Today’s appetizer is an examination of the berrichon, a little known feature of Romanesque architecture. The berrichon is a passageway in the wall separating a nave from the choir. In this case of this version from the Abbaye Sainte Marie aux Dames in Saintes, the passages allow someone to pass from the large open nave into the side chapels on the other side of the choir wall.
In this ground plan of the Abbey church, we can see the location identified by the two yellow dots on either side of the chancel opening onto the transepts. These passages are usually found in churches that have only a single nave and no side aisles.
The berrichon allows the movement of people to the apsidal and transept chapels without disturbing the worship.
This is part of a series of posts featuring an amuse-bouche, a bite-sized appetizer to whet the appetite of diners. Each of these will explore a single interesting feature of medieval architecture or sculpture. To see other amuse-bouches, follow this link.