Back in 2009 we spent the best part of six weeks in Europe. Of course we tried to cram too much in but in the middle of the trip we did spend a relaxing few days in Monpazier doing not much.
Our not much included strolling round the town in the evening, and one evening we passed by the church and stood outside listening to the choir practicing. I couldn’t help noticing that the tympanun – the frieze above the door of the church had been hacked off, and in its place was a faded eroded inscription of which the only bit I could read clearly was Le Peuple Francais, leading me to guess that it referred to something that happened during the Revolution, rather than something earlier.
Well, today I noticed (via Wikipedia) that today is the anniversary of Robspierre’s introduction of the Cult of the Supreme Being, an attempt to create a substitute state religion in place of Catholicism.
In the wikipedia article there’s an example of the standard text declaring belief in the supreme being and an example of the declaration, carved on a plaque, above a church door where the tympanum would be. The first line of the text is Le Peuple Francais so I wondered if that was the source of the Monpazier inscription. The english language wikipedia was no help at all but googling for eglise de Monpazier turned up an article in the French language wersion, and there it was
La Révolution a eu peu de conséquences à Monpazier. Seule
l’inscription au tympan de l’église en garde une trace :
Le peuple Français reconnaît l’existence de l’Être Suprême et
l’immortalité de l’âme.
The inscription did indeed date from the Revolution and was a declaration of faith …
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