Chapel of Notre Dame de Grâce, Honfleur!

And on my continuing tour of the special ocean city of Honfleur, I come to our utmost favorite. This is without much , the Chapel of Notre Dame de Grâce. A family tradition that with the busy lives sometimes we missed ,but we do come often.

This is the oldest tradition here, and when you are in a traditional Norman town, the oldest have a greater meaning. We love it, enough said.

This is my previous blog post on the Sailors festival here and talk about Our Lady of Grace. https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2013/05/21/honfleur-fete-des-marins/

And a bit more on Notre Dame and Sailors festival in another post I like here: https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/07/03/honfleur-in-normandy-and-the-sea/

And now let me give you a bit of history and the latest photos of the Chapelle Notre Dame de Grâce or Our Lady of Grace Chapel.

The Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Grâce is a Catholic chapel located in Équemauville, part of the town of Honfleur in the department 14 Calvados in the region of Normandy. You have faith or come by car as it is very hilly to get to the Chapel in the village .

Honfleur

The Notre-Dame de Grace Chapel is built in 1600-1615 (on land given by Madame de Montpensier) by the burghers and sailors of Honfleur at the site of an old chapel that disappeared in a landslide of the cliff in 1538. This primitive chapel was founded before the year 1023 by Richard II, then duke of Normandy to fulfill a vow made during a storm in which he had almost perished. Since then, the cult of Our Lady of Grace has been perpetuated. It was at this time that the Capuchin fathers planted a wooden cross to indicate the location of the old chapel, a cross that was about thirty meters from the present Calvary. It housed many ex-votos, model boats and an organ made by the organ factor Dupont in 1990. On the outside, on the left, you can see the bells of the pilgrimages.

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The interior consists of a small nave, richly decorated and two transepts; The one on the left is devoted to the Norman settlers who settled in Canada, the one on the right is dedicated to St. Teresa of the Child Jesus of Lisieux. The canopies relate the history of the chapel. By a writ of 1912, the chapter of Saint Peter of Rome awarded the Golden Crown to the statue of Our Lady of Grace and it was in June 1913 that the solemn feasts of the coronation of Our Lady of Grace were celebrated.

You can see the statue of Saint Peter in the choir of the Chapel; A statue of St. Anne bearing Mary and the Child Jesus and a statue of Saint Joseph in wood dating from the 18C. Many marble plaques and paintings perpetuate the memory of famous people who came to this chapel: Samuel de Champlain, Pierre Berthelot, king Louis XIII, Napoleon Ier,  and Saint Theresa of Lisieux.

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There was this first episode narrated from the city of Lisieux, ravaged by the plague in 1624, which was delivered after its officials and religious leaders had made a vow to Our Lady of Grace. Indeed, as a child, Saint Teresa of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face came, being a child, several times to Honfleur with her family, on a pilgrimage to the Virgin Mary, to the Chapel of Our Lady of Grace. It was here that little Thérèse Martin took the decision to go to the Holy Father in Rome to asked  him for the exceptional permission to enter the convent before the minimum age required. This is why a relic of St. Teresa of the Child Jesus is now in Honfleur.  It is further noted that Athalie and Désirée Gosselin, two sisters, took to the Chapel of Our Lady of Grace the decision to have a Carmel built in Lisieux, after, because of their fragile health, they could not be admitted to the Carmel of Pont-Audemer. It was precisely in this same Carmel that little Thérèse entered, in 1888.

Honfleur

There is a great Festival of the Marines or Sailors’s Festival on the weekend of Whit Sunday or Fête des Marins. This is taken place here since 1861.This festival is a gathering of all those whose lives are linked to the sea. All kinds of craft gather in the Seine estuary for a benediction to remember the dead and to bless the boats.  On Whit Monday a procession including sailors and their families, carrying model ships, winds its way in pilgrimage from the town center to the Chapel of Notre Dame de Grâce where an outdoor Mass is celebrated, at across from the Chapel there is a smaller one where the Bishop presides the Mass. During this weekend, a fair visits the town and the Société des Marins organises an exhibition and concerts in the Greniers à Sel and concerts in tribute to fellow seamen. One can admire a picturesque procession of the models boats carried by the children from the Church of Saint Catherine (see previous post) to the Chapel of Notre-Dame of Grace. Magical fairy tail.

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Some webpages to help you plan your trip here in addition to my posts are

Tourist office of Honfleur: http://www.honfleur-tourism.co.uk/discover/surrounded-by-nature/cote-de-grace/

Tourist office of Calvados dept 14: https://www.calvados-tourisme.co.uk/diffusio/en/discover/sites-monuments/religious-heritage/honfleur/chapel-of-notre-dame-de-grace_TFOPCUNOR014FS0007H.php

Tourist office of the Normandy region: http://en.normandie-tourisme.fr/pcu/chapel-of-notre-dame-de-grace/honfleur/fiche-PCUNOR014FS0007H-2.html?iDD=6

It is magical to go up the hill and from there look over the ocean, the city, the Cross of Christ and on the other side Le Havre! At nighttime is awesome for the romantics especially.

 

 

Enjoy Honfleur! as we do.  And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

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