Eglise Notre Dame-La-Grande ~ Poitiers

This amazing place is the church in the centre of Poitiers. Originally most churches were painted like this during the Middle ages, but few have the paint still intact. The pillars, walls and ceiling are painted in geometric designs of great complexity and colour, and though the paint is not as vivid as it once must have been, it still dazzles.

The front of the church is carved in beautiful depictions of Bible scenes and at night colours are projected onto it to simulate how it looked before time and weather washed the paint from the facade.

Outside in the square musicians were playing a medieval style music with modern instruments and equipment and I shivered. Poitiers has a long association with the Troubadours, and these men had filled the same role.

A lovely afternoon, and I’d love to go back one day and explore properly.

11 thoughts on “Eglise Notre Dame-La-Grande ~ Poitiers

  1. What a fantastic place! It reminds me of a church we discovered over in Studland, which had tiny little snippets of similar decoration which was preserved on stones and bricks that were apparently random, until you realised they had been taken from the original church to make the one that stood there today. How marvellous it would be, to see one in it’s “new” glory.


  2. I love the photo, Viv – it makes me wonder who is hiding/what is happening behind those astonishing columns, steadfast in their solidity – and also what beckons at the end of ‘the avenue’ just into the horizon. It also reminds me of the video clip ‘Mysterium’. Thanks for posting – very evocative and takes me away from here – not that I want to be just now as beautiful summer days never too early! Hope your trip is going well.


  3. Beautiful, even in the photograph you can feel the serenity of the space.

    One of our village churches still retains the wall paintings, depicting biblical scenes intended to instruct the vast illiterate in the parables. It only gets used on high days and holidays now, as it has no electricity etc, and the Victorians built a gothic monstrosity further down the village common. Candle lit services there are spine tingling though, it is one of those places where the air is thin and you feel like you just have to reach out to touch the other side.

    I am very fond of ecclesiastical buildings, not for any great religious bent on my part, but there is something very special about the atmosphere of such places.

    I hope you get to return, you really must!


    • The town was very poor and they chose to decorate in a way they had the means for. English churches mostly had theirs painted over in white or scraped off.


  4. Pingback: The Year in Review: highs, lows, triumphs and tragedies of 2011 « Zen and the art of tightrope walking

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