Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sablet and its Church and Chapels

The first thing you notice about Sablet as you approach the village by car, riding a bicycle or walking day or night is the bell tower of Église St Nazaire - Church St Nazaire, standing erect over the village like a beacon marking the position of Sablet in the countryside for travelers.

During the Middle Ages, Sablet was under the control of the Holy See (the Pope) and unlike many other villages in the surrounding area, it was never under the control of feudal lords, so there is no château - castle at the top of the village.

At that time, the Roman Catholic Church was the law making and administrative authority for the area. In 1577 the village was taken over by Calvinists and the Pope appointed a governor to oversee the village until the end of the religious war.

Sablet in the distance with its "beacon" below the Dentelles de Montmirail.

Église St Nazaire - Church St Nazaire was built in the 12th century and is situated at the highest point in the village. The adjoining bell tower can be seen from miles around.

There is a pretty garden area which surrounds the church.

In addition to the church, there are two chapels in Sablet. The 15th century Chapelle St Nazaire - Chapel of St Nazaire (as distinct from the Church of St Nazaire) can be found at the entrance to the village at the cemetery. The Chapel is the home of many art exhibitions each year.

The village cemetery behind Chapelle St Nazaire with Séguret in the distance.

In 1721, the area was ravaged by the plague but Sablet was untouched. The grateful villagers built Chapelle St Roch - Chapel St Roch and dedicated it to the saint whom they credited with having saved the village.

Chapelle St Roch is located near the Tabac Presse - news stand where the chemin - path to Séguret begins. I see the chapel every morning when I walk to the news stand to buy the International Herald Tribune.

Chapelle St Roch is a functioning church and mass is held there every 15 days.

The bell tower of Église St Nazaire is illuminated at night. The bells ring hourly from 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM.

We pause as we walk past the lighted bell tower to marvel at its face on our way home after aperitifs with friends or dinner out in an area restaurant.

Bonne journée et a bientot.


  1. I have to admit that these blogs are much more meaningful now that I have been to Sablet and seen much of what you write about. Keep up the great work - it is lovely to reminisce through your posts.

  2. This is a very nice "reportage" of a typical French village! Very beautiful. I loved the previous post with your family too. You are really lucky!

  3. Michel, thank you for commenting on my blog. I took the photo of the sheep near Lacaune! Where were your grandparents from? I was in Berlats, near Espérausses.

  4. What a nice post! I had no idea Sablet had been under the control of the Holy See - but totally makes sense for the area. Also very interesting that they were untouched by the plague - a very lucky folk indeed!
    Thanks for sharing about the lovely churches, can't wait to visit to see for myself :)

  5. Tricia - I am very happy you were able to make it to Sablet. We will work it out so your next visit is during warm weather.

    Marie - I am very fortunate; great kids and grandkids, wouldn't trade them for the world.

    My grandparents farm was near Viane Pierre-Ségade. It was called the Metairie Neuve.

    Tuula - Thanks! It would be very nice to have you come to Sablet when we are there so we could meet up.

  6. I'm fascinated by French cemeteries - I can wander around for hours looking at the elaborate headstones and intriguing inscriptions.