Paradoxplace South West France Photo and History Pages

Paradoxplace France Photo & History Pages

Links to French Cathedral and Abbey Photo Pages in Paradoxplace

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The Abbey of St-Savin-sur-Gartempe


Link to Maps of the Pilgrimage Roads of France


Back to Poitiers to Périgueux the Long Way



The Abbey of St-Savin is famous for the ethereal frescos (fresco secco not buon fresco) on the barrel vaulted nave and porch ceilings and the crypt.  Sad then to discover in September 2007 that most of the nave was screened off to facilitate a major restoration program, and the painted crypt was locked up.  Still, even the little you can see is fascinating.  Here's just a couple of photos at this stage, and there will be more ......





A dragon threatens on the west porch ceiling before you even get into the church.  And below, in a part of the west nave not sealed off, a group reacts to something we cannot see because of the screens ........







Outside, it was quite a challenge to interestingly photograph the very tall spire from the barren square (which would originally have contained the cloisters and monastery buildings) - then a group of Friday afternoon boules' players solved the problem.


And that was it until the renovations are finished later in 2008.  Except that after reaching Poitiers that evening, a chance look at an illustration in a book "Poitiers and its Environs" revealed the fact that our ignorant research team (and all our guide books) were unaware that the abbey fronted a major river (the Gartempe) on its east side (and before you make the obvious point, we did not know about the "sur-Gartempe" in the name till later !).


So, to cut a long story short, it was such a beautiful morning when we left Poitiers a week later that we retraced the boring flat 50Km road to St-Savin.  Even then it was a risk, because the one thing you discover if you are a sun driven photographer in W France in Autumn, is that you can have a completely blue sky one minute and quarter of an hour later it's possible for it to have completely clouded over.  Or half clouded over, which leads to interesting half hour waits talking to cows etc, until the sun returns. 


Today however, we were in luck ...........







In addition to the closed off (2007) church nave there is a painted crypt (also closed in 2007) and a very faded (in fact essentially gone) set of painted Zodiac signs and / or Labours of the Month, which started in March, on an arch just inside the west door.



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