Posts Tagged ‘French chapels’

Since I’m unlikely to be visiting France this year, let’s take a look back at my visit last fall and a chapel not far from where my sister-in-law lives. It’s the Chapelle Sainte-Ursule (Esboz) which we drove past many days. But when we finally stopped, the door was locked.

I tried to look up information about it, but there didn’t seem to be any. The Encyclopaedia Britannica has this to say about St. Ursula:

Saint Ursula, (flourished 4th century, Rome; feast day October 21), legendary leader of 11 or 11,000 virgins reputedly martyred at Cologne, now in Germany, by the Huns, 4th-century nomadic invaders of southeastern Europe. The story is based on a 4th- or 5th-century inscription from St. Ursula’s Church, Cologne, stating that an ancient basilica had been restored on the site where some holy virgins were killed. Mentioned again in an 8th- or 9th-century sermon, the number of maidens increased to several thousand, reportedly martyred under the Roman emperor Maximian. In Jacobus de Voragine’s Legenda Aurea (1265–66; Golden Legend) Ursula is a British princess who went to Rome accompanied by 11,000 virgins and was killed with them by the Huns on the return from the pilgrimage. The discovery at Cologne in 1155 of an ancient Roman burial ground believed to contain these martyrs’ relics inspired additional legends. Ursula is the patron of the Order of St. Ursula (Ursulines), a congregation of nuns dedicated to educating girls. In the 1969 reform of the Roman Catholic church calendar her feast day was reduced to observances in certain localities.

Here’s a closer look at the door as well as the First World War monument remembering the children of Esboz-Brest “dead for France.” (The town hall building, which you can see at the link, looks similar to the chapel in style only larger.) You’ll find monuments to those who died in WWI and WWII all over France, a somber reminder of the past.

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Sometimes our drives in France begin with a destination in mind.  Others are voyages of discovery, as we load the dogs and head of in a general direction to see what we can find.  On this day, we headed for the hills.  Any time our drives include mountains/hills, my soul rejoices.  🙂

© janet m. webb

While the dogs ran around and had a drink, I drank in the view.

© janet m. webb

With everyone back inside, we were off, but not for long.  Shortly after, we spotted a discovery, a little chapel, and veered into the parking area for a look.  Dogs get to stay inside for this one.  Worshipers have to come from some distance, but what a view!

© janet m. webb

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As much as I love exploring towns and photographing doors, I also love exploring cemeteries and French cemeteries are so interesting and different from those in the US.   During the last few visits to France, we’ve seen a chapel atop a very high hill but never explored it.  This year on one of our wanders, my s-i-l pointed the Defender up a narrow road, hoping we wouldn’t meet anyone, as there was nowhere to pull over.  Someone would have had to back up quite a distance, not an exciting proposition on a narrow, curving road with a drop-off on one side.  Trust me on this.  We’ve had to do it before!!

When we reached the top, unscathed, we discovered the Chapelle Saint-Martin de Faucogney-et-la-Mer surrounded by an extensive cemetery whose residents ranged from dates in the 1800’s to the present.  The hilltop location ensured both the ability to spot danger and to defend against it if necessary.  That day, there were only the two of us, but the view was to certainly to die for.

© janet m. webb

© janet m. webb

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