Saint- Benoît Chapel at Chassiers
The beautiful Saint-Benoît chapel, known as “the Pénitents”, is classed as a historic monument and is located a short distance from the parish church. It’s believed to have been built on the site of a monastery at Chassiers in the 6th century, as noted in a medieval cartulary at Viviers church.
The Saint-Benoît chapel was built in the style of a benedictine abbey at the height of the period of romanesque architectural expression in the 12th century as dedicated to its patron saint.
It owes the originality of its modestly proportioned façade to the presence of two naves ending respectively in a polygon-shaped and a semicircular apse to the east. To the west a large arcade communicates between the two naves and the sanctuaries are linked by a widened passage. The juxtaposition of the two naves was justified through the somewhat occasional presence of loyal followers who would gather near a place of monastic worship.
From 1584, the brotherhood of the “Pénitents bleus of Chassiers” resided there until the beginning of the 20th century.
Outside, the double chevet or chancel constitutes the most attractive part of the Saint-Benoît chapel. A crown of modillions illustrates a rich decorative repertoire of leaves, geometric figures, noble and rogue faces, mermaid, horned head, keg, … all contrasted symbols of life.