Church of Saint Cernin, a ‘Wow’ factor church!


Abstract stained glass

Saint Cernin is located right in the centre of the Lot department, about 30km northeast of Cahors, in the historic Quercy.

As I was wandering around Saint Cernin taking photos of its flamboyant bouquets of plastic flowers, I noticed that the church was open.

I almost didn’t go in…

It indeed looked like just another plain, musty and dusty, old village church.

However, I wondered if a village that decorated with kitschy flowers might have something a bit unique in its church, so I climbed the steps and went in.

I think ‘Wow’ sums up my expression of surprise!

The church of Saint Cernin was a riotous melange of colours and styles.

A wealth of decorative features


Beautifully well restored frescoes

Its stained glass windows were abstract modern; the walls and pillars of the sanctuary were done in a style and in colours that were almost Art Deco.

The nave and the side chapels were beautifully painted in order to showcase a colourful statue of Christ with blessing hands.

The vaulted ceiling over the nave was resplendent with the restored fresco paintings of Henri Petit.

Petit was an artist from a Lot department, who painted during the late 1800s.

You can see more of his work in the church by clicking here.

As I craned my neck to take it all in and snap some photos, I noticed an older woman standing in the pews.

We struck up a conversation, and I learned that she was a nun on vacation in the area.

The old nun who returned in pilgrimage to her roots in faith

She proudly told me that she was baptized in this church and that all her ancestors worshiped here over the ages.

She had returned in pilgrimage to her roots in faith.

She also lamented about how much the village had changed from her childhood.


More frescoes!

However, she was also optimistic about its future since many of the old houses had been purchased by the English and other foreigners who were restoring them and living here at least part of the year.

She was also optimistic about the church.

It had been restored just the year before, she told me.

It was so sad that it was no longer filled with worshipers.

That said, she thought that with the restoration people would return to worship.

Or, they might just sit in its beauty in order to reflect or listen to music.

I thought to myself that even though the ‘style police’ might not appreciate this church’s somewhat gaudy restoration, others might find it a beautiful refuge of peace and quiet.

We said goodbye, and I left the elderly nun to continue her prayers.

You just never know what you might find when you climb those old stone steps and push open the ancient wooden door of a village church in France.

Coordinates and map for Saint Cernin: Lat 44.598868 – Long 1.584807

Credits: Photos and text for Saint Cernin are ©melangedmagic – Edited by and for TravelFranceOnline