I’ve uploaded my pictures from our holiday in France. Beth has a whole load more on her camera that I’ll link to when she’s uploaded them. Most of the pictures are actually in two places as I’ve done one big set with everything, and then a number of smaller sets for particular places we went.
Looking through the pictures, you’ll spot that we went to a lot of Churches – including finally getting round to doing the abbey tour at Cluny. It is certainly worth doing if you are ever there, as you get to see inside the one remaining part of what was the largest Church in the world before St Peter’s in Rome was rebuilt. Although you can get an idea of what it looked like inside by visits to Tournus and Paray-le-Monial both of those are smaller.
We also saw some of the smaller town churches, an interesting comparison being those in Saint-Gengoux-le-National and Buxy. The building in Saint-Gengoux-le-National is in serious need of restoration – with a noticeable crack running pretty well the length of the nave in the roof, and large lumps of plaster missing from the walls. Buxy is much luckier, in that they have been able to restore the building.
Both the building at Tournus and Paray-le-Monial (Paray-le-Monial being completed since our last visit a few years ago) but with slightly different styles. Tournus has opted for some modern stained glass, which certainly the writers of the The Rough Guide to France disliked. Paray-le-Monial has a little bit of modern glass away in the transepts, but seems to have stuck with largely traditional designs, which certainly produced some good pictures as the sun shone through them. Where Paray-le-Monial has gone modern though is in the light fittings, which I initially took for sculptures – definitely a different approach to trying to ‘hide’ the lighting. They also had put very discreet recessed sockets into the floor at regularly spaced intervals on the floor of the building. Perhaps one other thing to note, particularly from someone in England where to remove them would be considered sacrilegious by some – not one of the Churches we visited had any pews at all. It’s worth considering that despite what English Heritage might say about the matter, with medieval buildings such as these, no pews is much more authentic to the original building.