The Ark of the Covenant shines in a discreet church of the Loire Valley, in France. It lays in the shape of a splendid Byzantine mosaic of the school of Ravenna.

Wealth of the Carolingian era, it brings its fame to the village of Germigny des Prés. This tiny place is located between Orléans and Gien, in the Loiret department of the Centre-Val de Loire region. The biblical representation adorns the vault of its small church apse, which was originally a Carolingian oratory.

 

 

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Place of worship on the estate of the villa which served then as a royal palace to King Charles II “The Bald” (Le Chauve)* of France, this oratory was richly decorated. Unfortunately, it was burned in the ninth century, during the Norman invasions. Then, rebuilt in church, it suffered several destructions throughout the centuries.

Only the representation of the Ark of the Covenant has been spared of its original ornaments.

So, if this Byzantine mosaic is unique in France, it is rather due to a stroke of luck. Because of its great value, it was restored between 1841 and 1856. Now, it is the pride of the Germignons, the inhabitants of the village.

A jewel not to be missed during a visit to the Loiret!

Find out more

Article about Germiny-des-Prés oratory (Wikipedia)

Article about Germiny-des-Prés oratory (Loiret Tourist Office website)

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