Basilica of Paray-le-Monial

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Basilica of Paray-le-Monial.
View of the nave.

The Basilica of Paray-le-Monial is a Romanesque church in Paray-le-Monial, Bourgogne, eastern France. Built from the 12th century, on the site of a 10th-century monastery founded by count Lambert of Chalon, it was a small-scale version of the Abbey of Cluny. It was completed in the 14th century, although some sections were added in the 18th century or renovated in the 19th century. As a priory, it was under the authority of Cluny and was a popular pilgrimage site.


The church has a rather short nave and two aisles, crossed by a single-nave transept. The choir includes a semicircular apse with an ambulatory, and three radial chapels. The edifice has an overall length of 63.5 meters, including the vestibule and the eastern chapel, and a width of 22.35 m.

Detail of a capital with sirens.

The nave (which is 22 m tall) and the aisles are covered by ogival barrel vaults, with, internally, the use of different height levels which was typical of Romanesque architecture. It has pre-Gothic pillars, a blind tribune and a clerestory with small windows. The capitals of the columns are generally decorated with vegetable motifs, although some feature depictions of animals or other figures. The choir houses a 14th-century fresco, rediscovered in 1935.

The exterior has a sober appearance, with massive walls. The few decorations include the portal of the transept's left arm, with flower and geometrical motifs. The crossing is surmounted by a tower with an elevation of 56 m; two smaller towers are also at the sides of the main facade.

The complex include other buildings, such as an 18th-century cloister.


  • Castelfranchi Vegas, L.; A. Conti (1993). L'arte medioevale in Italia e nell'Occidente europeo (in Italian). 

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Coordinates: 46°26′59″N 4°7′17″E / 46.44972°N 4.12139°E / 46.44972; 4.12139