Parfondeval Église Saint-Médard

What you need to know about this church

Église Saint-Médard

Where to find this church

Church Information

Église Saint-Médard is located in Parfondeval, a village with 139 inhabitants about 6 km east of Rozoy-sur-Serre in the Département Aisne in the région Hauts-de-France.

The church is open every day

This church was listed as a historical monument in 1995

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Parfondeval Église Saint-Médard
Church in the village
Entrance portal

Visiting Église Saint-Médard

The church of Saint-Médard in Parfondeval is one of the most accessible of the fortified churches in the Thiérache. The village also belongs to the group of “plus beaux villages de France”, the “most beautiful villages in France”, although unfortunately this distinction was not apparent to us during our visit. Saint-Medard is really worth seeing, however, and for my taste the fortified church with the most beautiful interior. But first things first.

The church was built of brick in the 16th century; a first special feature is its location literally in the middle of the village: around the church, houses of the same construction form a continuous town wall. The church portal can only be reached by passing under a small pavilion that forms a vestibule and may have been part of the former rectory.

The Renaissance portal is made of white stone and opens onto the nave. Two round-arched doors, a pediment and three niches, whose statues disappeared during the Revolution, make up this extraordinary 17th century ensemble.
The squat, square keep of Saint-Médard has a whole series of defensive elements, including two round towers to the right and left of the portal, equipped with embrasures. Their opening and inclination made it possible to hit attackers from the widest possible shooting angle.

The archway connecting these two beautiful brick cylinders is equipped with a murder hole from which projectiles could be thrown at the attacker.

The keep is crowned by a modern bell tower, which was not part of the original construction. Date of restoration on the keep: 1760.

The two towers that once flanked the choir are now gone, the stones having been used to build side aisles in 1779.

Inside, the church has a beautiful – if not the most beautiful of all the fortified churches in the region – atmosphere: the ceiling supported by four oak pillars is particularly worth seeing.

The fortress character of Saint-Médard is most evident in the upper levels of the keep, which are open to the public.

Above the entrance hall is a 7 m x 7 m, 5 m high restored Gothic-style escape room. Before the Revolution, a priest is said to have lived in this room: It is called the “Chambre Caronnet”.

A multimedia show can be seen and, above all, heard here, which we found somewhat disturbing during the visit, especially when you are down in the church and don’t initially know where the noise is coming from. But the information content is very good.

This is one of the fortified churches of the Thiérache that should definitely be on your list.

View into the nave
View into the escape room