In September of 2011, PJ and I spent four days exploring the area around Saint-Gervais-d’Auvergne, a town in the Puy-de-Dôme. The nearby the Val de Sioule in the Department of Allier is home to the small village of Veauce. Veauce’s Église Sainte-Croix is an 11th Century jewel of French Romanesque architecture that was listed as a Monument Historique in 1862. There is no remaining record of when Sainte-Croix de Veauce was built, but it was attached to the Abbey Saint-Léger d’Ebreuil in 1080.
We showed up at the church at four in the afternoon. Since I had sprained my ankle the day before and was having difficulty walking, I decided to spend my time shooting the exterior of the church while PJ shot the interior. After about half an hour of shooting, PJ was still inside, so I thought that perhaps the church was interesting enough to go inside myself.
I made my way down the steps around to the entrance on the south side of the church. Inside was a stunning example of the Auvergne Romanesque with the nave terminating in a perfect hemicycle in the apse.
That hemicycle masks an interesting feature of the this church – the ambulatory does not open out onto a radiating chapel but just circles the choir. That feature can be seen in this photograph – you can track down the side aisle and see the curving ambulatory.
The reason the church looks truncated is that the nave was longer when it was built, but the first two bays were destroyed in the 18th Century. In this shot, we can see through the nave to the transepts, and then beyond to the echeloned chapels in the distance.
Sainte-Croix was a complete surprise to us since there is very little information on the church. But we were able to discover its charms and beauty on that perfect autumn afternoon in the Auvergne.