The Good Friday service in the ski resort of Val Cenis – in France

At Easter I spent a few days ski-ing with the family in the French Alpine resort of Val Cenis. As I’m not that great a ski-ier I spent some time wandering around the older part of the traditional mountain village, away from the ski-slopes.

The village church at Val Cenis in France

The village church at Val Cenis in France

As I passed by, I noticed that the old church at the heart of the village was open and being a fan of old churches, popped in to have a look around. It had a beautiful interior with lovely painted plasterwork and gilding. As I sat there quietly reflecting I realised that more and more people were coming to attend the Stations of the Cross service for Good Friday. I was greeted warmly and given a service sheet, so I hardly felt I could leave at that moment. Although I’m a good Catholic girl, in the ski holiday mindset, I’d completely forgotten that it was Good Friday.

Most of the parishoners were older locals but there was one young family with three beautifully turned out children. During the service the congregation walked around the church, stopping at each of the stations of the cross and reading the story from the gospels of what had happened to Jesus at that point on his journey to his crucifiction. It was touching to see the older lady leading the service bringing the children to the front and taking great care to explain to them the story. The small village school was right next to the church and I expect that as in many rural parts of France, families with children are welcomed to keep the village alive.

It was a glimpse of the alternative life of the village that continues when the ski-ers have gone home.

This post is part of Photo Friday – head over to Delicious Baby to see all the other Friday Photos.

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See my Photos of Val Cenis on Flickr

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  • Tim Marks
    May 22, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    This is neat. I like the contrast between the old church architecture and the more modern pews. Getting out of the tourist area and into the events and lives of the locals is something I need to do more of when I’m on vacation.

  • Amy @ The Q Family
    May 22, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    What a beautiful shot!! That’s so neat that you got a real glimpse of the life in the village.

  • Wanderluster
    May 22, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    Spectacular photo! It’s often difficult to get such detail in a church.

  • Mara
    May 22, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    I LOVE this kind of experience where the unexpected happens and you just go with it. Beautiful picture too.

  • marina k. villatoro
    May 22, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    I used to be a die hard skier, but now I prefer to walk around the towns too! Wow, not many people worshipping. If you go to Guatemala, there is a line out of the city’s limits. It’s as though everyone has to show how holy they are:) However, their churches aren’t as elegant.

    Photo Frida – Guatemala Zoo will surprise you!

  • soultravelers3
    May 23, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    Beautiful shot! I love wandering and popping into little churches and fun nooks too!

  • Lorraine
    May 25, 2009 at 5:01 am

    What an interior. It looks like it can be in Paris or Rome, let alone a little ski village. Maybe I need to live in a village.

  • Dominique
    May 25, 2009 at 11:43 pm

    I love those unexpected pleasures that occur when you have the time and are open to them.
    Beautiful shot of the warm and glowing church, too.

  • kids wall art
    May 26, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    That is an amazing church! I would love to travel more…I sure love history. Just the older buildings in the east really touch me and especially all the old cemeteries.
    Keep traveling…your pictures are great for those of us who really long to get out there!

  • Heather Cowper
    May 26, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    Thanks for all the comments – when you see an open door, it’s definitely worth peeping inside!

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