The finest Romanesque mustaches are at Moissac Abbey

This church.

The elegant forms.  The fantastic creatures.  The visionary composition.  The mustaches.


Moissac Abbey is one of the great Romanesque churches (and admittedly deserves much better photos than what we managed with our crappy camera).  The South portal, created 1120 – 1135, and the tympanum are a masterful sculptural illustrations of the vision of Saint John.

Ah, two of my favorite things: the apocalypse and Romanesque sculpture.  Go ahead, ask me if Moissac Abbey is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  YES!  It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site  and also a stop on the Santiago de Compostella pilgrimage.


Prophet Jeremiah, looking absolutely gorgeous.  Of the many carved mustaches on the portal, his is the most exquisite.


The Visitation.


Self-portrait as a cloister gaper.

The Abbey’s cloister is from 1100 and has 76 capitals plus a dozen relief carvings.  Most of the capital carvings illustrate bible stories and they are in great shape, except that many of the human figures have smashed faces.


Daniel of the Large Hands in the Lion’s Den.


I adore this genteel writing, but I don’t know what it says.


All the carved knots!


A frieze of griffons.


I don’t often see fish in Romanesque art.


An early form of dentistry?


So many wonderful details!


Hands in a carving of the Last Supper.


Bird hugger.


Didn’t your momma teach you that foot eating is a bad habit?


While we were inside the cloister a group of well-dressed business people came in on a tour.  Why does my business travel only take me to over-air conditioned conference rooms in lame places like Orlando?  I need a job that pays for me to tour medieval churches instead.


Abbey interior.


Here was our day in Moissac: hopped off the train, walked a couple of blocks to our hotel.  Dropped our bags, walked another block to the abbey.  Looked at the abbey, ate a picnic in front of the abbey, looked at the cloister, ate a picnic in front of the abbey, looked at the abbey again until night fell and they closed it down.  In other words,  a perfect day.


How we got to Moissac: train from Cahors.

Where we slept: Hotel-Restaurant Le Luxembourg.  Price: €48 for a double.  Recommended: yes.





  1. So beautiful ivory stone church, although no color embellishment, but I can feel it’s very old.:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I believe these churches were originally painted. Can you imagine how exciting those carvings were when brightly colored? It must have been a spectacle!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ancient architecture is always beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed! What building is your favorite?


  3. Timeless beauty ..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It absolutely is! So hard to believe that the church was almost torn down to make way for a railway (which runs directly behind the cloister).


  4. czfhubrich · · Reply

    The detail is remarkable!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish we had better pictures of the portal and tympanum. If you get a chance, look up this building in an art history book so you can see just how remarkable the details are in the entry.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. That’s really beautiful! This kind of architecture always leaves me astonished! *-*

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too. I think of the Romanesque era as a sort of Renaissance-before-the-Renaissance.

      Liked by 1 person

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