in Saintonge

Click for French versionBack to french

The SAINTONGE is the part of the Charente-Maritime located between the Charente river and the Gironde and which extends to the ANGOUMOIS. A very famous region known for its Romanesque churches of the XII th, its military architecture of XVII and XVIII , its Gallo-Roman sites, its seafoods, oysters , wines, pineau, cognac and its sunny spring summer and fall.

_ Some browsers offer a more comfortable screen while pressing on the F11 key , try it!_

Click on this for more info found on the web.

The capitals talks to you ! Or at least they try, but I'm sorry let's improve your French !

Our churches although in very small villages are beautiful and require more than one rapid glance. You, who pass by there, take your time, provide with field-glasses for better appreciating the splendid chevet such as the ones of : Mornac, Vaud, Rioux, Rétaud or Échillais. Climb at sun-set some West-Front such as : Corme-écluse, Thaims , the Abbaye-aux-Dames , Le Douhet or Nieul-les-Saintes. Ask the key near the Town-hall or a villager if you are locked up outside and discover all these " chefs d oeuvre ". Open your eyes, so you will discover the bénédictines advertising of the centuries XI and XII th and in order to help you for a better understanding them, we humbly tried to give them again the sens that they deserved originally. Unfortunately I am not enough familiar with the Shakespeare language and lazy but you too! so improve your French with this opportunity!

Try the F11 key for increasing your screen size

Glossary of symbols as an help for a better understanding of the capitals and modillions centuries XI & XII th


January 2006

About the ACROBATS-or-contortionists, and others that we see on the modillions of our Romanesque churches

Why  are they turned upside down !

Romanesque art:

AnnepontANNEPONT, the church stends in a old and typical churchyard

is worth a visit !

Annepont Description & tourism in trench

AVY near PONS, the archivolt of which shows men with twin and triple beards and extraneous hair dressed and an apsidal chapel with a fresco from XIV th

is worth a visit !

Description & tourism in trench

March 2008

L'église romane de BEURLAYBEURLAY, 

Description & tourism in trench

April 2010


is worth a visit !

Description & tourism in trench

November 2009

Blanzac les MATHAThe church of BLANZAC les MATHA , four piles and a " stone story "   A wonderful owl !

Avril 2007

Description & tourism in trench

Champagne le portail nordThe church of  CHAMPAGNE 

Dec 2007

Description & tourism in trench

The Church of COLOMBIERS ,with the famous capital : "The enigmatic wooden leg"

lies in the SEUGNE river valley , the " saint Maclou " church offers a bell-tower with rounded corner-stones and a wonderful chevet XII th with interesting modillons. Inside one of the most famous decorated capitals with a strange wooden-leg fellow which is a pure advertising still valid when applying to health by nowadays...

Description & tourism in trench

March 2008

Outside the Church of CORME-ÉCLUSE , with on the west-front nine capitals illustrating the change in mind about the women that the clerks wanted to improve..

Achieved before 1200, one of the rare church without awful extra counter fort, the church offers a pretty west-front and a rich chevet. Don't forget your field-glasses !

Inside the Church of CORME-ÉCLUSE , it's another kingdom: the devil is everywhere ! very un-usual !

what happens justifying such a dissolving view !?

Description & tourism in trench

March 2008

The Church of CORME-ROYAL with the finest example of the " Sermon Saintongeais " : the struggle between Virtues and Vices and a scene with the foolish virgins with their empty oil-lamps while the wises have the doors of the paradise open...That's a part of the " Sermon Saintongeais "

Its two storeys west-front is divided vertically into three sections and decorated with arcading. The decoration takes place on the curves of the arcading, the cornices and the horizontal string-courses representing the " Sermon Saintongeais " Inside the south-wall is XII th and shows a splendid colossal capital with a lot of small very interesting ones.

Description & tourism in trench

June 2008

The church of ÉCHILLAIS offers a wonderful west-front! with the famous " Great Ghoul ".

on the left of the portal. Around the portal two blind arcades topped by an upper row of nine arcades with raised arches decorated with foliated scrolls. The chevet is also interesting showing some wheels .

Description & tourism in trench

March 2008

The church of ÉCURAT although its not a priory shows some solar dials!

