Église de Saint-Sornin-Leulac is another
church which seems not to bear a dedication of its own but is
instead named after the town in which it lies. Saint-Sornin Leulac
is located on the N145 road just a few kilometres north-west of
Fromental. The town is a stopover point for many tourists who are
heading either towards the ocean or towards the mountains. At the
centre of the town is a shady square which is popular as a picnic
The church was built in the twelfth century in
the Romanesque style. Its stonework probably replaced an earlier
church which may have been made in wood, just as with most
Anglo-Saxon churches in England. It was apparently redesigned and
restored several times, but information on the details seems to be
impossible to come by. As for surroundings, the town offers a
verdant countryside with many lakes, two of which are open to
fishing in the summer.
Thanks to being situated on the protected site of
the 'Valley Gartempe', the church is subject to a protection order.
Its steeple has been occupied by a colony of bats, so the Regional
Academy for Natural Spaces, in collaboration with Limoges, has put
in place arrangements to avoid any damage to the building and
encourage the species to nest and breed. Since 1973, the charming
little town of Saint-Priest-le-Betoux has been linked to that of
Église de Saint-Maurice-la-Souterraine
(the Church of St Maurice the Underground) is in the Creuse
department to the north of the Limousin region, also on the N145 but
in the opposite direction from the A20 crossroads to Saint-Sornin-Leulac.
With its population of about 5,000, La Souterraine is a pretty town
with cobbled streets and attractive shops, and is the stopping place
on the pilgrim's route to Santiago de Compostela in north-western
There is evidence of pre-Roman occupation here,
attested by the discovery of stone age tools and a menhir (a
standing stone). Remains of Roman villas and temples have been
unearthed. In the eleventh century, a Gothic church and fortified
walls were built by the Saint Martial monks, but the crypt
underneath the church is Roman. The name of the town, which
translates as 'subterranean', comes from that very underground
crypt. The church was restored in 1850.
Congrégation des Soeurs du Sauveur et de la
Sainte Viergede (Congregation of the Sisters of Christ and the
Blessed Virgin) lies on the outskirts of La Souterraine. It has
Gallo-Roman origins and was probably constructed due to its location
on the pilgrim's route to Santiago de Compostela. A nursing and
teaching congregation, it was founded outside the town in 1835 by
Joséphine du Bourg, who was born on 25 June 1788 at Château de
Rochemont and died in 1862.
All photos on this page kindly contributed by M Kessler.