Friday, 18 December 2009

Unusual historic restored sites in the Languedoc

Gard - Barjac

Located at the crossroads of the Cevennes National Park between the gorges of Ardeche and Ceze, the town of Barjac is a Renaissance city known for its flea markets and festival songs lyrics. Owner of Chateau des Comtes de Grimoard de Beauvoir du Roure (included in the Inventory of Historical Monuments in 1993); the town has invested heavily in fresco fireplaces. A museum will house the sculptures that the artist Daniel Souriou gave to the town. This will create an artistic centre that should be completed by the workshop of Anselm Kiefer, who lives nearby in the old silk mill in La Ribaute.

During the restoration of the castle, frescoes depicting allegorical scenes from the 17th century have been discovered over the fireplace. The objective of the town, which has embarked on a major cultural activity, is to restore the paintings in order to discover the wider public.

Hérault - Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert

The treasure of the lapidary cloister of the Abbey Gellone

Historic Monument in 1987 and listed as World Heritage by UNESCO in
1998 under Chemins de Saint Jacques de Compostela in France, the Abbey Gellone is a jewel of Romanesque art. title. After the wars and the Revolution, the final blow to the Abbey in 1817, but part of the base of the lapidary was rescued by the abbot Vinas, who gathered the stones found in or nearby the village.

Today, half of the 11th century cloister is missing: the southern and eastern parts of the 12th century are in the Cloisters museum in New York and Montpellier. The Sacramentary of the 8th century is to be found in the BNF. The collection of Father Vinas' has been completed in the 60s during the excavation of the old church, and by the discovery in 1972 of documents from the cloister. The collection now has 820 pieces, of which some are classified.

The best displayed are in the former refectory of the monks, which was guarded by the Carmelite sisters. You can admire capitals, columns, statues and the sarcophagus of Guilhem would have housed the bones of the Saint. until its destruction in 1568 by the Protestants, and that of the Sisters Albane and Bertrane. Most statues have lost their noses during the religious wars ... Also look at »Christ in Majesty, a small diamond limestone of the 12th century, and the altar of Guilhem made of marble inlaid with coloured glass, inspired by Byzantine period from the 12th C.

Gard - Gailhan

An ancient church

For over 1500 years, the church of St. Privat, ensures its function as a place of worship in the small village near Gailhan Sommières. Proof of human presence was found in the form of a Roman "Plan de la Tour" dating back 2600 years.

Built from the 9th to the 11th century on foundations dating from the 5th century, this small church is a fine example of pre-Romanesque architecture with some rearrangements of the 15th century. One can admire tower wall, the gabled arch, other arches of the 15th century, the apse and the west portal of the 18th and 19th century. This legacy deserves to be protected and enhanced, especially as it is at the heart of the lives of the local people: religious services are held, and church of Gailhan (S. de Murcia) concerts are organized during the summer. The municipality intends to share the vitality of the region that offers many seasonal activities to tourists.

Aude - Narbonne

The House of Three nannies, and historical treasure in Narbonne

If Narbonne enjoys an environment and a privileged climate for summer tourism, it possesses nonetheless a diverse history of French heritage. Capital of Gaul, Narbonne, first Roman colony, the residence of Visigoth kings, archiepiscopal city, and now sub-prefecture of the Aude, the city labelled "City of Art and History" has many classified sites.

One monument, representative of the Renaissance in Narbonne, is the home of the Three nannies, declared an historic monument in 1913. It dates back to four different periods; a ground-floor from medieval times; various floors dating from the second half of the 16th century; and renovations and interior design from the 18th and 19th centuries. Upstairs, statues of women with generous curves adorn the windows on the south facade. It is these strange caryatids that the house owes its name.

Pyrenees-Orientales - Passa

The Priory of Monastir del Camp
from Charlemagne to Prosper Mérimée

In 1962, Jacques Marceille, wine grower in the Apres, at the foot of the Canigou, inherits the Cistercian priory which has been in his family since 1786. It continues the tradition of his ancestors and his priory opens widely to the public, contributing to regional history.

The "Monastery Camp" was founded by Charlemagne to thank Our Lady for having brought forth the "Riu del Miracle" which had refreshed his army after a long battle won against the Saracens. From 1160 to 1786, the monastery housed a community of Augustinian canons, and then was sold to Lord Francis Jaubert, who transformed it into a farm. Prosper Mérimée declared it a national monument in 1862.

It is a large fortified building in the middle of vineyards, austere facade and crenulated corner tower, a chapel with a single nave and a Gothic cloister of white marble with an arcaded lobe, dating back to 1307.

Pyrénées-Orientales - between Rivesaltes and Axat

Tourist Train

In 1993, a few enthusiasts founded "The Association of Train Cathar Country and Fenouillèdes". Their goal was to renovate an old railway line to provide a tourist train to discover parts of the Cathar countryside.

Today, 60 kilometres is in place. The train travels through the Cathar castles and other relics of the Middle Ages, through the famous vineyards, deep forests and small villages nestled in the hills. They also organise theme trips (like "medieval France" or "The Cathar castles and myths") Digg It! Stumble Delicious Technorati Tweet It! Facebook

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Happy romp!!