A Welcome by the French (Dennis Aubrey)


Our last post was on the difficulty of photographing the churches in Italy. We have returned to France and the contrast could not be more obvious. On our first day back we found ourselves in the Haute-Loire department of the Auvergne and we photographed three magnificent churches, all without interruption.

Ambulatory, Église abbatiale Saint-Chaffre, Le Monastier-sur-Gazeille (Haute-Loire)  Photo by PJ McKey

Ambulatory, Église abbatiale Saint-Chaffre, Le Monastier-sur-Gazeille (Haute-Loire) Photo by PJ McKey

The only time that anybody approached uswas to welcome us and tell us about the cloister that was not readily apparent on the north side of the church in Chamalières-sur-Loire. A very nice woman was cleaning bird droppings off of her car – Les oiseaux sont diabolique aujourd’hui. When she saw me unloading the camera equipment, she approached and started chatting about the church, which is her local place of worship. She asked if there was a place to see our photos so I gave her our calling card with the web address.

Nave, Église Saint Gilles, Chamalières-sur-Loire (Haute-Loire)  Photo by Dennis Aubrey

Nave, Église Saint Gilles, Chamalières-sur-Loire (Haute-Loire) Photo by Dennis Aubrey

She called out to someone and her husband came out to join us, wearing a tie under his natty sweater. As we were leaving, he pulled out the tie and said, “Look, I’m wearing a nice tie today!” Ah, France.

Side aisle, Église abbatiale Saint-Chaffre, Le Monastier-sur-Gazeille (Haute-Loire) Photo by PJ McKey

Side aisle, Église abbatiale Saint-Chaffre, Le Monastier-sur-Gazeille (Haute-Loire) Photo by PJ McKey

Today we will continue our adventures in this stunning region around Le Puy-en-Velay. The weather has been perfect – sunny wand warm, with fields full of red and yellow poppies, mustard, scotch broom and wild flowers. There are a number of reasons that the Auvergne is one of our favorite places in France, and a beautiful day like this and a land full of open Romanesque churches is heaven on earth for us.

Nave, Église Saint Julien, Saint-Julien-Chapteuil (Haute-Loire)  Photo by PJ McKey

Nave, Église Saint Julien, Saint-Julien-Chapteuil (Haute-Loire) Photo by PJ McKey

Today we go to Saint Dier d’Auvergne to see the church in this small town. We have been informed that the key to the church is at the house next door, la maison qui touche l’église. Sometimes things are so simple.

2 responses to “A Welcome by the French (Dennis Aubrey)

  1. There seems to be a lot of color variation in the stone, ranging from blue to even green tinges. Is that due to light (from stained glass?) or do the stones have this range of colors?

  2. I agree with Davis’s comment on the color variation in the stones. There seems to e some patterning in some of it. Beautiful church with wonderful nooks and crannies.

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