The Allier is a department of France in the northern Auvergne just above Clermont-Ferrand. On a map, it is almost dead center in France in the hills of the Bourbonnais. As a part of the Compostella pilgrimage route, the region is full of Romanesque churches, none more wonderful than the Église Notre Dame in Châtel-Montagne.
Inside it is a classic Romanesque church with a banded barrel vault spanning a narrow nave and groin vaults over the side aisles.
The nave has a fine arrangement of elements. The nave arcade is composed of four bays, each surmounted by three arches of the tribune, and then a single clerestory window.
There is a seven-arch hemicycle in the apse, surrounded by a charming ambulatory that reflects the pilgrimage origins of the church.
One of my favorite views of the church was the south entrance to the church, caught in the late afternoon. I always love these door shots and the stairs to the western tribune add a nice touch to this image.
PJ and I refer to a church like this as one with “bones”. The original structure is intact and in good condition, and very importantly, not over-restored. We knew the church from pictures and reading about it, but were delighted to actually visit and photograph.
Location: Click this link to see the location on our custom Google Map.