Chapelle Saint-Clair

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Chapelle St-Clair is a 12thC octagonal chapel with small east apse thought to have been the funerary chapel of l’Hôpital Saint-Nicholas d’Aiguilhe which looked after pilgrims. The lintel above the west door has a carving showing the phases of the moon. The round topped windows have pillars with carved capitals supporting carved arches. Above the arches is a diamond pattern of dark and lighter coloured stone. Outside the door is a small stone crucifix.

It is surrounded by small garden with a 19thC gothic fountain on the wall. This has a decoratively carved portico above it with pinnacles and carvings of shells around the arch. On the pedestal above the fountain is a small statue of St Michael killing the dragon.

In the gardens is a ‘magic square’. This is made up of 25 stones each with a letter, making a palindrome formed by five words of five letters that can be read in the same way from four directions of the side of the square itself. This formula (ROTAS OPERA TENET AREPO SATOR) was very widespread in the places of the Roman Empire, and was a sign of recognition between Christians during the persecutions.

The inside of the chapel is very simple with tall wall mounted round pillars with round arches above. In the apse is a small free standing altar with a carved and gilded front and a small host box on the back wall. A cross is suspended from the ceiling.

On the way to Rocher St Michel d’Aiguilhe, this is worth popping in for a look.

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