Anzy-Le-Duc Church Anzy-le-Duc, France

Once part of a priory, this Burgundian church dates from the 11th century. Its attractive Romanesque architecture includes much sculptural decoration: two portals, lively corbels on the exterior and unusual capitals inside.

South Exterior
Holly Hayes All Images »

Facts & Stats

Id
248463
Best Known As
Anzy-Le-Duc Church
Full Name
Anzy-Le-Duc Church
Also Known As
Anzy-le-Duc Church
Anzy-le-Duc Priory
Church of Our Lady of the Assumption
Église Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption
Coordinates
46.321060° N, 4.061959° E  (map)

Contact Info

Address
71110
Phone
03 85 25 03 07

Timeline

890
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930
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1576
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1594
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1652
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1789
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1808
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1818
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1852
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Burgundy Churches: Paray-le-Monial, Anzy-le-Duc and Several-Other-Ones

Before moving on to our latest experiences, I can't neglect our last big day of sightseeing from Macon, which was last Monday. We saw a whopping eight churches, most of which were in small villages with long hyphenated names.

The sun actually shone most of the day and we had such a nice day of driving around and enjoying ourselves at a relaxed pace. We had most of the churches to ourselves, so we even got out the tripod for the first time in awhile. In addition to churches we saw beautiful countryside (as usual) and met nice cows, dogs, cats, and even a pair of llamas. Here are a few highlights.

Paray-le-Monial

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This was the biggest church and biggest town we visited that day. The 11th-century Romanesque basilica stands prettily on a river and was once an important monastery related to Cluny Abbey.

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All of the above are of the west front, whose very straight lines contrast nicely with...

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The pretty roundness of the east end. This is one of the things I love the most about Romanesque churches - the simple geometrical shapes that combine so nicely.

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In the last few centuries Paray-le-Monial has been the center of the cult of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which got started with visions seen by a local nun named Marguerite Marie Alacoque in 1673.

Chapel of the Apparitions
It's still a major place of pilgrimage because of the Sacred Heart, and the holiest spot is this small church down the road from the basilica called the Chapel of the Apparitions. This is where the apparitions occurred and where the visionary nun is buried.

Anzy-le-Duc

This little church was once part of a monastery too, and it was the burial place of St. Hugh of Poitiers (died 930) so it was built to accommodate pilgrims.

South View
View from south.

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Next to the courtyard in the photo above was a gate, behind which was this very friendly black dog who wanted to sniff us.

David on Cow Trail
We had a good time wandering all around the farmland surrounding the church, including a squishy walk through a cow pasture (squishy with mud - we avoided the pies) to try to see the back side of it.

Sleepy Cow
Is this cute or what? I've never seen a cow do this before.

Northeast View
We weren't terribly successful because of a strong fence and lots of trees, but it was fun anyway.

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This farm dog kept us company during our adventure. She allowed us to pet her and was so very soft.

South Door Tympanum
Carving of a scary serpent in Hell, on the south door.

The main highlight of the church is the interior, with its creamy stone and intriguing carved capitals.

Nave Looking East Nave Arcade North Nave Arcade
These photos are sharper and nicer than most thanks to the tripod - we've resolved to not be so lazy, and use it more often.

Capital: Acrobat and Wyverns
On one capital, an acrobat bends over backwards while snakes or wyverns (serpent monsters with two front feet) gnaw at him from either side.

Capital: Battle of the Beard-Pullers
It's not only girls who pull hair in fights, apparently.

Crypt
The crypt is a pleasingly cold and dark place, and it's even older than the church - 900s AD. This is where St. Hugh was buried, but Protestants destroyed his grave in the 1600s.

The Best of the Rest

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General interior of Iguerande Church (11th century)

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Cyclops playing a pan-flute on a capital at Iguerande

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Llama at Iguerande

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Charlieu Priory (12th century). All that remains is the big porch, seen here. In the town of Charlieu we hit a grocery store and got some delicious sandwich makings - chewy baguette with spreadable cheese and ham for David and cubed cheese and strawberry jam for me. We ate out of our trunk in the sunny parking lot near the priory. Good times.

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Saint-Julien-de-Jonzy. A small, pretty church on the edge of the village, with a beautiful view over the countryside below. Only the tower and porch below it are Romanesque; the rest was rebuilt in the 19th century so wasn't very interesting.

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Tympanum over the door at Saint-Julien-de-Jonzy. Jesus has lost some of his nose and looks alarmingly like Michael Jackson.

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Yawning kitty in Saint-Julien-de-Jonzy.

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When we arrived at Semur-en-Brionnais, there were crowds of nicely dressed people waiting outside the entrance and we though, "Aw, a wedding." But sadly, it turned out to be a funeral. The church bell began to toll as the coffin was put in a van, then driven slowly down the street with dozens of people walking behind it, the widow in front supported by her sons. It was horribly sad. The bell continued to ring until they were out of sight, and it made me think of the book I read in high school with the line, "Ask not for whom the bell tolls - it tolls for thee."

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On a happier note, while we waited for the funeral to finish we had a look at a very nice medieval castle.

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The church was very nice inside, with very tall vaults. It still smelled of incense from the funeral.

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And outside was a magnificent tympanum, with Christ in Majesty as usual up top but a very unusual scene below. It shows St. Hilary of Poitiers, to whom the church is dedicated, fighting the Arian heresy.

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On the far right is the death of a heretic who died "shamefully in a latrine", according to an ancient document. Here he is shown sitting on the latrine, his soul leaving through his mouth and caught by a waiting devil.

The next church was David's idea! He saw a picture of it in Semur-en-Brionnais and insisted on trying to find it. I probably wouldn't have bothered, and I would have been so wrong. St-Martin-la-Vallee was a lovely little chapel in the country, next to a grassy walking trail and a huge chateau that is still occupied.

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Inside it was run-down, peeling, damp and musty-smelling. In other words, fantastic. It had a nice timber roof and lots of old murals that are still being uncovered. They have thoughtfully provided a lamp to illuminate the murals, which is a rare gift.

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So it was quite a busy day we had, but a really nice one!