A radiating chapel cand hide another! Melle is home to not one, but three radiating chapels, from three Romanesque churches from the 11th and 12th centuries. The most important one, Saint-Hilaire church, a UNESCO World Heritage site, stands out for its remarkable ensemble of carved decorations gracing its 283 capitals.
© Pascal Baudry - Petites Cités de Caractère Nouvelle-Aquitaine
Between the Poitou and Charentes regions, Melle is quite a surprising little town! Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site as part of the “French Routes of Santiago de Compostela,” this small town of character is brimming with historic, botanical, and cultural treasures which renders one speechless. Buildings and monuments dating from the Antiquity, such as the Silver Mines of the Frankish kings, in operation from the Gallo-Roman period are a testimony to the town’s rich heritage in the Middle Ages, such as the Hotel de Médoc, or the church of Saint Hilaire. But alongside Melle’s thousand-year-old patrimony, contemporary art also holds a significant place. For the past thirty years, the town has held a contemporary art biennial of international repute. Some artists have left a lasting trace of their passage here. For example, the white marble heart of the church of Saint-Hilaire was created by eco-designer Mathieu Lehanneur, Saint Savinien’s stained-glass windows are an original creation by Rémy Hysbergue, and the wooden cross was crafted by Tadaschi Kawamata. Melle is a town where heritage and contemporary art blend harmoniously, all the while looking to the future.