Friday, May 18, 2012

Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei

This small village is said to be one of the most beautiful villages of France.  It’s about an hour from here, so we decided to go see it for ourselves.

It had been rainy in the morning, but as we pulled into Saint Céneri we saw people putting down their umbrellas. The weather stayed dry while we were there.

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This village was visited in 1855 by artist Jean-Baptiste Corot, who is said to have fallen in love with it. More artists followed him and the village has attracted artists ever since. As can be seen from the banner above the street this month will see another meeting of artists here.

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This view of the stone bridge over the Sarthe is a popular one with artists and photographers.

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Here is the church in the village.

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On the wall at the back of the church we found this plaque.

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Roughly translated it says: “In 898 Charles III, (the Simple) sent his army to resist the Normans who protested against his reign. The soldiers, based not far from St. Céneri, conducted themselves disrespectfully around the church and the tomb of it’s founder. Some bees attacked those who performed this sacrilege. Frightened and not knowing where to flee, they ran over the edge of the cliff and fell to their deaths. Since that time bees have continued to protect the church.”

We saw bees coming and going from that hole next to the plaque.

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The nave of the church contains some modern metal sculptures representing the stations of the cross.

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The walls of the choir are covered in frescoes, which originally date to the 12th to 14th centuries, but were restored in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. 

Next we walked to a small chapel situated in the bend of the river.

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The door to this chapel is quite small—about 6 feet high.

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Looking back toward the church in the village.

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A pathway along the river took us back to the village.

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We stopped in a restaurant for a cup of tea and delicious Tarte Tatin, which I would describe as “apple upside-down cake.”  It was served with crème fraiche.

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Then we walked down to the stone bridge.

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And here are a couple more picturesque buildings in the town.

attic-st-cereri 064_18_1 On our way home we stopped at the church where St. Fraimbault is said to be buried at St. Fraimbault-de-Lassay, and then visited the castle of Lassay-les-Châteaux. But I already have lots of photos in this post, so I’ll save those for another day.

4 comments:

Heidi said...

This is a beautiful village!

Cécile said...

It really is, Heidi. We can take you there when you come over.

Thanks for the comment.

Rose - The Center of My Self said...

What an utterly charming village, Ceci! And the surrounding areas, too. I feel like I've been transported back to medieval times. Beautiful photos!

Normandy Thenandnow said...

Isn't this village a treasure? We enjoyed your photos, thank you.
We only found St-Ceneri-le-Gerai because of a very old postcard of the chapel, but are very glad we did.
The postcard and more here http://www.normandythenandnow.com/the-many-legends-of-saint-ceneri-le-gerei