France South – From Dijon to Arles
From north to south
- Museum of Sacred Art Dijon – Located in the church of the Monastery of the Bernardines the museum presents sculptures, paintings and textiles from the 12th to the 20th century. Works by artists Jean Dubois (sculptor), Corneille (painter), Armand Calliat (goldsmith), Poussielgue-Rusand (goldsmith).
- Stained glass windows by Alfred Manessier for the church of Sainte-Agathe des Bréseux (1948). These were the first non-figurative designs to be incorporated in an ancient building. Father Couturier himself signed for the window celebrating St Theresa.
- In the Gothic church the Notre-Dame of Talant there are 46 windows by Gérard Garouste. The windows are examples of contemporary Catholic iconography.
- In the cathedral windows made in 1992-2001 by Jean-Michel Alberola, Claude Viallat and Raoul Ubac.
- Musée de la Visitation, 4, place de l’Ancien Palais. About the order of the Visitationists. www.musee-visitation.eu
- 15th-century hospital with the Last Judgment by Rogier van der Weyden.
- Cathedral of St. Lazarus. Romanesque. With The Last Judgment by Gislebertus (12th century) and also capitals by him, among which 3 capitals about the Magi plus one about the flight to Egypt.
- Musée Rolin. Musée Rolin in Autun displays a variety of interesting religious artworks, both ancient Roman and medieval. It is located next to the cathedral in a Renaissance hotel built by Nicholas Rolin, chancellor of Philippe le Bon. The collections of the Musée Rolin include several interesting Gallo-Roman artifacts, but the star attraction is a carving rescued from the north door of Autun Cathedral known as the Temptation of Eve. Carved by the sculptor Gislebertus at the same time as his magnificent tympanum, it is a huge work and a notably sensuous depiction of Eve. Also notable is the brilliantly colored Nativity painting by the Maître de Moulins and a lovely painted sculpture of the Virgin of Autun.
Paray le Monial:
- Eucharistic Museum of Hieron, 13 rue de la Paix, Paray le Monial. http://www.musee-hieron.fr
- Expositions at Centre Artistique Magnificat, Cloître de l’abbaye de Paray-le-Monial - Communauté de l’Emmanuel.
- In the Basilique Saint François de Sales murals and stations of the cross by Maurice Denis.
- Abbey of Abondance with a small museum with liturgical objects and some paintings, and a cloister with 15th-century frescoes.
- The Gothic abbey church with a Neo-gothic interior.
Melle (in Poitou in the West of France):
- Medieval town with three Romanesque churches, of which the St-Hilaire has a place on the Unesco world heritage list with a magnificent portal with a man on horse who tramples on a dwarf (meaning unclear).
- Musée de la France Protestante de l'Ouest, Le Bois Tiffrais, Monsireigne, Chantonnay. About Protestant history. Books, manuscripts, objects.
- Museum of Stained Glass. Founded in 1988, the museum offers a technical and historical
guide to the production and design of stained glass. Every visit is accompanied and explained by a professional and informative guide – a person, not a book! The museum traces the
development of stained glass from early claustra to contemporary work including dalle de verre and fusing and has some particularly fine examples from the 13th century and from the
Art Nouveau period. Apart from its permanent exhibition the museum organizes regular long-term exhibitions spotlighting a particular artist or theme. www.musee-du-vitrail.com
- Musée du Poitou Protestant about the history of Protestantism in the region. With a Huguenot walking path.
La Rochelle (in the West of France):
- In 1568 this town became a Huguenot centre. In 1627 the town got into conflict with Louis XIII and was consequently besieged for 14 months by Cardinal Richelieu. When the town gave itself up 25.000 of its inhabitants had died of hunger. The increasing persecution of the Huguenots resulted in the abolition of the Edict of Nantes by Louis XIV in 1685. Many Huguenots emigrated to The Netherlands and North America.
- Musée Rochelais d'Histoire Protestante, 2 Rue Saint-Michel, with a rich collection of documents, engravings and diverse objects dealing with the history of Protestantism in Aunis and Saintonge.
- Maison du Protestantisme Charentais, Canton de la Tremblade (close to ile d'Arvert). Museum about the history of Protestantism in Aunis and Saintonge.
