It has a good centre as you can see with several eating places, we chose to eat at an establishment just off the centre called La Taverne Pierre Very …. and you can see the review of that meal by clicking REVIEW, it was actually very good.
It is in fact a very big hole in the cliff, the rock has been dug out and the church is what is left, several other excavations have been undertaken in the vicinity such as the barn like structures further down the street.
In order to support the roof the excavators left in place some massive columns, below is a view between two of them, as you can see they are hexagonal in shape, and the whole, excavation is very high ( 20M ). You can go up some narrow stairs and then look down on the floor area.
In this photo you can see a ‘Reliquary’ which was supposedly made to receive a part of the original cross, but it never happened. It is based on a similar structure, the Sepulchre in Jerusalem. It is thought that the church was dug out in the 12th century specifically to receive holly relics that were going to be bought back from the crusades.
The church and all its contents were not re opened up until the 1950′s due to a rock fall that occurred sometime in the past and this had blocked the entrance. Now it is open every day except Christmas and opening times are 9.30am to12.30 and then 2pm to 6pm but from 1st June to 30th Sept it stays open till 7pm. Seems somewhat odd as it is always dark inside and has to be lit artificially so whether its summer or winter it’s always the same… OK OK I know it’s that there are more people in the summer.
Above is another view looking down from the gallery around the top of the excavation, Another feature is a Sarcophilus which is a chamber with tomb shaped holes cut into the rock into which bodies were laid, like a burial chamber. Again there is speculation as to who was buried and why. However what ever the origin is, it’s there, and 800 years old so probably no one will ever know for sure.
I took a few other photos whilst roaming around, we visited an interesting pottery shop and our friends bought some items, The potter produces lovely vases and other items but one thing that is novel and interesting is pottery nest boxes. I thought that birds might not be tempted by them and it was a bit of a gimmick but he had several photos sent to him from people who had bought them and then were lucky enough to get a Blue tit or a Sparrow making use of them. So I was wrong! You can see one hanging up outside the shop.
I also got a rather better shot of the old, but refurbished lavoir near the centre of the town and a very attractive cottage on the hill going back up from the centre.