Notre-Dame de Rivière
One of our favourite churches here in the Loire
Valley is the delightful, 'L'église Notre-Dame de Rivière' in
the village of the same name 10 minutes south east of town of
The entrance to the church is now
hidden away within a group of residential buildings - early
planning laws obviously did not consider this religious gem
worthy of being exposed in all its glory - or were these perhaps
part of a larger monastical complex? In any case its humble
entrance only adds to the effect it has on you as you pass under
Inside the porch itself there is
a restored12th century wall painting featuring the 'resurrection
of Lazarus' that might easily be missed.
Once inside the actual church you
cannot fail to be impressed by its somewhat flamboyant
decoration.The information board at the entrance to the church
tells us that the painting was done by 'Count Galembert in 1864'
- a count would surely have it done for him
- anyway it is how,in the 19th century they imagined a medieval
church might have looked.
The church has a rather unusual raised
choir, reached by two sets of stairs...
...once up there your eyes are drawn to the
elaborate paintwork of the ceilings, columns and capitals
There are two side chapels within the choir,
one of which is dedicated to the Virgin Mary...
who has apparently been worshipped from this
site from as early as the 3rd century.
...and another dedicated to Christ
The choir sits over a crypt which
is divided into three bays, it contains in a side chapel, the
tomb of the 'Seigneur de Basché' family (church benefactors)
from the 16th century plus a charming little central chapel.
down the nave with its ornately decorated vaulted ceiling you
are presented with a large painting of the 'last supper' which
covers the whole of the wall above the entrance
The church also has other interesting features
such as its pulpit and baptismal font...among other things.
The artwork is not exclusive to
the walls and ceilings with the floor also being covered in
carvings and stud work...much of which is covered by the church
pews...perhaps the congregation only had the option of standing
in the past.
Where's Joan?...you probably noticed her earlier
on one of the support columns for the tower.
To get any kind of views of the
exterior of the church you have to somewhat invade the privacy
of the neighbouring gardens which now envelop it.
The rear of the church now sits in the garden
of a rather smart looking gite complex.
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You will see a sign on you right to the
church off the D749 along Rue Des Lavandieres