The Church of Notre Dame de La Charité-sur-Loire
Recognised by UNESCO
As early as the 11th century, the charity shown by the monks of the abbey towards the poor and pilgrims was at the origin of the name bestowed upon this significant fortified passage along the Loire: the rather aptly named, La Charité-sur-Loire!
The abbey here is affiliated with Cluny Abbey and therefore became a major stop for pilgrims on the Way of St. James in the Middle Ages. Consequently, it was listed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and the priory church could welcome up to 5,000 worshippers, with around fifty affiliated churches across Europe.
Treasure of Romanesque art
This Benedictine Monastery was founded in 1059, upon the initiative of the Cluny order, and is a remarkable example of Burgundian Romanesque art. The priory church of Notre-Dame is a wonderful specimen of Cluniac architecture from the 11th and 12th centuries. Come and see it with your own eyes and explore the various spaces that have all been marvellously renovated: the cloister, chapter house, pottery room, etc.
A famous writer saved the church of La Charité
In 1840, there were quite a few issues along the royal route between Paris and Nevers. It was therefore necessary to modify the route around the town of La Charité-sur-Loire. The idea was simple: to make way for the future road, the medieval church had to be destroyed! But someone decided to put a stop to these plans...
This person was French writer Prosper Mérimée. He was passionate about ancient buildings and became an inspector for Historic Monuments. Outraged by the plans for this road, he stepped in and his determination saved the church!
In the autumn
Autumn is the best time to come here to see the place in its best light. The facades throughout the town and the church bell tower are reflected onto the calm, iridescent waters of the Loire.
On the banks of the Loire, the "Ville d'Art et d'Histoire" (Town of Art and History) of La Charité-sur-Loire is a charming medieval town surrounded by fortifications.
The narrow cobbled streets through the historic centre of La Charité-sur-Loire give the town a certain romantic charm and there are many book shops and other shops on the theme of books, run by artisans such as bookbinders, calligraphers, illuminators or graphic artists, all working away behind the picturesque facades.
This small town is devoted to the world of books, and throughout the year there are fairs, markets and events, all on the theme of books. You'll soon see why La Charité-sur-Loire bears the French "ville du livre" (city of books) and "ville du mot" (city of words) labels!
Stay a while longer!
A weekend in La Charité-sur-Loire, a getaway on the Loire, a stay in the Nièvre, come and browse our ideas for stays, if you want to explore the surrounding area of the church.