31 Aug. 2020
Tour de France in Moûtiers 16-17 september 2020
The church sanctuary, located between St Martin and the hamlet of St Marcel, remains today one of the major pilgrimage sites in Savoie. It was built between 1635 and 1680, with an original layout of a central hanging cupola with chapels radiating out from it.
The chapel of Notre-Dame-de-la-Vie, isolated on a small berm in the high Les Belleville valley, is an emblematic monument in the commune. It boasts one of the oldest Baroque altarpieces in Tarentaise, and is also a testament to the artistic and religious renaissance witnessed in Savoie during the 17th century: all the richness and techniques of Baroque art are expressed here with brilliance. For this reason, it was listed as a Historic Monument in 1949.
Nicolas Deschamps, who also drafted the plans for the church in Villargarel, realised this structure designed around the shape of a Greek cross, with a hanging cupola topped by a lantern-turret.
This cupola was decorated in its entirety in 1679 with paintings of scenes from the Old Testament.
The altarpiece of the high altar features a proliferation of gold and sculpted decorations and clearly evokes the life of Mary. In the central panel, there is a discreet sliding door, adorned with a bas-relief of the Madonna and Child, that conventionally hides from view the niche containing a statue believed to be miraculous. The side panels are reserved for Mary's family, with King David in particular at the top-left.
The secondary altarpieces are simpler but the one on the right, dating from 1636, appears to be the oldest of the three and might even be the oldest in Savoie! Take a moment to admire the rich collection of ex-votos on display in the entrance: these bear witness to all the tribulations of life and the hopes of the mountain-dwellers of the 18th century!
All year round, daily between 9 am and 6 pm.
Can be seen partially through a grille.