Saint-restitut, inhabited since the Neolithic era, saw initially
following one another the Ligurians and the Celts. Among them,
Tricastres or Tricastins which means as a Celt “Country of Pierre
In the Middle Ages, the village is quoted in the acts of precarious of year 993 and in 1108.
In 1449, Louis XI still dolphin came in pilgrimage to the tomb from Saint-Restitut. He left present of a great richness. The village was famous for its supposed miraculous source to cure the diseases of the eyes.
Before the Revolution, the village was a episcopal ground depending directly on the bishop of Saint-Paul-Three-Castles. It was, probably like Saint-Paul-Three-Castles, in the past Roman.
It was known as at the Average Age, that the saint who gave his name to Saint-Restitut was blind man-born Gospel of which Christ opened the eyes and who, in remembering the miracle, took the name of Restitut: RESTITUTUS EAST I.E.(INTERNAL EXCITATION) VISUS. The heinous Jews deposited it; with Lazare, Madeleine, Marthe, Trophime and other disciples of Christ on a wherry without oar nor veil intended to absorb itself in the sea. But God guided the frail boat towards Provence, to the edge of the city of Arles. From there Saint Restitut gained the desert; then, he became bishop of Saint-Paul-Three-Castles.
Saint Restitut was undoubtedly one of the first bishops of Tricastin. It is about certain that, originally, the body of the saint rested in the crypt of the tower called for that “funerary”. In 1249, the Laurent bishop made him build a splendid marble sepulchre.
the date of its episcopate, the antiquity of its worship and a church
where one requested is not doubtful. The tower would be, itself,
former. Indeed, one notes a lack of unit in the construction industry.
The weak parts would go up with Xe century, whereas construction in
cupola of the higher parts would be contemporary church. The obvious
proof of its anteriority lies in the fact that the plank carved on its
four faces is masked with the angles on the side east by the church
which is assistant there.
The church accepted illustrates it visit of Louis XI, large amateur of pilgrimage which left present of a great richness. It was classified historic building in May 1840 on the authorities of Prosper Mérimée.
to a very curious legend of the saint, preserved by two manuscripts of
XVe century, it has the charm and the anachronism of the Golden Legend.
Here origins of the church of Saint-Restitut: the vault would have
contained the body of blind man-born cured by Jesus-Christ, who would
have changed her name of Sidoine into that of Restitut and would have
become bishop of Saint-Paul.
The bishop of Three-Castles had multiplied the wonders among his people. However it learned that, on the mountain, in Longueville, much did not believe in Christ. There it there went and triumphed over incredulity by restoring an eye with a poor fellow, and remained, preaching, confessing, during long years, as if there were his episcopal see. It built there a church in the honor of the virgin.
to this one a fountain similar to that of Siloé ran where its eyes had
seen. Crowd of patients, who washed the eyes there, was cured. Then,
Restitut decided to build another church connected to the church of the
virgin: CONJUNCTAMQUE COLLATERATAM; it traced some, itself, dimensions.
Afterwards many days, it undertook an excessively pious person
pilgrimage in Rome.
Making way, it converts the whole city of Alba and it died there. It had prescribed with its servants to bring back his body in Gaule and to give him the burial not far from its episcopal city, with the East, where it had ordered to build a church and had marked dimensions which it would have.
What took place. The body of the saint was buried in the church which it had not been able to complete of sound living and which, died, it finished in the middle of resplendissement miracles ". Thus, at the end of the Average Age, one explained by this text the history of the village and consequently one went back the church and the tower to Saint-Restitut.
But the date of the foundation of the vault raises a problem of most complex on which the archaeologists are far from agreeing and the date either of IVème in VIème century, or in IXème, or still for XIIème. The significance of the figures composing the plank which extends on its frontages also is very discussed. One notices there in particular ass a playing of the violin, the basil of old, animal hybrid having the body of a cock and the tail of a reptile.
We have more historical information on the church. The date of 1249 marking the construction of the tomb. The presence, probably, of the sculptors of the building site of the nave of the cathedral of Saint-Paul-Three-Castles, gives to allot the construction of the apse to the last third or quarter of XIIe century, and establishes the relative anteriority of the various stages of construction of the nave. In the staircase, we read once: MAISTER; what undoubtedly appoints the “project superintendent”, probable predecessor of “Master” Giraud de Clermont who, in 1249, built the tomb of Saint-Restitut. We also have another manuscript on the saint dating from XIe century, preserved at the national library.
