On the Tuesday after we arrived in the Vendée, we took a drive into the Marais poitevin, a long-settled and formerly marshy area with many canals and many villages with old churches. This one is in the village of Benet (pop. 4,000), which is now a a suburb of the small city of Niort (pop. 60,000) just 10 or 11 kilometers to the east.
The church in Benet was built in the 12th century. It was a Romanesque church but it seems that much of the building collapsed in the 13th century. The only part of the 12th century building remaining is the fronton (façade), including the main portal and the detail you see in these photos.
The rest of the church as it stands today was built in the 14th century and is Gothic in style. For real connoisseurs, it's much less interesting than the older fronton. In the image above, that's a dragon that the headless human figure is standing on. Back in October, when we were staying in a gîte rural about 15 miles west of Benet, I posted a couple of photos I took around and in the church, but I never posted these.
I imagine that all these nonetheless impressive features and sculptures inside the Benet church are much less ancient than the building itself. Still...
Meanwhile, back here in Saint-Aignan, we've had a couple of fairly sunny days —especially the mornings — this week. However, the weather forecast for today says we should expect rain and even snow, or "a wintry mix" as we call such precipitation in the U.S.
It's supposed to rain all weekend, actually, or at least be cloudy with showers. Ah, winter in northern France! We just have to deal with it. Some expats I've known just decamp back to their country of origin at this time of year. That would be just too much trouble, expense, and dislocation for us. We just have to entertain ourselves as best we can indoors (plus take damp or frosty walks with the dog).