A Winter’s Tale… Chapel Notre Dame des Venettes
I’ve always wondered what it would be like to have a real white Christmas, with at least half a metre of snow and spend Christmas Day skiing, rather than eating. Is there a way to make the most of that down-time period between Christmas and New Year, which you sort of enjoy, but then start to fidget after a few days on the sofa watching old favourites? So, when the opportunity arose to have a week in the Alps over Christmas, we were off!
Not being the most accomplished skier I quickly set about Googling “other activities”. It was soon decided that a really good friend and I would trek out to the Chapel Notre Dame des Venettes, a gem of an Alpine church built at the end of a magnificent mountain path at Peisey-Nancroix. The first chapel was built in the early 18th Century. The legend says that a miraculous healing occurred there in 1702 near a spring and it subsequently became the site of a pilgrimage. It was destroyed by an avalanche several years later so the inhabitants of Peisey-Nancriox starting building a larger chapel on an area of land a little lower. The structural work took five years and from the exterior the chapel is simple and elegant, almost understated.
The interiors are then a complete surprise, with literally breathtaking 18th Century Alpine Baroque art, which apparently took three decades to complete. I’ve tried to capture the intricate carving and detail on the vaults and the dome, as well as the three altarpieces of carved wood in the images below… plus an attempt at an artful shot of the mountains beyond through the chapel door (loved this view 🙂 ).
The day finished with a sunset over Mont-Blanc, the perfect version of “blush”, which proved so popular in our interiors in the last few years! And on that note, Happy New Year!