Serrabone, Prieure de
Remarkable Romanesque priory
A tortuous drive from the Tech or Têt valleys (D618), on a bleak grey-green mountain side amidst tinder-dry puffs of scrub and gorse, cork and holm oak, Serrabone is the most remarkable example of Roussillon Romanesque architecture. Visits begin in the cloister, hanging over a steep ravine, where weathered pink marble capitals, cut and carved into birds and monsters with meticulous precision, display traces of the Crusaders’ influence in their bearded Saracen figures. The grey slate simplicity of the 11thC church provides a powerful counterpoint to the exquisite vaulted tribune occupying the heart of the building. Carved into the stunning arrangement of rose-pink columns and pillars, lions and griffins, serpents and monkeys, centaurs and saints, battle it out in a welter of slavering jaws and exotic foliage.