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Eglise Sainte-Marie
Historic site and monument

Eglise Sainte-Marie

Eglise Sainte-Marie
26300 Jaillans

The church of Sainte-Marie, listed as a Monument Historique, stands in the heart of the village. A former Benedictine priory, it was a dependency of the Montmajour abbey.

Dating back to the 12th century, when it encompassed a Benedictine priory belonging to the Abbey of Montmajour, the parish church of Jaillans, listed as a Historic Monument, lies at the heart of a remarkably well-developed village. It has preserved some important Romanesque features, making it one of the most interesting churches in the region.

The portal, rebuilt in the last century, opens onto a simple nave of four bays, punctuated by engaged columns bearing historiated capitals or capitals with plant motifs. It is covered by a slightly broken barrel vault. The first bay is covered by a cross-vaulted gallery, probably built shortly after the nave. The last two bays were flanked in the 17th century by side chapels.

In its original state, the Romanesque church must also have had a transept, which has been removed by modern restoration work, but whose tears can still be seen on the outer wall of the chevet. The transept, vaulted with a remarkable oblong cupola on trumpets, remains intact. Beyond the crossing, the cross-vaulted apse is pierced by three splayed windows. On the outside, the bell tower has three levels of uneven height, regularly dressed with tufa rubble. Blind arches on the first level are followed by round-headed windows, which may reflect a more recent construction campaign.

In terms of decoration, the church has preserved a number of remarkable capitals, though their interpretation remains difficult. The most interesting, clearly visible from the gallery, are borne by the columns delimiting the first two bays. To the north is the theme of Daniel in the lion's den, accompanied by an inscription recalling this Old Testament episode. On the opposite side, a capital with a plant motif repeats the words of the evangelist John: "Ego sum via veritas et vita" (I am the way, the truth and the life).

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Updated on 03/07/2023
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