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Loire Valley churches - St. Ours' Loches

 

 

Saint Oars church in Loches
 

The 11th/12th century church of Saint Ours' commanding position overlooking the medieval town of Loches means that its four towers are visible from almost any location within the town. This location, within the citadel walls, has been the home to a place of worship since the 5th century but it was not until the 6th when St.Ours founded a monastery here that the town slowly began to grow around it.

 

banstand in gardens at Loches

 

 

The church now dedicated to him (only since the early 19th century - used to be the 'Church of our Lady) keeps his memory alive.

 

 

Where the actual entrance to the church is a bit uninspiring, once you step under the porch you are met with a very ornate portal -probably the main entrance before the porch was built in the 12th century,that, even with the damage from the revolution still apparent, is still quite something.

 

 

It is only once you are inside that you see the effect of the two central towers - added in the 12 century to replace the roof over the nave which had been destroyed by fire. An unusual and rare way to reinstate a roof and opinions are divided as to whether the twin hollow octagonal pyramids work architecturally or not.

 

 

under octagonal tower in St. Oars Loches

 

View looking up at one of the hollow octagonal towers ('Dubes').

 

inside St Oars church in Loches

 

The nave and alter are impressive even without their strange ceiling and once inside it is difficult not to wander around with your head up taking in the views.

 

 

 

 

St Ours collegial church is the resting place of Agnès Sorel (1422-50) the first official mistress to a French king - Charles VII (she was also lady-in-waiting to his wife, the queen ).Agnes had been very generous to the church during her lifetime with her favourite 'chapel of Madeleine' being a major benefactor.

 

 

The church organ.

 

 

You have to go back outside to appreciate the architectural history of the building with its contrasting end towers and central octagonal ones...

 

St.Oars church in Loches rear view

 

...and you really have to get down below the walls to see its Romanesque origins - quite the architectural mélange.


 

 

If you visit Loches it is well worth exploring the church of Saint Oars.

 

 

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Vacation Rentals

 

Choose a village house to rent in the Loire Valley direct from the owners.

 

 

 

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