The original West Facade of the church and its tower are separated from the church by the Place Ste.-Croix, which is where the first three bays of the nave were. The new portals outer facade face has been partly obliterated by masonry. The tympanum of the main double door is destroyed as is the North door. The central large recessed arches remain high above with their engaged columns below. The South door tympanum, its arches and columns remain. The tympanum appears to illustrate indistinctly: Christ blessing , with intercessions by the Virgin and a revered monk of the church. Even more obliterated, the lintel shows the Annunciation and the Visitation (left third), Nativity (middle) and Good News to the Shepherds. These destructions follow the late Gothic creation of this second West facade. This is not to be confused with the parts of the original facade associated with the Tower Ste.-Croix (separate Tip).
When it was built in the early 12C , this Cluniac Romanesque church was the second largest in France (after Cluny itself). Partly destroyed by fire in 1569, it was roughly readapted in 1695 with the original west facade only preserving the still standing North Tower of Ste.-Croix. The original 6 bays of its 5 naves are identifiable along the North side of the Place Ste.-Croix where they are incorporated in the buildings there. Evidences of the bays and triforium can be seen. The main door next to the North tower was redone in Gothic style as an arch leading into the square.
As part of the restoration of the damaged church, some attempts were made to preserve the fabric other than merely sealing up the aperatures where windows had been. If you go outside the South transept, they have placed parts of one of the original fine portals in place there: a tympanum from the Tower of Ste.-Croix showing the Transfiguration and on the lintel the Adoration of the Magi and the Presentation in the Temple.
To get to La Charité sur Loire by air, you can fly to either Lyon or Paris, then take a hire car or train for the rest of the journey (there is a railway station in the town, with links to Paris)
If driving, you will find the town from the A77 auto route.