Eglise St-Andre

2467 Reviews

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4/5

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Things to do

Location

Date of travel

2013

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Product country

Product city

Travelled with

Husband

Reasons for trip

Eglise St-Andre in Alet-les-Bains is next to the graveyard and ruined abbey and is largely a reconstruction of the original church. It still has some of the 14thC frescoes and a fascinating small treasury.

It has a tall nave with lower side aisles with a buttressed apse at the east end. There is a tall narrow offset tower at the north east corner with two tiers of louvred bell windows. Above is a hexagonal, crocketed spire with a series of small nobbles on the corners. At the corners of the tower are square pinnacles with triangular tops and a small cross on the top.

A square wooden doorway leads into a porch at the back of the church. Inside is a splendid doorway with a smaller doorway in it for general use. It has pillars with carved capitals and a bendy ‘lintel’ above the door. Above is a pointed arch with crocketed border and an empty niche for a statue.

Inside it is a very elegant building with a long nave with a ribbed ceiling and side chapels on either side with metal rails across them and painted arches above. There are two marble stoups by the door and a small marble font in a recess at the back of the south wall. There are carved and painted stations of the cross on the walls and modern stained glass windows with Biblical scenes.

The chancel has a vaulted ceiling, coming off narrow wall pillars which have a painted geometric design on them in reds, greys and beige. There are two small chapels off the chancel, separated by a metal altar rail. These are the remains of the original church. The south chapel is now a treasury and has a 12thC gilded wood carving of the Virgin and Child, and another undated carving. There are gilded metal monstrances set with semi-precious stones which are reliquaries. These contain relics of St Andrew, St Dominic, St Blaise and St Bentoit as well as St Roche. There are also communion chalices.

The north chapel has the remains of 14thC frescoes. The ceiling has a geometric design in blue, and red with gold stars. The west wall has the figures of monks. On the east wall is a scene of the crucifixion. Beside it is a 17thC painted and gilded statue of St Bentoit set in an arch with a piscina next to it.

There is a free standing red and white marble in the chancel with a M monogram on the base. Behind it are three wooden chairs for the celebrants with the wooden organ above. This has an oil painting of the Assumption of the Virgin on it.

On the walls of the chancel and either side of the chancel arch are bas relief plaster panels on a rust background set in grey frames.

The west chapel on the north wall has a model of the church and abbey and several painted statues including St Michael killing Satan, St Peter, St Theresa, Joseph and the boy Jesus, Jesus Sacre Coeur as well as the old clock mechanism. The middle chapel has a monogramed M on the altar base. The reredos has a statue of St Roch between red and white flecked marble pillars. Above him is a bas relief decoration of a sunburst and cherub heads. The north chapel nearest the altar has a bas relief on the base with cherub heads. On the north wall is a small recess with a statue of the Virgin Mary and child behind a metal grille. This has a wall painted with flower motifs and fleur de lys. The middle chapel on the south wall has an M monogram on the altar with a massive marble urn host box set in an arched recess with cherub heads. The portico has red marble pillars with acanthus leaf capitals and cherubs on the top.

The graveyard between the ruined abbey and the church is full of large family vaults. For those who don’t want to pay to go into the abbey ruins, there are good views of the outside of the abbey, with its elaborate carving around windows from here.

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