey. Around 620 AD, a hermit named Cyprien settled in a cave that overlooked the Dordogne valley. Others gathered around him and a monastic community grew up. Barbarian invasions in the mid-9th century made the monks build defensive ramparts, of which the belltower-keep survives.
In 1076 the monastery, now an Augustine body, was doing so well that Bertrand de Got, archbishop of Bordeaux and later Pope Clement V, took it under his wing.
In the Hundred Years’ War, St Cyprien suffered from its exposed border position between Eleanor’s Aquitaine and the Kingdom of France.
In 1568, during the Wars of Religion, Calvinist troops burned the priory to the ground, but the monastery was rebuilt in 1685. Declared a “national asset”, in April 1791 it was sold to the town for 8,125 francs and renamed “Temple of Reason dedicated to the Supreme Being”.
In 1871 the state tobacco monopoly knocked down the cloister, closed off the inner doors, and turned the place into a warehouse.
Every summer the St Cyprien tourist office receives over 10,000 visitors. Located in the village centre, it is open all year round.Place Charles de Gaulle 24220 Saint Cyprien
1 November to 28 Febuary
Monday to Saturday 9:30 to 12:30, 3 to 6pm Except wednesday afternoon
1 March to 31 October
Monday to Saturday 9:30 to 12:30, 3 to 6pm Sunday 10 to 12am
15 May to 30 September
Monday to Friday 9:30 to 12:30, 3 to 6pm Sunday 10 to 12am
Les Papillons is just 10 minutes drive from St. Cyprien