This is a quite an impressive church in the Romanesque style and with a Tripartite Facade similar to the ones at Poitiers, Angouleme and Civray.
The facade was destroyed in 1562 during the religous wars and then recarved in 1710. For this reason the carvings are in fairly good condition being only 300 years old. It is quite easy to appreciate the animals and gargolyes that adorn the entrance. Above these there is the remains of a carved horseman known as Le Cavalier on which I posted a blog some while ago and which you find on several churches in this area. Only the body of the horse remains. The rest was also no doubt destroyed in the religous wars. The horseman on the church at Melle is in better condition but I believe that it is a reconstruction, the original having been destroyed sometime in the past. Click here to see it. The original facade was carved between 1150 and 1160 and the church predates that.
What a nice sentiment, basically a welcome to everyone, Christian or not and an invitation to a little prayer if you are a Christian believer. In the centre of the village is Le Place Trarieux named after Ludovic Trarieux who was born in the village and was the founder of the League of Human Rights, I wonder if his genes still pervade the present population and that is why there is such a sympathetic note in the church
Inside there is a very ornate tomb decorated in gold and paint but as yet I have not found out who is inside???
One feature which we missed out on is the underground church of St Jean (Eglise Souterraine Saint Jean)…… perhaps I missed it because it is underground! Anyway there is an excellent web site all about it and you can click on the virtual tour and see it all. better to visit it though- I will do that next time. The website for the church is Underground church.
Have a look at my other posts on Aubeterre.