Abandoned since the 1950′s, the church is an empty shell with no plumbing or utilities to speak of – a single electric cable strung from the road provides for the bare necessities.
Inside the scene was ephemeral; dark corners lit up by a fire burning in the nave while driving sleet drew heavy curtains over the exposed doorways and shelled out window frames. I closed my eyes and imagined a medieval cloister.
In fact, I learned the property and the town of Lavancia-Épercy are steeped in more recent history.
On July 12, 1944, the occupying Nazi Army burned the town to the ground in reprisal for actions by French Resistance in the area. The only building spared was the church. The village was subsequently rebuilt but moved to a more favourable location and the church fell into disuse.
Today, new homes have strayed from the town centre and sprung up around the church like runaway vines. Seeing the new life being pumped back into the heart of the old village is like reading a time capsule in reverse.