The Romanesque churches of Auvergne and their magnificent sober style of architecture have been carefully preserved and are a real joy to visit during a weekend break or a longer holiday.
This is one of the finest basilicas in the Massif Central, and even more so when it is decked in snow. It is tucked away in the Vallée du Sioulot, not far from La Bourboule and Mont-Dore. Built from 12th century onwards, it has retained the purity of its Romanesque origins. Whereas other churches and basilicas were modified over the centuries to be made larger and their architecture altered, Notre-Dame d’Orcival, no doubt because it was built to be big enough to welcome all its parishioners, has not undergone any major transformations. Only the interior decorations have disappeared. A Maesta dating from around 1170 still presides over the choir. After this spiritual interlude, you can enjoy a walk along the many footpaths nearby.
Notre-Dame du Mont Cornadore at Saint-Nectaire
Also built in the 12th century, the church of Saint-Nectaire overlooks both the new town and the old town in all its splendour. It is well worth visiting for its 103 polychrome capitals and its treasure. Its capitals are visible proof of the way bible stories were taught through images. They are a sort of forerunner of the strip cartoon ! You can see the Passion of Christ, Moses saved form the River Nile and even the Apocalypse…