Bell gables

bell gable, Pas de Bres, Ardèche
bell gable, Pas de Bres, Ardèche
A common feature of Romanesque churches in south-central France is the bell gable. These constructions may have stacked rows of “eyes” in other regions, but in south central France, I have never seen any. All the ones pictured here are single level. While these gables may have 4 or more eyes on a single row, the eyes are not all necessarily equipped with bells.

So why build a bell gable instead of a bell tower ? Possibly because the weight of a tower would be too much for the vaulted roof of the Romanesque church. Here are some of the more interesting churches seen while walking in the region. Most of the churches are in local stone, ranging from limestone to schist. But the most interesting church is in Pas-de-Bres in the Ardeche – built from very unusual red sandstone. Next hiking challenge : find the red sandstone quarry.

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