Finally two inscriptions, the first found by levelling the place of the church - old cemetery - and embedded on the interior walls of the porch, point out obits or foundations of masses. That on the left of the capital with bearded heads marks the obit of the Arnaud priest; it could be of XIe century, and on the right the obit of the Ricard knight. The second inscription, of most important, had been discovered in 1844 among the debris of the tomb of the saint. It is a white marble plate, unfortunately mutilated, carrying the date of 549 mentioning the death of a child regenerated by the water of the baptism. Consequently, in the middle of the Life century a church existed. But it was probably destroyed.
The current church, during centuries, had to undergo transformations without counting the bad weather as well as the “leprosy of the stone”. In 1840, Misters Chevillet and Epailly, architects of Valence, wrote on the occasion a report on the state of the monument. Work of restoration was entrusted to the architect Charles Questel - already restorer of the cathedral of Saint-Paul-Three-Castles -.
We will not enumerate all the interventions but we can note the restoration of: the roof, the columns, the cornices, the openings of the bottom of the apse, the porch, the crypt which became vault of the baptismal funds; as well as the addition of the stained glasses of the chorus. From this same time the excavations in the name of the bishop go back to Valence, the Canon canon, cleaned Saint-Paul-Three-Castles in 1844.
The central body is composed of a nave divided into three spans and of a chorus with semicircular inside and pentagonal apse outside. Perfectly directed, it measures 22,40 meters out of 9,10 meters and rises up to 12,50 meters. It is built out of average and regular apparatus with step or few drudges contrary to that of Saint-Paul-Three-Castles. The vault is in cradle broken like the majority of the churches of Romance style of Provence. The bedside, whose triumphal arch is flattened, preserves a vault in half dome, decorated with four flat stringcourses and bordered of a cord with palmettes. The columns are decorated with foliage and volutes with a very developed abacus decorated mouldings or sheets.
Two of them show with the angles human masks. The side walls of the nave accomodate large arcades with projection. Their transoms are profiled except the first on the northern side which is decorated sheets of acanthuses or rows of pearls, oves and channels rounded. One cannot prevent oneself from noting a very strong ancient influence appearing by an abundant vegetable decoration. Two bays and oculus inform the building on the wall of the apse and the wall southern.
Outside, the building is reinforced by buttresses. The northern wall, without cover, gives the impression of a fortress. Against the southernmost wall another smaller tower, built at the same time as the church, containing the spiral staircase which leads on the first floor of the tower and the bell-tower.
porch, located on the southern wall, marks separation between the first
and second span. The architectural old monument and art lovers
recognize all the value and the beauty of this part of the church of
Saint-Restitut. According to the Jouve canon, who studied it and
described at last century, the porch would be a re-employment coming
from other surrounding buildings employed like plating with the
interior decoration of this porch. This is only one assumption, however
remains undeniable the influence of art gréco-Roman. An arc with double
roller is retained by two bracket supports. The porch points out the
ancient temple with its triangular pediment carried by two grooved
semi-columns with barrel and capitals Corinthian. A decoration very
antiquisant with cornice, entablature with architrave, dentils, pearls,
oves and finally a net of sheets of acanthuses at the ends falling and
Greek on the stringcourse.
Crawling of the pediment received same decoration as with Our-Lady-of-Doms with a margin of few things. The imitation of antiquity is so faithful that the sculptor cut his capitals in two sat, thing which the Romans rather often made, but who was rare at the Average Age. The porch is arched in cradle. At the bottom, one finds the only door intended for faithful with his relieving arch retained by posts to Corinthian capitals of which that of left, with the bearded heads, is admirably treated. The tympanum is naked. On the interior wall the two already evoked inscriptions of first half of XIIIe century are.
The crowned bedside of a pediment presents also a harmony and an architectural beauty. The two buttresses advance and finish of a half-triangle with a projecting cornice like a temple. Each angle of the apse is marked of a pilaster with capitals, once again, Corinthians. On each one of their angles, a head of lion advances. The cornice is projecting, decorated with palmettes in a throat supported by let us modillons with human heads which grimacent or of the heads of animals. The intervals of let us modillons are furnished with rosettes, palmettes and lancéolées sheets.
The funerary tower
is a square building of 8 meters side and 9 meters height to its plank.
