"An architectural and symbolic approach"

The Visitor's House, in Vézelay, offers to discover the basilica Sainte-Marie-Madeleine outside the walls. An architectural and symbolic approach, before entering the building.
Before discovering the basilica Sainte-Marie-Madeleine, in Vézelay, life size, it is possible to explore it in miniature. At the Visitor's House, the team offers an architectural and symbolic approach, explaining how the builders chose the location of this religious building, built from the 9th to the 12th century and listed as World Heritage Site. Unesco from 1979.

Miniature of the Basilica of St. Mary Magdalene of the Visitor's House

"The House was born at the initiative of passionate architects and art history and an experience of ten years as guides in the basilica alongside the Franciscans, presents Hélène Ramin, the director artistic. These visits always raise a lot of questions. We wanted to open a place to answer. The Visitor's House was created in 2003.

The model of the Basilica

We discover a model of the basilica. An installation is associated to reproduce the sunlight, and its path in the basilica, depending on the seasons. "Sunlight is a partner in construction," says Hélène Ramin. The builders chose the location by looking at where the sun was rising and setting. In the Middle Ages, farmers and builders work by observing the sun, crops and lighting. In the basilica, we observe that the best light is in winter. During the Christmas period, the brightness is wonderful in the church. "

The link with the sun is also symbolic. "It's the mentality of the time: they have their feet firmly anchored in the ground, but they are familiar with the invisible," says Hélène Ramin. The buildings are lifted to the sky, to symbolize Christ and his radiance in the world. "

The basilica of Vézelay is known for its close connection with sunlight. During the summer solstice and the winter solstice, a path of light is formed in the nave. It is reproduced at the Visitor's House. "It's the feast of St. John and the birth of Christ. Architecture echoes these great holidays. "

The interpretive center also features reproductions of three of 152 carved capitals and a plan of the religious building, which allows guides to explain the methods and tools used by builders in medieval times. "There was no arithmetic calculation, but we knew how to use measures to establish harmonious proportions", describes the artistic director presenting compass, rule ... An introduction before the observation on site.

Mélanie Marois, theYonne Republican