Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire Travel Guide

  • The Church from the West (Narthex View)
    The Church from the West (Narthex View)
    by hquittner
  • Detail of the Second Flooor
    Detail of the Second Flooor
    by hquittner
  • The Central Arcade and Beyond
    The Central Arcade and Beyond
    by hquittner

Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire Things to Do

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    by hquittner Written Dec 13, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    If you are present in the Porch at the appropriate time (noon daily except Sunday at 11:00AM), there is admission to the service, but not to the rest of the church. Actually admission begins ten minutes earlier and I wandered about during that time and quickly took picturea of much of what is seen here of the interiors. (I did not see a sign of no photography). During the service, one of the white cloaked brethren rebuked me sharply with one word for raising a camcorder, and then watched me like a hawk. I am not sure that I was allowed to take any of the pictures presented here. We have been in many religious sites where photography was absolutely forbidden at all times:Cappuchin catacombs, Cathedral of Avila, etc. but Rich Steves is allowed to film. We will have more about this in our Introduction.

    Preparing for Mass Preparing for Mass The Altar Entering the Stalls Monks Entering Church(right edge)
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    by hquittner Written Dec 13, 2008

    The only contents of the church are objects that are hard or improper to carry off. So great was the plunder of the Abbot Odet , one of the three Coligny brothers reared by Connetable Anne de Montmorency. (Another of the brothers built Tanlay (See our Tips there). When Odet converted to Protestantism, he permitted the dismantling and melting down of the Treasure and dispersal and sale of the ancient library illuminated books and 2000 manuscripts! Surrounding the altar is a mosaic tile floor of Roman origin Adjacent to that, at the northeast end of the choir is the tomb of Philip I (Capet) (d.1108) with a remodeled gisant on top In a transept chapel, which we were not allowed to enter is a Merovingian Mumma shrine. Finally there are the fine carved choir stalls (1413) at the transept, which the monks occupy during services.

    The Mosaic Floor Gisant of Philip I The Choir Stalls Side Panel of Choir Stall Hand Rest at Top
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    by hquittner Written Dec 13, 2008

    The nave was the last part of the church built (1150-1218). The entire church is 365 feet long and is very high. The five nave bays have slightly pointed arches and tetrapartite ribbed vaults (as would be expected in early Gothic). The aisles have groined vaults with steps at the East end that leads to the ambulatory sited above the crypt. The length of the choir is enlarged by one bay (also a second transept as in Cluny) making a large area. The choir stalls are at the main transept. The chevet and transepts were built before the nave (1067-1108) and are perfect Romanesque with a blind triforium and barrel vaulting. The church is built of off white grayish stones. (We were not allowed to walk in the transepts and ambulatory and did not see a Merovingian shrine. See Our Introduction for important details of the visitor problem). The view of the chevet from the nave is striking. At the West end is an organ loft.

    Nave View Toward Apse Organ Loft at West End South Aisle Detail of Chevet Structure Apse and Ambulatory
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