The small village of Germigny-des-Prés hosts a remarkable Carolingian oratory and the only Carolingian mosaic conserved in France. 

Built in 806, the Germigny-des-Prés oratory is the work of Theodulf. A brilliant man of letters, a poet versed in antiquity, an esteemed theologian, he was a key member of the Carolingian Renaissance. He was responsible for the construction of a luxurious villa of which only the oratory, the master’s private chapel, has withstood the test of time. Today, it is one of the most ancient churches in France, and a rare example of the Carolingian architectural style.

The Oratoire carolingien de Germigny-des-Prés possesses a Byzantine-style mosaic consisting in 130,000 tessera pieces, and it is one of a kind in France for two reasons. First, having been impeccably conserved, it was only slightly altered when being restored; second, its subject is atypical: the Ark of the Covenant, topped by two cherubs and framed by two archangels between whom, the hand of God appears.  

It has been said that children of the village were instrumental to rediscovery of the mosaic as they were playing with “glass cubes” found in the church. During the 19th century, archaeologists managed to recreate the remarkable 9th-century mosaic, one of the most ancient in France.



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