30 July 2008

An unusual church in Chârost

Chârost is a very old village located about 15 miles west of Bourges in the Berry. It's more than an hour's drive from Saint-Aignan. CHM and I went there on our way back from Bourges in mid-June.

The church in Chârost near Bourges

The guide books say there is a château, or at least the ruins of one, in Chârost, but it is almost completely hidden behind walls and trees. We got just a glimpse of it. We stopped and looked around the church grounds. We even went inside the church — which meant going to get the key at the Mairie, the village hall, next door — but about half of it was closed off because it's being restored.

Chârost — no, it is not brick.

The town itself didn't look very prosperous, and it was nearly deserted at 5:00 p.m. on a weekday. It's not far from Bourges, but much closer to Issoudun. The Reuilly and Quincy (AOC Sauvignon Blanc) wine areas are to the north.

The side portal of the church and a close-up

This part of the old Berry province used to be a mining center. There's a lot of iron ore in the local rock. The church in Chârost is built of limestone that contains a good amount of that ore, and the church walls look as if they are rusting. I guess they are.

L'Eglise St-Michel in Chârost

The Eglise St-Michel is an abbey church in Romanesque style dating back to the 12th century. I want to go back one day to see the part of the church that was closed off to visitors.


  1. It's such an imposing church. Also historical. Probably the reasons for renovations. I'm just wondering if it has a congregation. So many Catholic churches are closing in Quebec, even sold for other purposes. I'm just curious if those beautiful centuries-old churches are deserted in France, except by tourists.

  2. Ah! Ken...I have to tell you that your recipe, "Zucchini you can count on." (Aug.04-07) turned out perfect. Je vais servir ces barquettes de courgettes à tous mes amis. It's so easy to do with your step-by-step direction and photos. I felt you were right here encouraging me. Merci!

  3. Claudia, a lot of village churches no longer have weekly services. Some priests are now "circuit-riders" — they travel from village to village, leading services once a month here and once a month there.

    Our friends who just returned to California tell me their village has a weekly service but often without a priest. It's the people in the congregation who get together every Sunday monring, on their own.

    Good for the courgettes! I hope they are delicious.

  4. This is a post I missed and I'm so sorry I missed it. We actually skipped Charôst as my brother had been to school at Saint-Georges sur Arnon, and obviously there was no hospital in Charôst and my mother had to go to Issoudun. That church is really imposing. Next time I visit with Annik, --or you ;) -- I won't miss it!


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