Romanesque Church Hunt Looking for churches and other France adventures.

February 22, 2008

Our magical day at Garde Adhémar

Church Report

Last year I wrote a “Church Preview” on this beautiful church in Drome Provencale, but all the research in the world could not prepare one for the beauty of this church, perched overlooking the Rhone and on every side, exquisitely manicured gardens on terraces on many levels.

We arrived at the church and there were people starting to assemble, we discovered shortly later that there was to be a funeral at the church. We have stumbled into baptisms, weddings and now a funeral during our Romanesque travels — all these events serve to highlight the relationship of these edifices to their villages. How many generations have had their most significant events in these thousand-year-old sentinels?

Here is a photo of the interior of the church right before the service.

Garde Adhemar

And then when you step out of the church…
Garde Adhemar entrance

Vistas in every direction and carefully labeled plantings.

Garde Adhemar botanical garden

We spent quite a while discovering all the nooks and crannies at this beautiful garden. We were happy to give our compliments to one of the gardeners who was working there.

Garde Adhemar botanical garden

And in one direction is a view of the Tricastin nuclear plant. To American eyes, these power plants are startling but the idea of nuclear power is business as usual and of no special negative import in France. In this stretch of the Rhone between Avignon and Lyon are three major nuclear power plants. As one drives between Avignon and Lyon, you can tic them off one by one.  Even more surprising than Tricastin is the plant at Cruas, about 35 miles north.  It is situated directly on the banks of the Rhone and one of the major traffic arteries passes so close that you could almost toss a pebble and hit it.

Nuclear plant in the Rhone Valley - Tricastin

 

 

January 31, 2008

An adventure in Rochecolombe

Filed under: Ardeche - Churches — Tags: , , — Karen @ 10:32 pm

I mentioned earlier that our destination this June will be the beautiful and wild Ardeche region of France. We have visited there twice before and the number of Romanesque churches to be explored is endless.

This post will go back to our trip in 2006 going to the perched ancient village of Rochecolombe in central Ardeche. Our friend had told us about this village and as we approached we could see the tip-top of the church, but no apparent means of getting there.

So what to do with a church in tantalizing proximity? Why, follow the signs that say “Eglise romane XIIieme” of course. In fact, a whole chapter could be written on the adventure of following “eglise romane” signs.

The road led up a steep hill and past a residence to a place where we could look down at the church.

Chapelle du Vieux Rochecolombe

We spied a weed-strewn and overgrown path and of course, the “eglise romane” sign and followed it for quite a while.

The path to Roche-Colombe

This path led us to the back of the church which while closed, was viewable through a grate. A very great discovery! It’s often complicated to try and get in to see the interiors, so we are always thrilled when we can see inside or can get a key.

Interior of Roche-colombe.

Here’s a detail of the wall painting:

Detail of wall painting

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