The base of the tower is crowned of a plank made up of small subjects
with weak relief. The higher part is posed in withdrawal and a little
in skew. Built in average apparatus, it is decorated sizes and dotted
lines like the beautiful monuments of XIIe century. One raises three
times there the name of VGO with one G in sickle which one finds twice
inside. Let us note that this name is also engraved in the stone of the
cathedral of Vaison like with Our-Lady-in Aubune, or with the vault of
St Sepulchre in Beaumont in the Vaucluse and the crypt of the cathedral
of Apt, this last time followed by an inscription, probably “ME FECIT”.
Perhaps let us be us as Mr. Revoil in the presence of one only “stone
Master affirms it”: VGO. At the top, a bell-tower in arcade, laid out
afterwards in fortress. It is dedicated, as in the legend with the
Virgin. The bells date from XVIIIe and XIXe century.
Inside it is composed of a crypt arched in cradle communicating with the nave by a broad arcade in semicircular arch. The crypt contains the small Gothic building of the chorus transferred to the XIXe century. It was high in 1516 on the remainders of Restitut Saint. On the floor, the walls north and south contain a relieving arch. The walls were filled by remainders of tombs of the old cemetery. One sees two remains of monument (fall or sarcophagus) cut in a stone blanchâtre resembling marble and which is not found in the remainder of the church. One distinguishes there from the interlacings, of the rosettes, four stylized palm trees, and two faced tigers with accentuated mouchetures. The cornices of the platform are decorated. With the walls north and south, that of in bottom of star rosettes like the cornice external of the tower; that of in top the rinceaux one with foliages. With the walls is and western they are sheets stylized in squares or other geometrical figures. Above the archivolts, a setback, then the walls are in small apparatuses to the first cornice, that of the primitive tower, with 6,14 meters height. Then comes then an average apparatus, of high part, with 1,50 meters of this cornice. Then the passage of a square plan to a cupola on horn built in small very regular apparatus. Stringcourses of a weak relief mark the division of the octagone, at the base, and will meet around a key with in the center a oculus from approximately 1 meter diameter, currently stopped.
The bands out of réticulé apparatus with incrustations of bricks or mortar reds, which frame a notable portion of the plank, are not the undeniable index of a high antiquity. The réticulé apparatus, already known under the Romans, was used at least until XIIe century. The base of the tower at its four dissimilar sides. The northern wall is in small apparatus of antiquated appearance. However, J. Labande  note of constructions similar to Xe century and beginning XIe century. The western wall cut in embossing, out of not very regular, means in bottom and small apparatus in top; the southern wall, in average about regular apparatus, the only one which has marks of drudges, are not completely contemporary. Southern and western walls, separated by an interval from time that it is possible to evaluate, one could be contemporary plank. Both are former to the Eastern wall whose construction approaches that of the high part of the tower and who is undoubtedly the work of the same architect. A hardcore carries letters VG of the name of VGO which is read in the high part.
In fact, the unit of construction misses with the tower. It was the object of recoveries which can spread out beginning of XIe at the end of XIIe century. Built, according to the history, on the tomb of the protective saint as the “basilica of Base” is built on the tomb of St François; it is known as “funerary turn” or “funerary vault”. Because of this stage and its cupola it is difficult to give him another raison d'être. On this question, unfortunately the documents remain not very explicit. And if ever the body of the saint had not been transferred from the crypt in the church, could one put forth the assumption that the tower was initially a baptistry? A drawing of the architect C. Questel, about which speaks L. Main, indicates, in the middle of the crypt, the opening of a well now disappeared. This information would tally with the assumption of a baptistry.
finish, let us return to the plank in order to briefly present it. It
is composed of a juxtaposition of carved flagstones. The subjects are a
uniform height of 0,44 meter, except the central subject of 0,55 meter:
Christ in majesty. As one can see it on the list which follows, the
topics are varied: fantastic animals, knights, zodiacaux signs, faced
trades, trees, animals, the Paschal lamb, and finally a topic probably
eschatologic. The flagstones are cut out of basin, encircled of a large
edging forming a framework enclosing the figure. The whole plank is
framed narrow bands out of réticulé apparatus, with incrustations of
bricks or mortar as we already pointed out. Often described it dated
forever with certainty.
Above, a cornice is decorated on its bevel with a line with pink with eight petals. Encrusted in the stone, this stringcourse seems to underline architecture like an ECRIN. However, even if we cannot speak yet about iconographic program in XIe century, this plank seems the juxtaposition of symbols, of religious or profane images characterizing the Romance spirit.