10. Villarencel Chapel

© DR

The commune of Saint Martin de Belleville had 22 hamlets, almost all of which have their own chapel. The Villarencel Chapel is dedicated to Saint François de Sales.

In the olden days the village of Villarencel was separated from Saint Martin by a small valley, void of construction due to the avalanche risk. The replanting of trees higher up on this valley countered this avalanche risk and permitted the junction of the two villages.

The village chapels were reserved for Sunday evening prayers, and not for the main Mass which always took place in the Parish Church. A celebration could also be held for the Vogue, a fête for the Patron Saint of the chapel. The Villarencel Chapel is dedicated to Saint François de Sales (1567-1622), very popular in the Savoy as he was born into a noble Savoyard family. He was ordained bishop of Geneva but worked his ministry in Annecy, as Geneva had moved over to Calvinism.

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