Paradoxplace South West France Photo and History Pages

Paradoxplace France Photo & History Pages

Links to French Cathedral and Abbey Photo Pages in Paradoxplace

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Église St-Hilaire, Poitiers

 

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The large Abbey Church of St-Hilaire (Bishop of Poitiers c350) has the tallest apse structure of the Poitiers' churches, which gives it a much more elegant and dimensionally balanced appearance than some of its thick pillared more vertically challenged siblings.  It also has some interesting soft coloured and delicate frescos and a few carved capitals.  Don't hold your breath about the architectural attractiveness (not) of the much restructured nave, the result of a tower collapse, church shrinking, and a west end rebuild.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The church is built into the side of a hill, so the apse inside is twice the height it appears from the outside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Single headed eagle decoration on an inner window arch of the apse.  The nasty King Richard of England presented a copy of the double headed eagle seal of his mother Alienor d'Aquitaine to the canons of Notre Dame la Grande in 1168.  This bird looks very similar, except there is no second head, which probably means in heraldic terms it is not similar at all!  Other "eagle brands" were the Swabian Kings (Frederick II used a double headed eagle) other Holy Roman Emperors, and an early King of Navarre (Sancho III, reigned 1000 - 1035).  There is also a bas relief of a double headed eagle in a facade column of St-Nicholas, Civray and at the other end of Europe on a tombstone in St Mary, Barnard Castle!  The English got in on the act when Richard, Earl of Cornwall (1209 - 1272 (63)), the second son of King John and brother of Richard III, became inter alia the King of the Romans and left eagle motifs on tiles at Hailes and Cleeve Abbeys and elsewhere.

 

 

 

The story of St-Martin of Tours, then still a Roman soldier, cutting his cloak in two outside the gates of Amiens, and giving half to a poor pilgrim. 

 

This is an oft repeated image in frescos, capitals and reliefs in churches across Europe - here are some more of them

 

 

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