October 12, 2020 by: Ben Heimsath

A few years ago, my wife and I stumbled upon a live broadcast of the Tour de France and have become fans. We only know a little about competitive bicycling but we’ve been captivated by gorgeous images of the French countryside, villages, and towns. We hope to visit some of the amazing places we’ve seen along the Tour.

Church Sketching Tour de France Notre Dame dOssau - Laruns Stage 9Covid has kept us at home this year and I've written about sketching and touring virtually during Covid. The 2020 Tour de France was a wonderful opportunity to follow the riders and draw interesting landmarks from each stage of the race, including churches.

I didn’t plan to sketch so many churches. The Tour de France website shows the route of each stage and has a feature on each town at the start and the end. I’d browse the route, walking virtually through segments of the race looking for images that might entice me if I were a tourist looking to fill my sketchbook.

After 21 stages, I have some great images from all over France. I also have a nice random sampling of churches in a wide variety of country villages and small towns. Nearly all of these churches are considered landmarks, though many had surprisingly little information on line. Those that have posted histories include several that date from the Middle Ages such as Saint Bonaventure in Lyon originally opened in 1327.

I have my favorites, but I really do hope to follow-up on these virtual visits and sketch every one of these churches in person!

Sacred Architecture/ Church Architecture