Hometo doChapelle Sainte Catherine

Chapelle Sainte Catherine

Baux de Provence
04 90 54 55 56
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The chapel is at the entrance to the Château des Baux de Provence. Although it was originally dedicated to the Virgin Mary, it has been dedicated to Saint Catherine since the 15th century. The castle chapel was within the surrounding walls which symbolically protect the entrance to the Château, as was common in the Middle Ages. The building set vertically to the small ditch, remains of which can still be seen, was part of the Château; on the first level, that of the courtyard, it housed the castle chapel. The gaps in the cliff reveal the existence of two levels above the chapel. On the third level are clear traces of an opening which crossed the cliff and overlooked a small balcony; to the east this balcony overlooked the entrance to the 'hare hole' and was part of of its defence. On the second level, this building also had an corbel construction projecting over the small ditch. This was also part of the defence system. The 1426 inventory confirmed the existence of a 'chamber' above the chapel, but it seemed to have only a secondary role, as its development was minimal at the time of this inventory. It was very close to the entrance to the small ditch. The castle chapel opened onto the courtyard to the right of the château entrance; it is known as a 'gateway' chapel, as it welcomed visitors as soon as they arrived. However, it could be accessed directly from inside the château. This structure is particularly important for appreciating the size of the mediaeval château, as it is the only one to contain remains of 12th century Romanesque art from the former 'Sainte Marie' chapel. This chapel underwent major restructuring work during the Renaissance, but the original southern wall can still be seen above the facing put in place in the 16th century. The chapel became known as 'Saint Catherine', but it is not known exactly when this happened. The chapel's bell tower had been built at the top of the building, level with the gallery located on the crest of the cliff. It was restructured and now features rows of ribbed vaults with wall arches, liernes and tercerons; however, it still has its Romanesque sculptures, making it the oldest testimony currently visible at the Château des Baux de Provence.

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