Walk to St. Christophe and Montferrand

There is a wonderful walk to the church of St. Christophe and Montferrand from Le Mas & Le Mazet which we recommend you do whilst staying here.

Start the walk by going down our drive and then left. Follow the road until you come to a fork in the road and go left. This will take you up the hill to the church of St. Christophe (with the cemetery).

St. Christophe was the medieval village church of Montferrand, only part of the nave is left, but it’s worth going into and seeing the interior. There are fantastic 12th century murals which were only discovered a few decades ago under whitewash. They are quite unusual and some almost pagan. I like to imagine the field workers from Le Mas going to the church, unable to read or write, and seeing these scary, exciting frescoes of men, gods, animals and the sun and moon.

As you enter the church, look up to see the anthropomorphic sun and moon on the ceiling surrounded by stars. Their prominence demonstrates how important they were to the inhabitants of Montferrand in the 12th century, although it seems to me not to be images I would label Christian, but rather pagan.

St Christophe's frescos

On the left-hand wall as you walk in is very exciting. There is a lady riding a lion, which any self-respecting 12th century peasant would know is the symbol of LUST. Having never seen a lion in real life, it must have been so exotic!

Lust is facing a monster with its mouth wide open, accepting sinners who are walking through his mouth to HELL. So be warned. Lust and Hell on one wall, I’m sure everyone understood that! And the sinners are walking over the red tongue of the monster, which is where the concept of the red carpet comes from. Walking the red carpet originates from walking into hell. Hmmmm…

Around the altar there is a big fresco of St. Christopher carrying Christ, and the symbols and animals of the apostles. You can also see a painting of St. Christopher in prison, where he was tormented and then beheaded.

Continue your walk by leaving the cemetery and going round the back of it where you will see a post with a yellow top, signposting the way to walk through some fields, walnut orchards and a wood. After 10 minutes you’ll come out at the castle, walk under the arch and onto the main street in Montferrand. If you continue down the village, you will see a yellow sign to the left (St. Christophe walk) which will take you through different woods and fields to the church.

Montferrand du Perigord