In the Osse valley, on the ancient route to Santiago de Compostela, the village of Mouchan is home to a little gem, its Romanesque church.
The origin of the village's name comes from "Muscius", a Roman dignitary who owned a villa on the site of the priory.
In Mouchan, of course, you must visit the Romanesque church, but also the arcaded square, the stone houses, the narrow streets, the fountain, the wash-house, the remains of an ancient moat protecting the village, the 12th-century Romanesque bridge...
A little history...
The first church must have been built before the 10th century by Benedictine monks, as the relics of Saint Austrégésile ensured the fame of the religious community.
In 1089, Mouchan was given to the Cluny Order and became a deanery. The church was completely remodeled, with the construction of a cloister and conventual buildings to accommodate Benedictine monks and pilgrims alike, as Mouchan lay on the Via Podensis pilgrimage route between Le Puy-en-Velay and Santiago de Compostela.
At the time, the priory was located in the heart of the village, which explains why the church is not in the center of the village.
During the Hundred Years' War, the priory suffered greatly from robbery, and in 1569, Protestant troops invaded, massacred the population, destroyed the village and set fire to the church. The monks, no longer feeling safe, left Mouchan in 1572.
The village was rebuilt using stones from the priory.
Around 1843, Father Jean Blain, with the help of the local population, began restoration work to preserve the church.
Under Bernard Faget's leadership, the village was transformed around 1881, with the construction of the town hall and school, the relocation of the cemetery from the square, the creation of the washhouse and fountain, the lime tree avenue...
The Romanesque church...
A jewel of Romanesque art, the church was listed as a Monument Historique in 1921.
One hundred years later, in October 2021, the commune of Mouchan officially became involved in the Cluny and European Cluniac Sites initiative, and applied for Unesco World Heritage status for its church.
Classified as a Cluny site, the 3rd in the Midi-Pyrénées region, this church is one of the oldest in the department, with a section dating back to the early 11th century. Its beauty and history make it one of the churches on the Council of Europe's Great Cultural Itinerary.
Dedicated to Saint-Austrégésile, it boasts a number of architectural features, including numerous capitals, an extremely pure transept crossing, arcades adorned with lozenges and exterior sculptures that give an idea of the freedom of expression in the Middle Ages: bears, an embracing couple...
Mouchan Town Hall
Tel.: 05 62 28 40 33