Detour Worth Making: The Underground Church of Saint-Jean at Aubeterre-sur-Dronne

AubeterreIn south-central France, close to the Perigord — one of Europe’s wildest spots — lies the village of Aubeterre. Though the village itself is beautiful — featuring winding cobbled alleys and verdant landscapes, just how you’d imagine a rural French village would look — the most impressive feature in the community lies semi-hidden underground. Hand-hewn from the surrounding rock, a subterranean cavern rests beneath the Church of Saint-Jean.

Centuries old, the glorious cathedral-like structure — 88 feet long and 52 feet wide — features arched ceilings more than 60 feet high. Interestingly, in 1958, locals discovered a necropolis containing more than 80 sarcophagi, hollowed out of the floor.

You can visit the underground church 7 days a week, from 9.30 to 6.00 pm (the church closes at midday). If you can’t make it to France, you can still check out some awesome images of the place. I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of work that went into hollowing out such a large space.