Saint-Pierre Church (Saint Peter’s church)
The first records in the history of Moutiers date back to 701 with the monastery which used to welcome Anglo-Saxon and Briton pilgrims on their way to Rome. And yet, its history is much older than that.
The parish church of Moutiers was built around the year 1000 and dedicated to Saint Paul. A porch with a lean-to stands against the Western gable. Viollet Le Duc, the famous XIXth Century architect, dates back this porch to the XIIIth Century, and the stone partition to the XVth Century ; this beautiful narthex allowed the church to be classified as a historic building by the Monuments Historiques as soon as 1862.
The building is composed of one nave and two small side chapels which evoke a transept. There is a strong disparity between the nave and the choir: the nave has six Roman style openings while the choir, with its strong buttresses, is lit thanks to flamboyant, high Gothic style openings.
During the summer of 1982, after a very dry spring, the mayor of Moutiers, François Solano, noticed that the white distemper which had been covering the walls of the church since the XVIIIth Century was cracking... ochre paintings were appearing. Thanks to the efficiency of two historians, Suzanne and Robert Pelissier, who followed the progress of the restoration for ten years, the whole decoration was unveiled by a decorator master, Isao Takahashi.
The 200 square meters of wall paintings represent one of the biggest collection in Burgundy. The oldest paintings (XIIth Century), on the Northern wall, tells the story of the New Testament : from the Annunciation to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The Roman setting is also to be seen on the Western and Southern walls, representing various great characters.
On the Southern wall, another set of paintings dates back to the XIIth Century. It is laid out in three levels: on the highest level, a procession of pilgrims is heading towards the choir; on the two lower levels, there are scenes from the Old Testament such as Eve’s birth, Abel’s murder, or references to Saint John the Baptist. Its most interesting elements are Jesus’s christening and the representations of the Flood and Noah’s Ark.
Other wall paintings (XVth and XVIIIth Century) can be seen in the North Chapel and in the chancel.