This autumn has been one of the wettest I have known here in SW France. The rain has poured from the skies, seemingly unceasingly, while the half-term holidays faltered in puddles and soggy footprints. It has hardly been the best time to house-train a puppy, to say the least.
However, the other day I happened to be nearby in a favourite village when the skies cleared a little to the west and a sun, a real live sun, poked its head out and threw a glorious light on the village’s Romanesque church. I happened to have Roddy’s camera in the car with me as I was trying to photograph a nearby property for a client, and I couldn’t resist the opportunity to take ten minutes in the afternoon sunshine and share with you a whirlwind walk around its church. I know you all like pictures, some of you like churches, and who is not partial to some sunshine?
We’ll start with the church….
This lovely staid building* dates from the 11th century, with later parts added in the 12th and 16th. It stands proudly in the centre of the village, in what is almost an English layout, complete with a swathe of green and a local hostelry. It is constructed, as is typical of the area, of local sandstone, and the children have often remarked on how the twin arched windows and the small one below them seem to create a church that seems to be surprised with the modern world!
Frivolity aside, it is easy to appreciate from the east how solid and safe it must have been in times of trouble through the centuries
As I pottered around the green, nodding at the odd resident that seemed surprised to see me, I could not help but appreciate how the cluster of buildings around the church green seemed to all touch the building in some way.
There was a definite air of solidarity between the village houses and the colossus in their midst, and for aesthetic purposes I rather think it was most definitely a two-way arrangement
The green itself ebbed and flowed with different shades of colour, and I’ve been here in summer and seen so many people enjoying its grass and shade
And as I walked, I realised that all the roads in the village led into the green, and each of them provided an alternate view to the soul of its inhabitants, each vista reflecting a sense of endurance and longevity. It’s one of the things I have always noted here, and grown to like immensely.
This street leads north west…
And this one leads south east…
While another leads westwards…
And as always, there are the small details that even on a bleak autumn afternoon, can never fail to make me think, and smile. Who would not love an entrance like this to their home?
And who would not want a mimosa at the end of their wall, just starting to come into flower?
If I’d had time, I’d have stopped for a coffee in the bar….
…. before heading home to muddy dogs and hungry children!
…. leaving the village by a newly constructed TINY roundabout by the perfect holiday cottage. Perfect for one, definitely, perhaps for two?
(I may have indulged myself with too many photographs, perhaps, but it was fun at the time! I hope you enjoyed the little tour)
*Church cruciform plan with central steeple. The nave has been diminished by at least half of its length in a later period, but has remained characteristic of the 12th century. The cross under the steeple is vaulted with a dome on the horns. The transepts are those of the Romanesque period but enlarged, including the opening arches of the chapel apsidioles. The choir includes two spans of rib vaults with ogival ribs of the 16th century, with fallout on base. The belfry, reworked, dates from the beginning of the 13th century. [from the Monuments of France]