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The Churches

> Romanesque Art

The Auvergne is one of the main centres for French Romanesque art because of the development of the monastic orders.

Five major churches remain: the Notre-Dame-du-Port basilica in Clermont-Ferrand, the St-Austremoine d'Issoire church, the Notre-Dame de Saint-Saturnin church, the St-Nectaire church, the Notre-Dame d'Orcival basilica.
Romanesque architecture developed in Europe during the Middle Ages (approximately between 950AD and the 12th century). It can be recognised by its reinterpretation of ancient Roman vaulting, generally with a full arch. The columns which support the arches are typically cylindrical and topped with capitals which are often carved with images of animals or plants or more or less geometric symbols.


Religious heritage is prevalent in the Massif du Sancy, come and discover the main religious buildings.


- St Nectaire Church
A gem of Romanesque art in the Auvergne and one of the region's 5 main churches. It rises on Mont Contadore like a cathedral.

Built in the 12th century, and a listed historic monument, it is famous for its multicoloured capitals, particularly those in the choir, and especially its treasure (bust of Saint Baudîme, Maestà of Notre Dame du Mont Cornadore, bookbinding plates, arm reliquary of Saint-Nectaire).


- Saint André Church in Besse
Located within the heart of the medieval town, the Saint-André church is built on a lava flow. A historic listed building since 1886. This is a fairly composite lava stone building, partly constructed in the Romanesque style. The former Romanesque choir was rebuilt in the Gothic style, then restored in the 19th century with the installation of an apse. The side chapels date from the 17th and 18th centuries.
Behind the high altar, the venerated statue of the Black Madonna of Vassivière sits in the church during the winter.


- Saint-Ferreol Church in Murol
Neo-Gothic style church. The interior of the church is painted and decorated with large coloured compositions and medieval decorative patterns, the work of Abbé Boudal during the 19th century.


Romanesque Art discovery circuit (1 day)
Itinerary from Saint-Nectaire to Orcival - (64.5km)
Places to visit: St Nectaire church, Grottes de Jonas (Jonas Caves), St André church in Besse, Saint-Etienne church and baptistery in Chambon-sur-Lac, Notre Dame d'Orcival basilica.





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