nights draw in, and the gloom and
melancholy of an English winter
take hold, I think of Loulle.
This pretty village sits above
the forests of Fontenu and Mont-sur-Monnet, surrounded by
broad green meadows, and the
hills beyond. Brown cows slumber
and graze beneath the broad heat,
their bells sounding lazily as
they turn their big heads. In the
middle of the tiny village, at
the highest point, sits
Saint-Laurent, with the Mairie
opposite and a fruitiére nearby.
The cupola of the
church is surmounted by a cross,
and the walls of the tower are
pantiled, as are the west ends of
the aisles, giving the church a
curious appearance as if a child
had constructed it from lego.
However, a walk around the
building reveals its great age;
it has been patched up over the
summer heat, lizards bask and
dart between the headstones. A
few rooftiles had slipped in the
storm the previous night, and I
confess I picked up part of a
broken one and put it in my
pocket, a keepsake, a memory.
visited this church often, and
have never found it locked. It
tells you something of how laid
back the Jura is that there is
still a faded 'Jubilee Year 1950'
poster pasted up inside the big
doors. You step through into one
of the prettiest church interiors
in the Chalain area. It is
simple, and simply beautiful.
Elegant three bay arcades
separate narrow aisles from the
walls and stone-flagged floors
throw into relief high wooden
benches, a medieval image of St
Laurence and coloured glass. Very
bravely, virtually all the
pre-Vatican II trappings and
debris of the19th century
Catholic Church have been
removed. The plaster has also
been removed, revealing several
blocked Romanesque doorways and
windows. The result is a gentle,
soft spiritual space.
are drawn to a 16th century
window that contains 19th century
glass (although the sacristy
behind prevents light shining
through). Thick rustic hexagonal
pillars lift the arcades. High
above, the medieval vaulting
dances across the roof. It is
three windows in each aisle,
recessed in Romanesque arches.
The middle one on each side
contains charming glass, signed G.P.
Dayrant, Bordeaux. The Queen
of the Rosary on the north side
is dated 1911, The angels
appearing to the shepherd on the
south side 1912.
16th and 17th century ledger
stones for Priests set in the
chancel and eastern nave floors.
Within the chancel there is an
aumbry on the north side and a
piscina on the south side, the
latter containing a small mensa
for some reason.
This is one
of the prettiest churches I know.
Loulle, is in the middle of the
village on the D255 between
Mont-sur-Monnet and Champagnole.
I've always found it open.