Standing in the
village square at Charézier, looking at its
functional little church, you
might be forgiven for thinking
that there are no church
buildings of any significance in
this parish. However, you would
be wrong; there are two, and the
chapel of the Holy Redeemer and
Our Lady of Mercy in the hamlet
of Lieffenan, a mile or so from
Charezier village, is one of
I freewheeled down
into the valley of the Ain, Mount
Saint-Sorlin towering above me.
Lieffenan is a small collection
of farm cottages facing across to
Blye on the opposite
bank. Hidden from view, but
signposted from the narrow lane,
is the hydro-electric dam I had
been dismayed by the previous
year; I had thought it was a
bridge, but ended up having to
make a 20 km detour because it
A yellow postvan
overtook me, bibbing its horn
merrily. It was the postgirl I
had asked for directions an hour
or so before at Vertamboz. French students
staff the postal service in
Summer, but only the prettiest
ones get to work in the Jura.
She pulled into the
farmyard across the village
street, and opposite was the
smallest church I had ever seen.
It measures just 400cm wide by
just 250cm deep. There was a tiny
window in the eastern wall, and
above the main door two corbels
that suggested there might have
been a porch once. Beneath them,
the date said 1572.
the steps, and an old dog
wandered out of a nearby yard to
watch as I opened the door.
Inside, there was no space for
pews or even a proper altar;
instead, a narrow bench sat
before a little shelf jutting out
of the east wall.
Briefly, I stepped
out of the 35 degree heat of a
Jura summer into the cool
stillness of the eternal moment.
is easily found on the main
street of this tiny hamlet.
Follow the signs to Lieffenan
from either Charcier or
Charézier, both on the main D27
road between Doucier and