Before we left the region we wanted to see Sant Francesc d’Araós, a small eleventh century Romanesque chapel. We left our campground in Llavorsí and cycled along the C-381 to Araós. The road follows two rivers, la Noguera de Cardos and la Noguera de Vallferrera, so the grade is fairly gentle. We rode into Araós and were able to find the road which headed west to Sant Francesc which is about a half kilometer out of town.
Sant Francesc d’Araós is a simple, rustic chapel made of stone and held together with mud and lime mortar. We were able to enter freely and found that someone had painted the Prayer of Saint Francis on a piece of slate:
Make me an instrument of peace
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, let me put pardon.
Where there is doubt, let me put faith.
Where there is despair, let me put light.
Where there is sadness, let me put joy.
Oh Master, make me want to comfort rather than being comforted.
Saint Francis of Assisi
The chapel has a roof of wooden beams covered with slate which I find very attractive. The entrance, which is to the east (the pictures were taken at about 10:30 in the morning), has a remarkable horseshoe arch (arc de ferradura). I found this puzzling at first but decided that what is now a door was originally a triumphal arch between the nave and an apse which has since been destroyed. The horseshoe arch and apse were probably tenth century and the nave early eleventh century. This is also suggested by the stonework on the south wall which is in a style known either as “opus spicatum” (Latin for “pointed work”) or “espiga de blat” (Catalan for “ear of wheat”) in which the stones form a zig-zag pattern. We refered to it as “herringbone”. The original door was probably originally in the south or west wall and has been sealed off.
Ellem wamted to sketch the chapel and we were happy in this secluded location so I amused myself by making a panorama which we use as one of the banners on this blog.
We returned to the campground and spent the rest of the daytrying to decide where we should go next, did laundry, and had a drink in the bar.