Archive for January 24th, 2019

January 24, 2019

Wonderful Orthez and St Pierre !

And continuing on the Pyrénées Atlantiques of my belle France , I take you to another off the beaten path for most visitors. This is the town of Orthez and to show the nice St Peter’s Church. I have written before in my blog on the town and briefly on the Church.

The Church of Saint-Pierre in Orthez, department 64 of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques, in the Nouvelle Aquitaine region. The Church is said to be built by the Viscount de Béarn. It is the testimony of the past greatness of Orthez. It dates from the 14-15C. Orthez was the capital of Béarn in the 12C following Morlaàs and before Pau. It was an important city at the crossroads of the route from Toulouse to Dax and on the Vicomtale road that led to the Pyrenees, a passage from the Gave de Pau.

Orthez

In rarity, there is not much documentation on the Church. There is no document to establish the conditions for the Church of the choir and the nave. The establishment of Orthez as the seat of the Viscounts of Béarn had to lead to the work of the Church of St. Peter in the 13C. They started with the construction of the chorus of modest proportion. Some historians believe that the work had to stop there at the death of Gaston VII of Béarn, in 1290, and that they did not resume until the death of Gaston Fébus, in 1391, when the city would have received a part of the treasure lying in the tower of Moncade.

Orthez

Orthez

Orthez

Some parts of the nave are ancient, probably, prior to the 14C. It appears that the supporting columns were placed in older masonry and their bases are not posterior to 1400 and can be traced back to the time of the construction of the balusters of the bedside. Comparison of the north and south walls show sensitive differences. Today’s blind openings of the north wall recall those made in the small chapel against the north arm of the transept and the first span of the nave. This north wall of the first span is oblique. This may suggest that it was necessary to connect the eastern parts of the Church to the already existing walls of the nave. The high parts of the north wall had to be redone when the current vaults were made. The key representing the old bridge with three spans seems to indicate that the vault was made before the 16C, when a fourth arch was added to the bridge.

Orthez

Orthez

Among the peculiarities of the Church of St Pierre are the absence of collateral and the highest vault of the Béarn with 18 meters at the dome. Inside ,it houses a sketch for the   panel of the Pantheon-the Martyrdom of Saint Denis which was offered by the Beaux-Arts Museum in 1924. Two wooden statues-one representing Ste. Anne, mother of Mary ,and grandmother of Jesus, and the other Saint James-also decorate the Church. In 1870, Aristide Cavaillon-Coll built an organ. The organ was restored in 1925 and in 1958. The original organ of Cavaillon-Coll was again restored in 1982.

Orthez

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Orthez on heritage

Tourist office of the heart of Bearn on heritage

This is an unique city with lot more to see off the beaten path and a great gateway to the Pyrénnées and Spain, we passed by it often over the years. Orthez is nice.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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January 24, 2019

Morlàas and Church of Ste Foy!

And continuing on showing off my belle France on the off the beaten path areas and to tell you that even with 90 millions visitors in 2018 , no 1 in the World; there are still areas that needs to be visit in France, a country of only 67m people!

Therefore, let me take you to see this nice jewel in Morlàas, the Church of Sainte Foy!

Morlaàs is in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department 64 of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. The Romanesque Church of Ste. Foy dates partially from the 11C. Its construction was begun during the reign of Centule V. The portal is the most interesting part, and proves the past importance of the city. The main items inside are a 19C monstrance, paintings, an altar and a commemorative plaque dated 1301. The Church is a stage on via Tolosane , Latin name of one of the four paths of France for the Pilgrimage of Santiago de Compostela; the southernmost path.

Morlàas

Morlàas

Morlàas

This is what I found to be remarkable ,however, there is plenty to see here and you can read my previous post on Morlàas in my blog. Needless to say, Morlaàs presents a set of houses and farms from the 15C to the 19C. The Château de Baratnau at Place-dit Grange de Baratnau; the Château de Sarrabat at Place de Sarrabat; St. Andre’s Church, rue Bourg-Neuf. The Cloister of the Benedictine priory of St. Faith ; Saint John Hospital Commandery of Jerusalem ; Convent of Jacobins now demolished but you can see five capitals of marble columns Rue Molaàs-Vielle; the Convent of Cordeliers etc.

The Church of Sainte Foy  has a choir, where you will be able to admire Romanesque capitals including the desnacking of Sainte-Foy and the famous “Piton de Jaca”, motif found on the road to Santiago de Compostela. In the Chapel of Blessed Bernard are four paintings of the history of this Morlanais in the 13C, who died in an ecstatic adoration. The most remarkable element of this building remains its Romanesque portal, with a carved eardrum of the Languedoc type. It shows a Christ in majesty surrounded by evangelists John and Matthew and around the friezes of vegetable and animal decor, figures of Atlanteans and finally the representation of the 24 old men of the Apocalypse. The statues on the columns in the body of the portal are those of the Apostles. Burned in 1569 during the wars of religion, this portal was restored on the impulse of the Viollet-le-Duc, and the restoration was carried out from 1863 to 1903.

Morlàas

Morlàas

Morlàas

Morlàas

Some webpages to see this marvel and others in picturesque Morlàas are

City of Morlàas on heritage

Tourist office of Morlàas on heritage

Tourist office of Pyrénées-Atlantiques on the Church of Ste Foy

Hope it helps you find a bit more of my belle France, or is a movable feast of France!  And of course Morlàas is nice unique off the beaten path!

And remember, happy travels ,good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

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