Mouchan Things to Do
This fabulous church is one of the wonders of Gascony. Built in the 11th Century, with stone from quarry at Ramounet just east of the vilage, the church has an absidiole chapel to the north and a curious stone tower on the south side. It is believed to pre-date the church, perhaps as a defensive watchtower (compare it with the now isolated tower at Luzan, near Beaumont-sur-l'Osse).
The surprisingly complicated plan, almost oval, is spacious and lofty, yet remains very simle in design. The interior has a wealth of wonderful detail in the billettes, the beautifully decorated capitals and the 12th Century vaulted roof of trhe nave and the transept, and the octagonal baptismal font. During the summer, there are free guided tours. This is as good as Romanesque gets: after Mouchan, it all became Gothic.
Without giving specific walking directions, Mouchan is worth an hour of wandering around.
After the church, generally heading south through the village, you can feel the age of the stone houses. One or two houses incorporate Renaissance architectural features, and after the infamous avenue of lime trees, turn right at the Mairie with its attached school. Beyond the mairie and the edge of the village, to the west, is the Osse and the traces of the Romanesque bridge that crossed it here. Near the bridge was the Benedictine water mill of la Bourdette. (The D931, skirting the village is a new alignment).
On the floodplain, you will see stone crosses in or by open fields: these are padouans, which were communal pastures so that the cattle of the poor could graze.
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