Church of Saint Nicolas, Blois!

So let me bring you out of the Paris/Versailles wonderful combination and my Brittany. The country is awesome, no wonder is No 1 visited country in the world since 1949 according to the WTO-UN studies. I like to bring you to an area of much fanfare and visits very popular and one of its most emblematic castle.

Oh did I say castle, well that was another post. The city of Blois is loaded with goodies to see and do, and I like to bring you up to date with the Church of Saint Nicolas of Blois.

Saint-Nicolas-Saint-Laumer Church is located in Blois, department of Loir-et-Cher no 41 ,in the Centre-Val de Loire region of France. It was originally the abbey church of a monastery built in the 12C. It takes the name of the founder of this abbey, Saint Laumer. Its construction began in the 12C. The choir, the transept and the first span of the nave are built from 1138 to 1186. The Church is finished at the beginning of the 13C. The Church is in the Middle Ages an important place of pilgrimage. It is indeed home to several relics: Saint Lubin, Saint Laumer, Holy Mary the Egyptian and a fragment of the Cross of Christ.


A bit of history I like

The Church of St. Nicolas as said dates back to the 12C. Fleeing the Vikings, Benedictine monks from the monastery of Corbion in the Perche area, find refuge in Blois in 924. In the 12C, they built a monastery there. Their abbey church will be the Church of Saint-Laumer, the name of the founder of their first monastery. And from this founder, they took away the relics. The real name of St. Nicholas is thus Saint-Laumer. From 1138 to 1186, the first part of Saint-Laumer was built: choir, transept and first span of the nave. The remainder was completed at the beginning of the next century. With the wars of Religion, the church was damaged by the Protestants and the abbey destroyed. The latter was rebuilt in the 17-18C. At the French revolution, Saint-Laumer became the Hôtel-Dieu (hospital).

In the Middle Ages, the Church was an important place of pilgrimage to the relics it houses: Saint Lubin, Saint Laumer, Holy Mary the Egyptian and a fragment of the Cross of Christ. The pilgrimage to Saint Marcou will take shape in the French revolution. The Church of Saint-Nicolas is a magnificent Romanesque church: the three levels of elevation of the nave are of flawless purity, the interior architecture of the transepts is very harmonious. In the ambulatory and the radiant chapels, the contemporary stained-glass windows create a unique atmosphere, bathed in a yellow or blue light, peculiar to meditation.  When you see the Church from the left bank of the Loire river , it is almost taken for a building of the 19C with two towers on the façade, a steeple above the crossroads of the transept, the sober walls, combining rigour and robustness as thus worked the Benedictines monks.

At the front façade to the right you see on the main gate built between 1186 and 1120. The archivolt consists of three character covings. Originally, the gate was surrounded by six statues, now extinct. On the left, the majestic nave gives an impression of grandeur. That the narrowness of the spans still accentuates. Everything is coordinated so that the prayers rise to the sky without hindrance.  The western façade is like no other: The three gates are dissimilar and surmounted by an elegant gallery of arches that stretches over the entire width of the façade.

The choir of St. Nicolas in all its Romanesque purity. The semi-circular apse is supported by six pillars with marquees. The second level consists of blind arches in broken arc, while the third one receives five windows of Max Ingrand in large openings. The stained glass windows at the Abbey Saint-Nicolas , in the aftermath WWII, the stained glass windows of St. Nicholas Church are to be rebuilt. From 1947, the iconographic programme of the new canopies was established with the agreement of the Religious Art commission of the Diocese of Blois. It will pay homage to the patron Saints of the Church/abbey, to those who had relics, without forgetting the coats of arms of the abbots of the Blésoises abbeys. In 1968, the nave was completed.



The Chapel of Saint-Laumer is the chapel of the baptismal font. The Chapel of the Virgin replaced, in the 14C by an ancient Romanesque chapel. The beautiful sculpture of the Assumption dating from 1672, which stands out in a very happy way on the unfigurative stained glass of the Chevalier, and the Dome of St. Nicholas is an architectural curiosity. It is adorned with niches housing-in theory-statues of Saints or Bishops. Its eight warheads converge towards the central Oculus. Since it has only four openings, it is quite dark.




Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

Tourist office of Blois on St Nicholas Church

Tourist office of the Loire Valley on St Nicholas Church

Hope you enjoy this Church, other than the Cathedral and another (see next post) are the best religious buildings in town me think. Fully enjoyable Blois.

And remember, happy travels ,good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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