Romanesque Art in Saintonge
The region of Poitou-Charentes bears
a rich testimony to the religious art of the 11th and 12th centuries
Romanesque Art, the region bears
a rich testimony to the religious art of the 11th and 12th centuries.
After the year one thousand, hundreds of churches were built, in
particular on the roads of Santiago de Compostela. This construction was
started in the11th century and continued in the12th century. The
limestone which is easy to work with, aided the creativity and the skill
of the masons and the sculptors.
Lozay rest area on the A10 route
Romanesque art on the autoroute,
what a shortcut! The rest area of Lozay, accessible from the A10 when
going south, is situated about twenty kilometres after the exit number
Besides road signs, it distinguishes itself by displaying
a lantern for the dead built at the edge of the autoroute
just before the access to the rest area. It is
also possible to reach it from Lozay by the D107 road.
It is there that the Company of the Highways of the
South of France and the General Council Charente of Maritime have
created a free, open air museum, on the theme of the Romanesque Art in
the reproductions were created by skilled French craftsmen following the
old traditional methods.
The presentation is well organized and
attractively displayed so that one can easily understand and enjoy the
architecture and the sculptures.
One can also admire, a wide selection of masterpieces, in detail, on the
There is no need for binoculars either, to see the details of
sculptures which are placed higher up !
Leaflets are available for visitors which give detailed itineraries to
follow by car, bicycle or on foot.
Romanesque Art Centre in Saint-Palais-sur-Mer
The ‘Pôle d’Art Roman’,
to be found in the 12th century Romanesque church, is worth a visit to
get acquainted with the Romanesque Art in Saintonge. It is situated
higher up in the town, about three hundred metres from the beach. You
just have to take, on the right-hand side of the City hall, the ‘rue
de l’Eglise’ (Church street). You arrive first of all at the new
church, built in 1910-1911 with architecture inspired by the Romanesque
churches. Inside, you will find a remarkable framework in the shape of
an inverted hull.
The old church is separated from the
new one by the old cemetery. This 12th century church, heightened in the
18th century when the bell tower was reconstructed as a navigational
point, was falling into ruin in the 90s. It was splendidly restored
between 1994 and 1997 and opened again to the public.
A wooden staircase was built leading to the upper floor of the church,
from which there is a magnificent panoramic view of the estuary of the
Gironde and the forest.