- Sainte Marie de La Tourette is a Dominican Order priory in a valley near Lyon designed by the architect Le Corbusier and constructed between 1956 and 1960. La Tourette is considered one of the more important buildings of the late Modernist style. It was under the instigation of Father Couturier that the Dominicans of Lyon charged Le Corbusier with the task of bringing into being at Éveux the Convent of La Tourette, in the midst of nature, located in a small vale that opens out onto the forest. www.couventlatourette.com
- Musée d'Art Sacré (Museum of Sacred Art), also known as the Musée de l'Oeuvre de Fourvìère, 8 Place de Fourvière, Lyon. This modest museum exhibits religious artifacts mostly from Lyon. A veritable treasure house of religious relics, it contains a large collection of works by goldsmith Armand Caillat. There are also permanent exhibitions of commemorative plaques, mosaics, religious paintings and ceremonial vestments. At different times each year there are exhibitions of religious significance. Opening hours: 10-12 and 2-6. www.fourviere.org
- Expositions at Espace culturel Saint-Polycarpe.
- Église Saint-Prim, a romanesque church with a neogothic interior. Recently architect Claude Rutault gave the church a new interior with striking colours and play of light.
- The Saint Pierre church designed by Le Corbusier. The last of a group of buildings Le Corbusier designed for the town of Firminy, the church wasn't completed until 2006, 41 years after his death. The building is used as a church and cultural centre. It also houses a museum about Le Corbusier. www.sitelecorbusier.com
- Le Musée du Désert, Le Mas Soubeyran, Mialet. Museum about the history of the Huegenots and the Camisards in the Cévennes. www.museedudesert.com/article5684.html
- The Eglise Notre-Dame des Neiges is a beautiful tent-shaped modern church with windows by Arcabas. www.notredamedesneiges-alpedhuez.asso.fr and www.arcabas.com
- St-Hugues de Chartreuse, a 19th-century church with frescoes by Arcabas (Museum of Contemporary Religious Art). www.saint-hugues-arcabas.fr and www.arcabas.com
- Musée de la Grande Chartreuse. Museum close to the famous Carthusian monastery la Grande Chartreuse. About the history of the monastery and the life and spirituality of the monks. www.musee-grande-chartreuse.fr
- the modern church of Notre Dame de Toute Grace, begun in 1937 and consecrated in 1950. It was designed by the architect Maurice Novarina, and many outstanding modern artists contributed to its decoration, including Fernand Léger, Jean Lurcat, Germaine Richier, Marc Chagall, Jacques Lipchitz, and Georges Rouault. The church was built through the efforts of Father Marie Alain Couturier, a Dominican priest, who sought to revitalize church architecture through the contributions of the best contemporary artists regardless of their faith. It houses some of the most important decorative and fine arts to be found in the modern church.
- Bertrand Bahuet has produced wall paintings (frescoes) on the vaults of Saint Peter's Chapel at Curbans, a little village in the Southern French Alps. This chapel, of the Romanesque era is listed on the French Historic Monument Inventory. All together, the paintings cover more than 250 m2 ; It has been divided in 26 scenes, each one of which is linked to parts of the New Testament.
- Le musée d'art sacré du Monêtier-les-Bains, 20 Rue École, Chapelle St Pierre. One of the best collections of sacred art of the Hautes-Alpes.
- Musée du Protestantisme Dauphinois, Temple du vieux village. About the history of Protestantism in the region of Dauphiné. Also a collection of contemporary mosaics with biblical themes. Open April – October.
- Le Musée diocésain d'Art Sacré. In a church 3 km. north of Romans. Collection of more than 25.000 objects from the 14th-20th century. Sculptures, paintings, altars, books, relics, vestments and religious folk art. http://museeartsacre.free.fr/main.html
- Windows by Pierre Soulages. In1987-1994 Pierre Soulages (1919), a well-known French abstract painter, makes the windows of the Romanesque Sainte-Foy church of Conques.
- Musée d'art sacré du Gard, 2 Rue Saint-Jacques. Robes, liturgical objects and paintings, from the15th – 17th century. www.gard-provencal.com/musees/artsacre.htm
- Musée d'Art Sacre & Tresor Francis Poulenc, Parvis du Sanctuaire, Rocamadour. The artistic highlight of the religious complex at Rocamadour, the museum contains a collection of reliquaries, statues, paintings, enamels, cloths and many other religious works of art plus various historic documents.
