Whether you are visiting the village of Les Vigneaux and its beautiful church, Vallouise with its chapel and church, Pelvoux or Ailefroide in the summer, you will appreciate the variety of these lovely little places where heritage tells the tale of the valley.
Why not read Camille’s blog here, where you’ll get a feel for the atmosphere in Vallouise during the summer.
The Saint-Pierre and Saint-Paul chapel in Ailefroide probably dates back to the start of the 18th century and chances are it is one of the oldest buildings.
A project to renovate the chapel is in progress.
Tel: + 33 (0)4 92 23 31 07
SAINT LAURENT CHURCH
Beautiful 14th and 15th century church with sundials.
Classified as a historic monument it has a beautiful Romanesque Lombard-style steeple with a wonderful stone porch raised on stone columns with carved capitals (leaves and heads).
The doors are closed by a forged iron lock decorated with a chimera’s head. Between the vault and the arch, there are frescoes representing the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary dating from the 16th century. On the southern wall, frescoes on the theme of the seven sins and their punishments have been painted.
Inside (ask for the keys at the village hall), there is a representation of the Divine Presence, Isaiah, Christ in Majesty, Tetramorph and Coronation of the Virgin.
Two sundials created in 1750 overlook the village from the south and west side of the steeple. They were partially restored in 1989 by Atelier Tournesol. The same year, the association created a modern dial commemorating the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution, on the wall of the former vicarage.
Place de l’Église
05120 Les Vigneaux
Tel: + 33 (0)4 92 23 36 12
SAINT ETIENNE CHURCH
A beautiful 15th-century church with frescoes, a baptistery and a Pietà, open all year.
The Saint Etienne Church is a majestic, imposing church in the centre of the village and is a classified historic monument.
The steeple measures 45 metres and the final octagonal stone spire has pyramidion corners. The materials used are local rich-coloured stones. The porch at the entrance is made of pink marble from Guillestre. The door has sculpted panels and has a lock with a bolt in the form of a chimera head. On the pediment of the door, there are frescoes representing the Epiphany, Adoration of the Magi and Christ Child.
Inside it is a simple building with a basilica floor plan and three naves. The main nave has a slightly pointed barrel vault arch supported by double arches. The golden wood altarpiece dates from the middle of the 16th century.
Tel: + 33 (0)4 92 23 36 12
Head to the centre of the village of Vallouise and go to the square.
There are many other churches to visit in the Pays des Écrins:
- Saint-Apollinaire Church in L’Argentière-La-Bessée
- Saint Laurent Church in La Roche de Rame
- Saint Martin Church in Saint-Martin-de-Queyrières
- Sainte Marthe Church in Puy Saint Vincent
- 14th-century church in Champcella
There are also several chapels.
- Saint Jean Chapel in L’Argentière-La-Bessée
- Saint Vincent and Notre-Dame de Narreyroux Chapels in Puy Saint Vincent
- The Penitents Chapel in Pelvoux
- Saint Jacques Chapel, Prelles and Saint Hippolyte Chapel, in Bouchier, Saint-Martin-de-Queyrières
- Saint-Michel and Saint-Roch chapels in La Roche de Rame
- Saint Laurent Chapel, Rame in Champcella
This chapel was once for the Brotherhood of Penitents. The façades are decorated with lovely frescoes dating back to the 18th century.
It is now used as a temporary exhibition venue during the summer.
ADDRESSQuartier Ville 05340 VALLOUISE-PELVOUX Tel: + 33 (0)4 92 23 36 12
Saint Laurent Church – Les Vigneaux
The Saint Laurent Church is of great interest in terms of heritage. The polygonal steeple is remarkable, and its elegance is derived from the perfect lines, the porch with marble columns and especially the superb external wall paintings representing the sins and their punishment.
The Saint Laurent Church was built in the 15th century and partially decorated in the 16th century. It is in the shape of a parallelogram.
The Lombard-style bell tower is at the opposite end to the choir. There are two level with arched openings (1st level: double arches, 2nd level: triple openings). It has an octagonal spire with pyramidion corners and has openings on each side across two levels.
The entrance is to the right of the nave. It is decorated based on the Embrun Cathedral model. It has a porch with two columns and sculpted capitals (leaves and heads), ribbed vaulting and pointed arches.
The arched doorway has three columns. Between the vault and the arches, a deteriorated fresco from the middle of the 16th century depicts the Annunciation. We can distinguish Archangel Gabriel and the Virgin on either side of a vase full of lilies. The door leaves close by means of a lock and a flat bolt ending with a chimera’s head.
There is a baptismal font opposite the doorway.
On the southern wall there are paintings of the seven cardinal sins (pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth) and their punishments, probably painted in the last quarter of the 15th century.
The church is made up of a nave and a pointed barrel vault that is reinforced by transverse arches. It has four spans.
The choir has a flat, slightly unaligned chevet with ribbed vaulting.
The wall decorations are on the vaults and on the wall of the choir. We can see representations of the Divine Presence, Isaiah, Christ in Majesty, the Tetramorph (the four evangelists: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) and the Coronation of the Virgin. Five of the disciples and their symbols are identifiable: Peter (key and book), Andrew (X cross), John (cup), James (hat and pilgrim’s staff) and Thomas (girdle).
The baptismal fonts are at the end of the church.