When Louis IX ransomed the Crown of Thorns from Baldwin II in Constantinople in the middle of the 13th century, the precious relic was transferred by two Dominican monks to the city of Villeneuve-l’Archeveque in France. A small, undistinguished Gothic church formed the background for the reception of this holy relic into the royal domain. A Gothic tympanum featuring the Coronation of the Virgin concealed some subtle iconographic hints aimed at the saintly ruler suggesting that an influx of royal money would not be rejected. Apparently the profusion of crowns and images of Largesse were too subtle, for the church remains truly unremarkable but graced with a beautiful Gothic portal. It is, in other words, a one portal town. I have always identified with this Gothic story and thus begin my blog in honor of all one portal towns.

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