- Musée d’Art Sacré de Chastanier, Museum of Sacred Art.
- The Abbey of St. Peter.
- Sainte Cécile cathedral is a masterpiece of the Southern Gothic style. It is characterized by a strong contrast between its austere, defensive exterior and its sumptuous interior decoration. Built as a statement of the Christian faith after the upheavals of the Cathar heresy, this gigantic brick structure was embellished over the centuries: the Dominique de Florence Doorway, the 78 m high bell tower the Baldaquin over the entrance (1515–1540). The rood screen is a veritable filigree work in stone in the Flamboyant Gothic style. It is decorated with a magnificent group of polychrome statuary carved by artists from the Burgundian workshops of Cluny and comprising over 200 statues which have retained their original colours.
- Musée du Protestantisme en Haut-Languedoc, Maison du Luthier, about Protestant history from the 16th century till now. Objects, books, engravings. Open: Easter to September 20. www.mpehl.org
- Musée National Message Biblique Marc Chagall.
- Matisse Chapel.
- Chateau-Musee de Vallauris: Picasso's monumental War and Peace decoration in the vaulted chapel.
- The Maeght Foundation. Inaugurated on July 28th 1964 by André Malraux, then Minister of Cultural Affairs, this architectural ensemble was entirely conceived and financed by Aimé and Marguerite Maeght to present modern and contemporary art in all its forms. Painters and sculptors collaborated closely in the realisation of this Foundation with Catalan architect Lluis Sert by creating frequently monumental works integrated into the building and gardens: the Giacometti courtyard, the Miró labyrinth filled with sculptures and ceramics, mural mosaics by Chagall and Tal-Coat, a pool and stained glass window by Braque, a Bury fountain. A true museum in nature, the Maeght Foundation is an exceptional site that contains one of the most important collections in Europe, with paintings, sculptures; drawings and graphic works from the 20th century: Bonnard, Braque, Calder, Chagall, Giacometti, Léger, Miró.
- Musée national Fernand Léger, Chemin du val de Pome, Biot. Museum of the work of Fernand Léger; also expositions. www.musee-fernandleger.fr
- Chapelle Notre-Dame de Jerusalem – last building designed by Jean Cocteau. Jean Cocteau, helped by the architect Jean Triquenot, conceived the plans and the decoration of the chapel. The internal frescoes illustrate the subject of the Passion of the Christ. In the Last Supper surmounting the axial door, the guests can know, among the apostles, Jean Cocteau's self-portrait and that of the comedian Jean Marais, friend of the poet. Scenes of the arrest, crucifixion, and resurrection of Christ. A second subject is recurring in the decoration of the chapel, that of the crusades, and more particularly that of the order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre and the cross of Jerusalem, symbol of the crusaders, is everywhere present : outside, surmounting the dome, in frescoes, on stained glasses and altar stone where one can read the slogan of the crusaders : "God le veult". This chapel is the ultimate message of the poet, where, in one incomparable site, he manages to marry nature and mysticism, symbolism and figurative scenes.
Les Arcs sur Argens:
- Saint Rosaline Chapel. The Sainte Roseline chapel standing outside the village contains exceptionally fine works of art. The chapel is part of an 11th-century abbey. It is now a place of pilgrimage with 20th-century decorations.
- The Museum of Christian Art (Musée d'Art Chrétien) lies just northwest of the Museum of Pagan Art on Rue Balze in Arles. Housed in the chapel of a former Jesuit college (built 1652), the museum contains one of the most important collections of early Christian sarcophagi. Mostly dating from the 4th century AD, the sarcophagi are decorated with scenes from the Old and New Testaments.
- In the Church of Saint-Pierre-de-Trinquetaille you will find Miguel Deveze’s Stations of the Cross (1953), thought to be his masterpiece. Also windows by Alfred Manessier and Jean-Luc Perrot.
- Musée d'Allauch: Symbole et Sacré, Place Pierre Bellot. With Christian art from the 12th-19th century, an archaeological collection and art from the Provence from the 17th-20th century. Also about the influence of faith on popular culture. www.musee.allauch.com
- Dominican convent with windows by Kim En Joong.
Also see: Irving Hexham, ed, Marke Konnert, Peter and Carine Barrs, Christian Travelers Guide to France. http://www.christian-travelers-guides.com/