Saturday, 11 April 2015

A trip to the Berry (part 1)

Although the emphasis of this blog lies on Burgundy, every so often I deviate a little from this area. When we were planning a trip into the Berry region, I had asked my walking encyclopedia on Romanesque churches for some advice concerning this area.

Source: Gouvernements généraux du Berry, du Nivernois, et du Bourbonois, Robert de Vaugondy, 1753
We went there to meet up with my son, who was going to spend a day with some local guitar restorers, and decided to do some sightseeing as well since we were there. Berry is a former Duchy and it was until 1790 a province of France with as a capital Bourges. Both departments Indre (36) and Cher (18) in the Centre region form more or less the old Berry.

Saint-Désiré (03)
We stayed in the Southern part of Indre, near La Châtre, famous because George Sand lived around there.
It was a totally unknown area for me. The only thing I knew had something to do with the Berry were the “passages berrichons”, narrow wall openings on both side of the choir in a church, giving access to the transept from the nave. These wall openings one finds sporadically in some Romanesque churches in Burgundy.

Crossing - Saint-Désiré (03)
And further I had heard and seen something of the “Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry”, and everyone who has ever done some calligraphy will admit that this is a jewel of illumination.
On our way to the Berry we drove through Allier (03) and halfway Montluçon and our destination we saw a sign “Saint-Désiré Eglise Romane”. Since we were a trifle on the early side we decided to pay a quick visit to this church.

Crypt - Saint-Désiré (03)
The church had once been part of a priory, and it had an 11th century crypt built around the grave of a former bishop of Bourges, Saint-Désiré. The church had been shortened in the 19th century and partially heavily restored (see “Wikipedia - Église Saint-Désiré de Saint-Désiré”), but what is left over is still quite interesting.
And this church was not even on my list!

The link to the website of La Tuilerie de Chazelle can be found here.

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