Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Templar Church

During Patrimoine Weekend (the third weekend in September each year) I try to visit historic sites which are normally not open to the public. This year both places I wanted to see were in the tiny village of Lacapelle-Livron in the Tarn-et-Garonne. The 13th century Templar Commanderie here is privately owned, but this year the church was open for visitors. The exact date the Commanderie was built isn't known, but we do know the lands were given to the Templars in 1225. By 1268 records show that 16 men lived there...the Commander as well as knights, priests and servants.
The fortified Templar church

The inside of the church was a bit disappointing as there is really nothing left to indicate its Templar origins. As you can see on the right side of this photo (greenish columns), there is a problem with damp mold. Maybe a leaky roof?

The domed ceiling vault is beautifully constructed of overlapping stones.
The church walls, arches and simply carved columns are also quite lovely.

As I was searching the internet for information about the Commanderie, I ran across this YouTube video. The music is a bit annoying and the beginning and end are a little corny, but it does give you a nice tour of the church and also takes you into the some of the privately owned parts of the building. There are also stunning views of the Bonnette Valley below the village.

The last two minutes show the second stop of my visit to Lacapelle-Livron, the Notre Dame des Graces chapel. I'll blog more about that in my next post.

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