31 Aug. 2020
Tour de France in Moûtiers 16-17 september 2020
From the height of its promontory, the size of this vast church is striking. Its austere façade is decorated with a low-relief stone gate; a wooden statue of St. John the Baptist occupies the niche in the interrupted pediment. The most surprising part, however, is on the inside!
The vaults feature the Fathers of the Latin Church, painted by Jacques Arienta in the early 19th century. The Baroque spirit is however primarily found in the sculpted decorations:
The current main altarpiece replaces the one realised by Jean-Marie Molino in 1681. The massive statues of St. Peter and St. Paul flank a painting done by Hyacinthe Pignol in 1763 and representing the baptism of Christ; you may have seen the painting of the Blessed Paul, by the same artist, in the church in Saint-Martin-de-Belleville.
The door of the tabernacle is decorated with a pelican feeding its young, the symbol of the Eucharist; people used to think that the bird fed its young with its own body!
The altarpiece of the Rosary, from 1678, is also the work of Molino: two pairs of twisted columns frame an Italian-style painting representing a crowned Virgin and Child, and support an entablature with numerous projections and broken lines. Dotted around, there are two gilded wood sculptures representing St. Dominic and St. Catherine of Sienna, and the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary - the main events in the life of the Virgin and of Christ - are carved in bas-relief in a sequence of small and completely gilded paintings.The painting of the left-hand altarpiece represents the marriage of the Virgin.The church has two other altarpieces: the Sacred Heart; and another in which you can recognise St. Francis de Sales, St. Etienne and St. Anthony the Abbot in the central painting.
All year round, daily between 9 am and 6 pm.
Partial opening with grille.