A dozen people gather at the front of Saint-Barnard Collegial Church as the sun sets. Aurelie Perret will be the guide throughout the evening. All ages will be able to travel through time from the origins of the collegiate church in ninth century to the present. It is all done in darkness and lit only by a flashlight. These torchlight tours "allow you to pay attention to specific elements such as paintings and sculptures... and avoid getting lost like some visitors".
The tour begins with the main dates of collegiate church and continues to the sacristy where the relics from the saints are kept. The chapel is home to paintings that depict scenes from the Bible. Night visitors can then make their way inside. The choir is open to the public for those who are lucky enough to be able to view its stained glass windows and decorative paintings. They will be guided by Aurelie Perret, who also has a flashlight.
Celine, her teenage daughters, Noelie, and Morgane were among the group that discovered the site. It's a unique visit. We dive into the past... then, with the darkness, our senses are solicited in a different way: the sounds, the smell, and the feel of the building. This is a very special atmosphere that is moving. Noelie was the one who brought her sister and mother to the visit. "I'm used to going to the collegiate church quite often. But, I was curious about this visit to Saint-Barnard from a different perspective.
Les Amis de Saint Barnard et des Recollets organize the visits that will take place all summer. Jean-Yves Baxter was the president of the association. "We reach a community, which renews itself with new Romans, who want to learn the heritage, as well as long-time Romans, who haven't necessarily crossed the threshold into the collegiate church. This is an opportunity that everyone can take advantage of.
Adult visitors can pay five euros, while minors get free admission.