Church of Saint-Florent in Niort
This former workers' housing estate, home to Rougier plywood factories and the SNCF marshalling yard, became part of the municipality of Niort in 1969.
Its 11th-12th century church stands on the edge of the Pilgrim's Way to Santiago de Compostela leading to St-Jean d'Angély. Its high, almost blind façade features a semi-circular doorway and is topped by a two-bay comb bell tower. Note the re-use of four pre-Romanesque frame sculptures in the masonry. Are they representations of the life of man or of Saint Florent and two figurations of the Annunciation and the Visitation?
Saint Florent, a Roman soldier who was converted and ordained priest by Saint Martin, lived as a hermit in a cave near the Loire. According to legend, he restored sight to the blind, cured the infirm and delivered demoniacs. He died at the canonical age of 123 at the end of the 4th century.