THE VALLEY OF THE FRESCOES
Once, church and chateau walls were the canvas of artists, leaving a uniquely rich collection of 12th Century frescoes along 20 km in the Gartempe Valley.
These architectural gems include the Romanesque church of Saint Divitien, the unusual octagonal chapel in Montmorillon and Jouhet’s funeral chapel. Without doubt, the highlight of the Valley of the frescoes is the unmissable and incredible Saint Savin Abbey.
The Church of Saint Germain d'Auxerre
The name derives from the patron saint of the parish, the Bishop of Auxerre, who died in 448.
The church features a uniquely carved nave with a semicircular apse included on a rectangular apse.This church stands out with its grisailles (monochrome) décor giving the illusion of a low relief. The paintings depict some episodes of Saint Germain of Auxerre’s life.
The key oh this church is at the tourist office, so ... come on !
The Church Notre Dame d'Antigny
This old church, rebuilt in the Romanesque era, was erected on the site of a Merovingian necropolis. The church adjoins the chapel known locally as “le bale”, a Poitevin word meaning “porch”.Inside the church, you will find paintings from the 12th century on the North wall of the nave as well as paintings from the 14th and 15th century. The paintings depict the legend of the three dead and the three living and different episodes relating to the Christ’s history.
After the renovation in 2005-2006, new scenes were revealed.
The Chapel Saint Catherine of Jouhet
The paintings of this funeral Chapel were commissioned by the Lord Jean de Moussy in the 15th century. The pictures depicted the cycle of the Christ’s childhood, the last judgment, the meeting of the Three Dead and the Three Living.
Thanks to restorations in 2005, the paintings are now cleaned and fixed allowing the visitor to see and read them clearly. These paintings are related to the ones in the church Notre-Dame of Antigny. Inside the Chapel, there is one of the most ancient altarpieces of the department of Vienne (from the 15th century) as well as three funeral slabs dating back prior the Chapel’s construction.
The Church Notre Dame of Montmorillon with the Crypt Sainte Catherine
Overlooking the River Gartempe, the church was built in several periods. The choir, the auditorium and the crypt were built in the 11th century while the transept, the nave and the paintings were made in the 12th century. The frontage was constructed in the 14th century and last but not least the bell tower is from the 17th century.
Inside the church, on the choir you will find paintings from the 12th century depicting the martyrdom of Sainte Catherine of Alexandria. These paintings equal by their quality the ones of Saint Savin (which are older) and are reproduced in the City of Architecture and patrimony in Paris.
It was a monastery hospital held by Augustinian monks on the left bank of the river Gartempe. The building is composed of two religious buildings dating back to the Romanesque era.
The Chapel Saint Laurent of Montmorillon
The paintings inside the church were made around 1860 for the seminarist students of Maison-Dieu. They appear among the most important decoration of the 19th century in the Poitou-Charentes region.
This ancient chapel of the cemeteries stands out by its octagon form. Formerly dedicated to the deceased cult, you can find there a medieval ossuary.
The Church of Saint Divitien of Saulgé
This parish church was probably a church from an ancient priory whose buildings were on the North part of the structure. In 1859, ornamental paintings were made inside the church. The dating was made possible when the church was renovated in 2009. Indeed, some inscriptions saying “1859 Carré painter in Saint Savin”, “ 1859 Perot plasterer”, were revealed.