Eglise de Beaulieu

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This is a couple of miles east of the River Loire between Lavôute-sur-Loire and Rosières. We had seen a sign to ‘Roman Church’ in Lavôute-sur-Loire and went to investigate.

Beaulieu is a typical small French town, clustered round the church with nothing special to it. There is virtually no information about it on the web and you won’t find it in the guide books.

The church is 12thC although the west front was restored in 1885. The bell tower and sacristy were rebuilt in 1908.

There is a massive west front with a short bell tower above. On either side of the door are towers with triangular roofs and blank arches. Inside is a porch with a memorial stone.

The nave is massive and has a gallery across the west end. Two big wall pillars with carved capitals support the round arches on the nave wall and continue to form the ribs of the barrel ceiling. However the rib at the west end was destroyed when this was altered.

On the north wall are statues of Joan of Arc, St Roch and St Theresa. The south wall has statues of Notre-Dame de Lourdes and St Antoine de Padoue. At the back is a memorial to the dead of World War One with a stained glass widow above with God the Father at the top and the Virgin comforting a fallen soldier.

On either side of the transept are wall altars. On the north wall is a white marble with gilt patterns. There is a dressed Black Madonna and Child on the host box. Above is a stained glass window with the Virgin and Child.

The south wall altar is white marble with the Sacre Coeur on the base. This has coloured marble pillars and a statue of Joseph and the young Jesus. Above is a stained glass window also with Joseph and Jesus. There is a big round chancel arch with a modern wooden mass altar beneath. Behind it is a an apse at the east end. The white marble high altar has a carving of Jesus and two angels on the base with coloured marble pillars and gilt enamelled panels. The retable has more gilt and turquoise enamel inlay along the The integral host box has coloured marble pillars on either side of the door. Above is a gilded crucifix with pillars supporting a canopy with pinnacles and a spire. The back of the retable is a semi circle with cut outs in the marble.

There are two small apses off which have carved wooden benches around the walls. The window above the north apse has a scene of the Annunciation. The south apse window shows the crowing in Heaven of the Virgin.

This is an unspoilt Romanesque church. We enjoyed our visit, but then we like old churches. There is nothing really special to make you go out of your way to visit, but if passing, stop and call in.

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