Sunday, 3 March 2013

Church on Sunday.. St.Peter's Abbey

Here in Southern  Touraine we are lucky to be surrounded with many interesting and picturesque villages. One of our favourites being Preuilly-sur-Claise which we have walked around and enjoyed many times over the years.It has a number of attractive features, not least the river Claise which flows through it,the chateau and it wonderful abbey church of Saint Peter's..

The original church dates from 1009 with modifications in the 15th century followed by extensive reworking, including the new tower,during the 19th century.

To appreciate its Romanesque-Byzantine style architecture we suggest you take a walk around the streets of the the village to get the different views of the church before stepping inside.

Your first impression might be that it appears somewhat stark but when you search out the detail it throws up much to observe. (Niall and Antoinette from 'Chez Charnizay' did a very good post back in 2011 on some of this plus some history)

Such as its pillars and its capitals, apparently there is one for every day of the year!...

 ...its side aisles and alters...

...and much much more.

Where's Joan? ...she's here.

To celebrate its millennium the local community asked architects 'Citéos' to design a lighting scheme for the interior highlighting the church’s capitals, pillars, statues and altars. In addition, atmospheric lighting was provided in the galleries, chapels and the porch. You can see their effect below with photographs from the lighting company's (Neolight) website.

As we said earlier a walk around the exterior is well worth it. 
If you walk under the flying buttresses to the right of the main entrance you will eventually come acrosss what's left of part of the original abbey cloisters which are showing many centuries of decay,

Its flying buttresses to me seem like an after thought...but then what do I know?

As you walk around the rear of the church you can appreciate the exterior detail of its apse and ornately tiled tower roof, apparently unique in Touraine.

The house to the right of the rear of the church shows some detail that obviously links it to the old abbey complex.

 I consider this one of the gems of Touraine and indeed the Loire Valley but feel that it is not promoted enough as a tourist attraction.

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