The parochial church is close to " TAILLEBOURG " where the king Henri the third of England, in 1242 was defeated by the king of France Louis the IX, said " Saint Louis " who came there with his troupe for a " TE DEUM " the day after the battle. A few miles away remains still a part of the bridge where the battle took place at St James .

Description & tourism in trench

FENIOUXThe church and the lantern of the deceases of FENIOUX

The church has a 5 arches portal decorated with figures depicting typical themes of the SAINTONGE such as a wonderful ZODIAC  (described separately but in French ) the battle of VERTUS and VICES, angels around the Lamb, and the famous parable of the wise and foolish Virgins. Above the portal are in a gallery the statues of prophets and Apostles around the Christ in "majesty". On the north wall is another portal with three decorated arches . On the south wall is the most beautiful  "claustra" : a carolingien screen .  The bell tower is dated end of XII and has two lanterns one above the other. A few yards at the west is the finest lantern of the deceased  consisting of eleven colums with capitals on which is settled the lantern with its 13 short colums topped by a pyramidal-shaped roof of stones. A light was placed inside the lantern  which was in this times in the middle of the cemetery.


A slide-show on FENIOUX (optimized for 1440x900 screens)

The album  about FENIOUX (optimized for 1024x768 screens)

Description & tourism in trench

The FONDOUCE Abbey Benedictine abbey founded in 1111 endowed by Eleanor of Aquitaine !

The restoration first concerned the lower chapel preserved in it enterity a pure and sober Roman style then the capitulary hall dating from the XIII th century and heavily decorated in a early Gothic style.


Description & tourism in trench

The site

The church of GEAYThe church of GEAY  cistercian art 100% century XII 

Description & tourism in trench

LA CLISSEThe  charming church of LA CLISSE , with  its capitals showing big snakes and a naked woman, obviously sexuality control is the drawing force

Perhaps due to the fact that the church is dedicated to Marie Madeleine ?

March 2008

Description & tourism in trench

La VALLÉEThe church of LA VALLÉE , which thema is also sex control

A nice tower bell , a typical front-end a few but nices capitals 

Description & tourism in trench

The church of LE DOUHET with the famous avaricious who is rather a bishop not godly but very lust !

A " ballet " above the portal has protected the wonderful sculptures of the portal. A woman hangs the hair of a man close to a Christ whose legs shows that He does not give His approval !...

Description & tourism in trench

March 2008

LE MUNGThe church of LE MUNG & the ancient cimetery

September 2009

The church of MARIGNAC strange and unique due to several reasons: its trefoil design probably unique in SAINTONGE, its chevet with three abses showing well preserved sculptures, its moresque arches, its heavy ornamental sculptures in the choir


Description & tourism in trench

The church of MEURSAC shows the Moon on a capital the star that disappears in the darkness and spring-up three days later...

It's new portal improves the beauty of the front-end . It has been fortified, contains a primitive crypt and inside giant pillars with three wonderful capitals...

Description & tourism in trench

The Church of MORNAC-sur-Seudre has enigmatic volutes But what a smart village !

Narrow streets, an harbor with old sail-boats, a channel lined by oyster farmer's sheds. MORNAC was a fortified town . Remains the paroquial church with its charming chevet. A picturesque site with a lot of artists living there

Another site

Description & tourism in trench

The Church of NIEUL-les-SAINTES , shows above the portal a lively rural dance. But inside four capitals and among them my favorite one the  conversion or new birth.!

Four fine capitals not heavily charged  ! Unique !..

Description & tourism in trench


PERIGNACThe Church of PERIGNAC , transition between century XII & XIII

Description & tourism in trench

Nov 2009

the portal upon the road toward BORDEAUXThe pilgrim's Hospice of PONS , a stopover on the road to  Santiago de COMPOSTELLA

Two portals from the century XII th are facing one the other on the street

Description & tourism in trench

The Church of RÉTAUD with its sister-church RIOUX, have reached the limit of excess in ornamental magnificence . The role of decoration devoted to architecture has been forgotten, there is no rest to the eye. Just beauty and only beauty with harmony but extravagance. The pentagonal chevet offers very high quality modillons carved with demonious heads

Both are the most attractive Romanesque churches of Saintonge !

