The Basilica of Saint Julien in the city of Brioude.

© Eric Bascol/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Basilique de St-Julien


The Auvergne's largest Romanesque church is a whopper in design as much as size. Built over the tomb of martyred Saint Julien, and housing a gold reliquary holding his remains, the stone basilica seems to glow in shades of dusky rose and warm beige. The basilica's exterior decoration, including floral motifs inlaid with black volcanic stone, was completed in the 13th century, but the frescoes inside are as much as 200 years older.

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