Day Four: Poitiers

Disclaimer: The editing of this blog will not take place until I return home from France.

After failing at breaking into the abandoned castle, Raven and I set out for Poitiers.  I intended for us to eat and visit the church where Henry and Eleanor got married but a surprise awaited us!

I must stress the obscene amount of bakeries (boulangeries) in France. It seems that every small town has two or even three of them. They open at dawn and tempt me all days long. I cannot imagine the horror the French people would have at the sight of mass-produced plain bread.  I am now offended by the thought of eating such a thing.  In addition to copious amounts of boulangeries, there are chocolate shops EVERYWHERE! Poitiers turned out to be no exception.

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Raven and I grabbed a sandwich at a cafe and enjoyed the warm sun.  The church where Henry and Eleanor married was across the street. I had expected the entire visit take less than 40 minutes before we were on our way.

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I was wrong.  It turns out that there were TWO medieval churches and a church dating back to the 300’s in the ares. Off we went!

Baptisere St. Jean was built in 360 on top of some Roman ruins from 100 year prior.  It was partially destroyed by the Visigoths in the 400’s and restored by Clovis starting in 507. Hopefully my students will recall that Clovis was a Frankish king who set up his own empire within the Roman Empire, causing some “concern” in Rome. This building is considered to be the OLDEST CHRISTIAN CHURCH IN WESTERN EUROPE.

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Once inside the church, I was in awe of the murals on the walls, painted in the 1100’s through the 1300’s.  After the French Revolution, the church was dismantled and it was sold to an individual who used it as a warehouse. A WAREHOUSE!

Within the walls, there was an old alter as well as many coffins used by Visigoths, Romans, and Franks. You can clearly see the Celtic knot work on many of them. I was saddened to see the tiny box of a child, but also thought it was touching to see the double burial coffins made for a couple.

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Anyone who knows me personally, knows I have no balance and am a clumsy person. Enjoy this video by CLICKING HERE to see the interior of the church and laugh at me tripping over a coffin.

The other two churches only date to the 1100’s and they are Notre-Dame-la-Grande and the St. Pierre Cathedral.

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A side-by-side comparison of the two churches.

If you would like to hear the organ playing in Notre Dame, CLICK HERE

Next post: Sleeping in a castle.

 

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