You know the Vendée, Noirmoutier island, part VI

Moving right alone on the trip to Noirmoutier island in the Vendée dept 85 of the Pays de la Loire region; this is part 6 of the series.

Today, I will show you the religious monuments of the city of Noirmoutier ,itself full of history. To recall the area tourist offices are:

You can meander thru the little tight streets  with a beach scent of the island and its white houses, colorful merchants and restaurants of all sorts but especially ,the sea. The season actually starts in April, and on the first day it was already packed. Talking with locals , we were told to rent in summer you need about a year in advance to get the best properties; it is very sought after here.

While walking alone the dam or digue out into the harbor and the salt and oyster beds we saw a small bell cross pointed within the houses towards town. We walk further towards it and found on a private road but accessible by the public a small Chapel right between the private homes. This is the Chapelle Notre Dame de la Pitié.

It was done in 1950 by the Abbey Raymond in order to honored the 1500 or 1800 soldiers of Charette leader of the counter French revolution who were executed here in 1794. These soldiers were taken prisoner in the church of St Philbert (see below) an taken here in groups of about 60 to be executed in what was a garbage dump place. Most of the soldiers were entered in the sand dunes around it.

Upon entering the Chapel you see the Cross of the Martyrs ,and inside the rock of pieta is from the 16C given by the Marquis de Chauvelin. Amongst the bones found are those now in an encased glass cabinet of the General D’Elbée executed by firing squad on January 7, 1794 ,he was the military chief of the counter revolutionaries in the Vendée region.   This is probably why there is not much info and nothing in the tourists office but here is a site on the period of counter revolution of the Vendée and the Chouans of Brittany, my area now. Of course, in French:

Just going over to the town, it was that time to finally eat something hot so we passed by the picturesque square or place Saint  Louis of many restos and we just pick by chance the Le Blé Noir II at 14 Place Saint Louis. Very friendly, and the waiter had lived in New York and London, so nice expat conversation indeed lol! Michel was a great topic of conversation and the food price/quality was excellent, the bill came to 25,50€ per person including 8 beers Licorne, 2 diabolo menthe drink, one galette chevrette or goat galette and one galette anglaise or English galette with bacon egg and fresh cream, 3 menus of 15,80€ entrée of fish soup, main dish Hake fish in a white sauce with shrimps, and two scoops of ice cream. Just lovely and a fair price for a chic upper island vacation spot!! no webpage just mentioned in the help pages I used in my blog roll as well :

Now much better equipped ::) we continue our walks into the main Church in town, that of one its founders Saint Philbert; a great travelers born in the Gers around 616AD; he became a monk at the age of 20. After many bad adventures and even prison he ends up here to found a  monastery. He encouraged the cultivation of salt and creates dams to protect the harbor. He died in 685AD and his body was placed in the crypt of the Church for several centuries. It now only remained a phalanx in a ossuary in the crypt of the Church ; that now bears his name as many other buildings in the island.

The Church of Saint Philbert is just next to the castle (more later in last post); on the square or place d’Armes. The church of a Roman style enclosed in a model frigate or boat. In the Choir of the Church in the crypt laid his body from 690 to 836; it now has some relics of the Saint.

More on the Church from the tourist office here:

And from the Catholic diocese in French :

A better description beyond the tourist office is here:

The Church Saint-Philbert is in the spot of an Abbey founded in 677. It was plundered by the Saracens in the 8C and then burnt by the Normans in 846. It was then rebuilt at the end of the 11C on the original Chapel, which is the current crypt, only the choir and the nave. The end of the 14C  to the 17C , the  left and right nave were taken down, it was consecrated in 1849.  The bell tower is neo-Roman, and  it was built in 1875 to replace the former bell tower which had been destroyed by a fire in 1848. Inside we can admire a model of a frigate, made by an artisan watchmaker of the village in 1802 for Auguste JacobsenThe crypt: it is located under the choir, she welcomed the body of St. Philbert between 690 and 836, date at which he was transferred to Saint-Philbert-de-Grand-Lieu, then to Tournus where the monks had fled after the invasions of Normandy in 875.  A  chasse on the altar contains some relics of the saint, transferred in 1863 date that this crypt was restoredThe Merovingian crypt where rested Saint Philbert is what remains of the Abbey destroyed by the Normans. Indeed the Abbey that stretched to the location of the Church and the castle was never relieved within its walls once the monks fled the occupation of the Vikings who had made the island their rear base for their raids on the Loire. Only a Priory was restored which became the Church as we know itThe stained glass windows of the nave tell of Saint Philbert: the former Abbey, the Castle, the arms of the Abbey and of the other side four steps and foundations of Philbert: Jumièges, Saint Philbert de Grandlieu, Cunault and TournusThe altarpiece Sainte Marie is the oldest altarpiece of the Church, and the most richly decorated. You can admire the garlands of roses and Sun carved in stoneThe retable of the altar of St. Anne was built in 1711.
Indeed a wonderful Church that must be visited and admire. You are just across from the castle and we found free parking right in front of the Church. Enjoy Noirmoutier another jewel in my belle France!
Enjoy your Sunday y’all, cheers
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