Basilique Saint Eutrope, Saintes, 2017

The Basilique Saint Eutrope de Saintes sits atop the hill on the East side of the River Charente in France. Saint Eutrope de Saintes is one of two notable visits on the hill above the old Roman town and it is best to allow sufficient time to visit both on the same walk. We walked up the hill from the center of town, about a half hour walk, and walked back after touring both sites. It was a full and tiring afternoon.

As with many churches sections from different eras that sit adjacent to each other, layers of history was added to a site that likely began in prehistoric times. The view here shows a Romanesque portion of the church in front of a Gothic section which was completed later. Given the prominence of the site it is likely there was a Roman temple there originally.

The church was originally a part of a Priory built to provide a destination for pilgrims along the route to Santiago. The monks located the Priory there to house and feed the pilgrims and to provide them with the opportunity to see the relics of St Eutrope, one of the earliest Christian martyrs in France.

The crypt is one of the highlights of a visit to the Basilica. Elaborate and beautiful carvings abound in the space which soars in comparison to most other crypts one sees.
Carved black letter inscription at the top of one great column surrounds a monk-like carving.
Pre-Romanesque carvings
The original priory church has been modified in the years since the rest of the monastery was demolished.
The reliquary with relics of St. Eutrope in the nave of the church
The flamboyant gothic tower sits next to remains of the Romanesque church. The entry likely had a tower which was destroyed. The interior was likely exposed to the elements for many years.

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