France // The Limousin, Dordogne and the Lot //


In a picturesque spot on the banks of the Dordogne, 8km upriver from Castelnau-Bretenoux, Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne boasts one of the great masterpieces of Romanesque sculpture, on the porch of the church of St-Pierre. This doorway is unusually deep-set, with a tympanum presided over by an oriental-looking Christ with one arm extended to welcome the chosen. All around him is a complicated pattern of angels and apostles, executed in characteristic “dancing” style, similar to that at Carennac. The dead raise the lids of their coffins hopefully, while underneath a frieze depicts monsters crunching heads. Take the opportunity also to wander north along rue de la Chapelle past some handsome sculpted facades and down to the river.