The “Sires-de-Pons” Museum and the “Voûte-des-Pèlerins” porchway
between Saintes and Bordeaux in Pons
Jonzac, CHARENTE-MARITIME poitou-charentes 17500 FR

Location

Pons is a town with more than 4,000 inhabitants in the Charente-Maritime department, near to medium-sized towns such as Cognac and Saintes as well as the spa town of Jonzac. It is less than an hour from the Gironde coastline and Royan. The medieval town, with its 12th century keep, has a wealth of heritage and a very good tourist trade. On the outskirts of Pons, at the end of a suburb, the site is five minutes from the A10 motorway and an hour’s drive from Bordeaux.

Description

A street, running north-south on the edge of the town, goes slowly up to this curious porchway which once communicated, on the west side, with the “Hôpital Neuf” (new hospital) and, on the east side, with the church, the walls of which are still standing. It was at the end of the 12th century, under the aegis of Geoffroy III, Lord of Pons, that the construction, including the “Hôpital Neuf”, was built, the town’s hospital no longer being sufficient. It is the plot spanning almost 2,000 m² of the old church which is currently available for purchase, with a 100 m², 2-storey building, currently housing a museum. The latter adjoins the wall of the church, behind the vault. This area can be reached either via the porchway, known as the “Voûte des pèlerins” (pilgrims’ vault) on the road side or at the rear via another passageway. Two wells, one of which is engaged in the wall, and the other, on the land to the east. Also, 21 m³ of stone is stored on one corner of the land. The church measured approx. 17x38 m, which indicates the importance of the old sanctuary.

The vault

The route passes via a curious porchway, the two low arches of which, at the entrance and the exit, are topped with a half-moon-shaped oculus. This covered passageway was used by travellers as a shelter. On either side, flanked by low arcades, are two openings dating from the late 12th century. The Romanesque porchway is divided into three bays, two with broken barrel vaults and a central vaulted bay with cross-ribbing supported on sculpted bases. There is a lot of graffiti on the bodies of the little columns and the walls as well as on the canopy of heaven surrounding the cross of Christ. The building is classified as a French Historic Monument and is included in UNESCO’s World Heritage.

The museum

This was the work of an enthusiast of the history of France and Pons who gathered historical archives from the Saintonge and Aunis provinces as well as collecting objects, an ossuary and miscellaneous medieval pieces. Two of the openings are adorned with stained glass bringing the medieval character and era to mind.

Our opinion

The word “passageway” takes on its full significance here. Unique in France, along the Way of Saint James, this vaulted passageway used by pilgrims and travellers connecting the sickroom to the church is a symbol marking the close link between caring for the body and the soul. It was once topped by a tower. Although for some, these premises, filled with more than 800 years of history, will evoke our journey on Earth, they will undeniably appeal to all old stone enthusiasts. The museum is but waiting for a new lease on life and the land could immediately accommodate a marquee for ceremonies or events.

250 000 €
Fees at the Vendor’s expense


See the fee rates

Reference 397834

Land registry surface area 1907 m2
Main building surface area 50 m2
Number of bedrooms 0

Consultant


Ariel Dormeau +33 1 42 84 80 85

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NB: The above information is not only the result of our visit to the property; it is also based on information provided by the current owner. It is by no means comprehensive or strictly accurate especially where surface areas and construction dates are concerned. We cannot, therefore, be held liable for any misrepresentation.

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