New Podcast Episode – Grâce à Biollet

One of the great misconceptions that PJ and I have had on our many adventures photographing Romanesque architecture was our first impression of the capitals of the Église Saint Pierre in Biollet, a village in the Puy-de-Dôme. What we first took to be naïf sculpture by poor workmen turned out to be something completely different. Thanks to a small monograph in French called “Biollet, Figures d’entre deux mondes,” by Albert and Monique Pinto (2007) we got a completely different perspective on the capitals and their possible interpretation as a fusion of Celtic Gaul and medieval Christianity.

Capital with severed heads, Église Saint Pierre, Biollet (Puy-de-Dôme) Photo by Dennis Aubrey

The discovery of this monograph led to an enduring friendship with the Pintos. Albert Pinto has also translated several articles on this site into French and written a couple of posts himself.

The Mysterious Capitals of Biollet”

Grâce à Biollet”

The podcast – “Grâce à Biollet” – can be found at the following locations.


Please listen and if you are so inclined, follow and comment. We are anxious for feedback on this newest Via Lucis venture.

10 thoughts on “New Podcast Episode – Grâce à Biollet

  1. Unfortunately the pod cast is not working on my computer. The previous ones did so baffled as to why this one is not working.

      1. Great – it is working now. I always think it is my old computer at fault or more likely me pressing a wrong button!

        I wonder if Munch got his idea for ‘The Scream’ from this unusual pillar?

        It is great to hear your comment of how welcoming the French people are. You often hear the contrary from English tourists and when I asked someone recently who moaned about their being unfriendly in shops whether he said ‘Bonjour Monsieur/Madame’ on entering a shop he replied in the negative! I suggested he tried that next time and see what happens.

        Mind you I was once told off for not saying ‘Bonjour Monsieur’ to the bus driver in a Paris suburb.! I was starting to panic as I had taken a bus entirely in the wrong direction and was afraid I was lost completely. Consequently I was relieved to find a bus finally going in the right direction and completely forgot to greet the driver. He was right to tell me off!

        I have made several good friends in France due to shared interests and they in turn have introduced me to others. The French (even the Parisians) are indeed most welcoming especially if you make the effort to speak in their language.

      2. Elizabeth, thank you for your comments, as always. Seeing “Pelerin” on the return makes us very happy. We have always found the French to be welcoming and gentile. Sometimes Paris can be a bit challenging, but as you say, a “Bonjour monsieurdame” goes a long way to making all encounters pleasant.

  2. Romanesque art is a source of infinite and sometimes very unexpected discoveries. More over – grâce à Biollet for instance – it can lead to precious friendships. I am specially moved to share with P.J. and Dennis the remembrance of our dear and regretted Dom Angelico.

    1. Thank you, Albert. PJ and I had a great time remembering our visits with you and Monique. The Surchamp podcasts were less pleasure, but so very moving for us. He was a great friend and mentor.

  3. Always pleased to add a comment to your blog. I discovered it quite late and forget where I got the link from. Incidentally I decided on the name ‘pelerin’ when I discovered the English/American Catholic blogosphere and wished to comment occasionally but did not want to choose an English pseudonym with the possible danger of someone else having the same name and perhaps not the same views as myself! So although a Francophile I am not French but have stuck to that name – after all we are all pilgrims on this earth are we not?

    Having attended Art School in the far distant past and Romanesque architecture being one of my favourite periods of study your blog is most welcome.

    I wonder if you have got your planned itinerary for Britain yet?

    1. Elizabeth, thank you for the background, it is always a pleasure to learn more about the people who become part of our lives. PJ and I have developed our itinerary, but there are some difficulties with it. We are finding that there will be significant obstacles to photographing most of the larger churches on our list. But right now we are planning on landing in the south and going to Christchurch, Salisbury, Exeter, Wells, Hereford, Durham, Laxton, Cambridge, and then Canterbury. This will get us a good start on the great catheddrals an the Norman churches. We will be there in September.

  4. PJ and Dennis,
    My daughter has lived in France along with me and, please, she has a powerful celiac illness and always has to ask for foods made without gluten contamination so it is not just a silly fad. The French who are sympathetic are happy to make a simple salad or omelette for her. Folks were sick without knowing why in the past but it has been around a long time.
    Albert Pinto provides a photo and information for one of my books so that’s another connection between us! Surchamp would have loved these capitals—they are some of my favorite Romanesque abstractions.
    Hope all is well.

    1. Janet, PJ has ciliac disease as well (how she swoons outside a patisserie!). We have found the French are very sympathetic about this issue. PJ and I were entertained by this restaurant owner’s response because it was so completely old fashioned. He was elderly, and he and his wife have been cooking Provencal cuisine for half a century and just were confounded by this new stuff.

      Albert and Monique have become good friends, and Albert was well-acquainted with Surchamp. Thanks for writing, such a pleasure to hear from you again. We will talk soon about our podcast which is now pretty well established.

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