Romanesque art and architecture
in the Ariège Pyrenees
Romanesque architecture in Ariège derives its originality from the surprising mix of Spanish and Toulousain romanesque styles. Il was also marked by the strong mountain character of a population still attached to its pagan cults, putting in play the forces of nature. It required of the Church much patience and trickery to get around these practices. The process was generally simple: build a Christian sanctuary right on the sites important to these ancient religions, as was the case for the churches at Vals, Arnave, Gestiès or Autignac. But the techniques and evolutions of style took a long time to penetrate the remote valleys. Paradoxically, this is what lends Romanesque art its charm in Ariège – it has generally remained rustic, indeed archaic, and as such very sincere and moving.