Saturday, June 25, 2011

11 La Pointe de la Torche, Pays Bigouden, Finistère, Brittany, France

La Torche is a little rocky peninsula in the Bay of Audierne, southwest Finistère.
There is evidence that this site was occupied since Mesolithic times.

The remains of the chambered dolmen

The impressive rock at the end of the peninsula

Sunday, June 19, 2011

10 A fairy cave, Le Trou des Fées, Virton, Belgium

Fairies are weird creatures: they’re never there when you need them. Well, after all, they only exist when you believe in them.
The word fairy seems to come from the old French word faerie, derived ultimately from the Latin word fata, a guardian or tutelary spirit.
This little cave is a perfect hiding place for them.
It has a lot of carvings on it, many made by tourists, but some are really old.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

9 The cemetery of Marville, Meuse, France

The cemetary of Marville is very remarkable, not only because of its medieval tombstones, but also because of its well preserved ossuary.
The oldest graves date from 1345, but the site is much older. The little church on the cemetery was built in the 12th century, replacing an older sanctuary.
Since the cemetery is located on top of a hill, it could well have been a Celtic religious place.

The priest’s house

Once we were like you, once you will be like us

Thousands of skulls and bones

The interior of the old church

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

8 The dolmen of Les Pierres Plates, Locmariaquer peninsula, Morbihan, France

This is one of the relatively rare angled dolmens. It was dated around 3000 BC.

This old postcard shows that the menhir in front is probably a fallen capstone

Seen from above: the reason why the dolmen is called The Flat Stones.

The carvings inside. Many authors have tried to interpret these carvings, without convincing results so far.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

7 The Black Madonna of Walcourt, Province de Namur, Belgium

The Madonna of Walcourt, dating from the late 10th century, is one of the oldest European Madonna statues. According to tradition, the statue was carved by Saint Materne, a disciple of the apostle Peter.
In the early Middle Ages, Saint Materne, then bishop of Tongeren, christianized the region. He ended up in the village of Walcourt. After converting the villagers, he built a sanctuary on a hilltop (probably replacing a pagan one), where he placed a self made wooden statue of Mary.
When during the 13th century a fire destroyed the church and most of the village, the statue escaped by flying over the flames and hiding in a tree. The locals were unable to move the statue.  In desperation, they called on the help of their lord, Duke Thiery of Rochefort. When he approached the tree, his horse refused three times to go further. The Duke dismounted and continued on foot. He promised the Madonna to rebuild her church, and to the surprise of the spectators, the Madonna threw herself into the arms of the Duke ... 

The face without the mask. The Madonna as she is now is wearing a silver mask. It dates from after the fire in the 13th century.


Floor patterns in the basilica


Enigmatic figure in the outside wall

In a wide circle around the town, little field chapels can be found, some of them made by farmers.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

6 LA CHAPELLE DE SAINT-VIO, Tréguennec, Finistère, Brittany

The chapel with the nearby menhir.
It is said that the hemispherical phallic menhir can cure infertility. Women used to rub their bellies against it…

Inside the chapel

1 chapel 2 menhir 3 spring

The nearby beach