Description & tourism in trench

The Church of RIOUX ,like its twin sister RETAUD offers such prolixity in decoration that the message in only : done for the glory of supposed to be God. A jewel of sculptures

Real delight to the eye !

Description & tourism in trench

The 'Abbey-aux-Dames' in SAINTES

a pine cone belfry and a magnificent carved west-front and huge cupolas. The church has suffered by fire, has been used as barracks and stable, even jail...what a new life !

Description & tourism in english

The saint Eutrope crypt in SAINTES

It is on the list of the Unesco Mondial  Heritage.

Mars 2006

The saint Eutrope upper church in SAINTES

Consecrated in 1096 by the pope URBAIN the 2d while the crypt was simultaneously consecrated by the Saintes's bishop. The pillar capitals of which were examples for most local churches with animals combine with vegetation.

November 2006

touristic road mapsTourism

Descriptif par Charles CONNOUË (in French)


A propos des TRIFRONS, d'ou viennent-ils? Un pape TRIFRONS à ROMEGOUX?

Nov 2006/Nov 2009


The church of Saint FORT-sur-GIRONDE , How many horses on the voussoirs A very nice front-end

Fort as FORTUNAT. Do you know the group " VENANCE FORTUNAT " specialized in the music of year 1000 and from " l'école de CHARTRES "

Description & tourism in trench

Saint-GemmeThe priory of Sainte-Gemme,a rare "narthex" with sculptures very well preserved while the front-end had been restaured nearly completely and some ruins of the cloister

The Church of Saint GEORGES-des-COTEAUX shows yourself as a Griffin !

Do you speak griffin ?..let's try !

Description & tourism in trench

March 2008

The Church of Saint SORNIN what a lucky hit, a jewel in a jewel-box

The jewel-box are the marshes around the tower of BROUE nearby. The jewel is a fully restaured church offering both Romanesque architecture and XVII th century wall-paintings.

Another site for Saint Sornin

Another site for BROUE

Description & tourism in trench

The church of Saint SYMPHORIEN de BROUE , pilgrims station shows another struggle between Virtues and Vices!

Mai 2007

Description & tourism in trench

The four capitals of SAUJON discovered in 1912 and still with original colors !

Four wonderful sculptures placed now in the church, but not at 15 meters high, no! just in front of your eyes !

Description & tourism in trench

The church of TALMONT sur Gironde

July 2007

Description & tourism in trench


THEZACvoyageurThe church of  THEZAC and its bell-tower

August 2007

Description & tourism in trench

The Church of VAUX-sur-Mer , wears a sash made of a rope to reflect the assembly or community helping us to struggle the adversity, some modillons and capitals explain the role of this symbol One of the finest chevet

Ropes that withhold animals but the best is a capital for lovers: full of hearts one inside the other, linked by, and a couple of doves drinking in a cup representing the harmony in spiritual or matrimony sacrament...

Description & tourism in trench

The church of ARVERT 

Description & tourism in trench




LINKShundreds links about romanesque art


touristic road maps An old map but interactive screen-walls for your PC


A few minutes for loading a trial showing some photographs about  AULNAY de Saintonge 

The celtic music  comes from  radio celt and you listen to  "Loreena Mc Kennith"

a trial with CRUAS

My own EXCEL file relating the historic period arround the first millenium (in french sorry and focused on the Saintonge).

  who are we ? site


Technic: Alain Favraud _ Photos: Michel Rochat _ Presentation: Alain Deliquet who are we ?

  • AD

    Helpfull books

    In French but simple and practical with roman road riding itineraires:

    Itinéraires romans en Saintonge _Ed. Zodiaque (available in all important towm library)

    more : La sculpture romane en Saintonge _ Direction Jacques LACOSTE _ Edition Christian PIROT

    In English:

    Wonderfull CHARENTE-MARITIME by Christian Gensbeitel. Ed.Ouest-France

  • the french book tempting an approach of the sens of the romanesque early sculptures: "Les symboles de l'art roman"

  • updated april 2011
    Retour "images de Saintonge" Back" Pictures of Saintonge" Retour "Art roman en saintonge"
      To "Belle Saintonge"

    discover others heritages