Collegiale Church Notre Dame of Poissy!

So I am back to familiar territory in the region of Ile de France! and department 78 of the Yvelines!! Well ,I have written a lot on the city of Poissy in my blog but glancing over it seems was all very general . I need to start remedying that now.

I like to start by telling you a bit more of the Collegiale Church Notre Dame of Poissy. First of all, very easy to get to from Paris on the RER A line and once there go out station turn right and walk up the street ,you will see the big Gothic Church in front of you! Never time it ,but should be less than 10 minutes walking. This will be a long post sorry, but the place merits it, and I even cut a lot, so its the best possible condensed post I can do. Enjoy it, it is very nice indeed.

Notre-Dame Collegiale Church  is a parish Catholic Church located in Poissy, department no 78, Yvelines,of the Ïle de France region. It was founded by King Robert the Pious around 1016, but from the 11C church, only the western steeple-porch survives. Indeed, the Collegiate Church was rebuilt from the beginning of the 12C, in particular between 1130 and 1160, in the late Romanesque style, and later in the primitive Gothic style, which manifests itself in the eastern parts. The future king Louis IX (Saint Louis) was baptized, a few days after his birth in Poissy, on April 25, 1214. This event is the celebrity of the Church, and the baptismal fonts of that time are still preserved there. Although it has undergone numerous transformations and restorations since its construction in the 12C, this Church is not only the richest monument of the city’s heritage, but also remains one of the few witnesses to the development of Romanesque art and its transition to Gothic art. The Church bears the name of Collegiale because it housed a college of canons until the French revolution. It was the object of several restoration campaigns in the 19C, notably by Viollet-le-Duc.

poissy

poissy

A bit of history I like

The Church may be a successor to a first Merovingian cult Site, of which they  have found numerous fragments of stone cutters, capitals and bases at 60 cm below the paving. However, the base seems rather Roman, but the base could actually go back to the 7C. The Church had in any case been founded by King Robert the Pious around 1016.  Few episodes of the history of the Collegiate Church are known, the most important of which is the baptism of St. Louis, a few days after his birth on April 25, 1214, in Poissy. The baptismal fonts used at this Christening took the status of a relic after the canonization of Saint Louis in 1297. They have always been respected, but the numerous samplings of fragments to provide relics necessitated a profound restoration in 1630, an occasion to which they were brought back to the Saint-Louis Chapel, where they see themselves behind a grid. Saint-Louis never forgot the Church where he had been baptized, and founded a Mass for the birthday of his parents in 1238, then a Chapel in 1250. The first priest was installed , it was Mathurin Giquerel, Doctor of Theology of the Sorbonne, a dignified and virtuous man of Breton origin. The chapter experienced only an important reform during its long existence, and continued until the French revolution. Under the whole of the old regime (royals) , Poissy was the seat of the archdeaconry of the Pincers’ of the Diocese of Chartres, and the Collegiate Church of Notre-Dame its spiritual center. The Church was reportedly burned during the Hundred Years ‘ War, and was partly rebuilt and enlarged in the late 15C and 16C. During the second War of Religion, in 1567, the Church was ravaged by the Huguenots, and to escape, inhabitants were forced to take refuge in the attic for more than two weeks. Some changes have been made to the classical period, but little is left. On the eve of the French revolution, the chapter was abolished and the Church soon closed to worship, and the Church of the Saint-Louis Priory  became the only parish Church in the city, except during the prohibition of worship under the reign of terror in the French revolution. With the Concordat (ending the terrors of the French revolution) of 1801, Poissy was integrated into the new diocese of Versailles, corresponding to the old department of Seine-et-Oise (now Yvelines mostly).

Poissy

poissy

A bit brief on the construction of the Collegiale Church of Notre Dame. It is irregularly oriented towards the southwest on the side of the façade, the Church consists mainly of a central vessel of six long bar spans, accompanied by aisles and Chapels or other annexes; Of a five-pans apse; there is the  ambulatory; a square-planar axis Chapel dating from the 1860’s; and two Chapels oriented flanking the first and last span of the ambulatory, each with a straight span and an apse in the hemicycle. The nave is preceded by one of the two steeples, the ground floor of which was initially an open porch on three sides. Two stair turrets flank the bell tower, one to the north and one to the south. The Chapel of the Baptismal font occupies the angle between the steeple and the north side, and like all the spans of this aisle, it is flanked by a Chapel on the north side. This row of seven Chapels does not form a second aisle, because all the bays are enclosed. The rest of the Church is hunched over with simple warheads. A second steeple rises above the last span of the nave.

A bit more longer description of the interior of the Collegiale Church of Notre Dame.  The nave is particularly heterogeneous. After the Hundred Years War, at the end of the 15C  and early 16C, the only changes were the  north elevation, except the sixth span. This reshuffle uses the flamboyant Gothic style. The second reshuffle occurred around the middle of the 16C, and concerns the first three bays on the south side, as well as the vaults of the first three bays. But everything that seems to date from the beginning of the 12C and displays the Romanesque style, is in reality in very large part the result of the reconstruction. The Organ tribune, which appears to be very archaic, and the 12C reconstruction is characterized by an elevation on three levels, with the floor of the large arcades, the triforium floor and the upper windows. The large arcades, the triforium, the triforium bays, the high windows, the double arches and the warheads are in full hanger. The vault keys are not decorated and show a small aperture. Apart from certain details, the nave of the Collegiate Church can be brought closer to the other large Romanesque Churches of the region built at the beginning of the vaulting of warheads styles.

The north side with its row of Chapels represents the most homogeneous part of the Church, but apart from the supports of the large arcades, all dates from the end of the 15C and the beginning of the 16C. The chapels of the fourth and fifth spans are particularly distinguished by Baroque woodwork of great quality.  The last three spans of the south aisle are the last ones that still exhibit, at least in large part, their 12C provisions. The sacristy had been abandoned in the 18C and arranged in the Chapel facing south of the apse, but its location is the original.  The choir or chorus is oriented in the direction of the sun rising on August 15 (Assomption), is not in the axis of the nave. This is a very common observation that can be made in most Churches built successively at the site of an older church. Although in the case of a collegiate church and therefore of an ecclesiastical chapel where the liturgy involved a whole college of canons, the choir is small and is reduced to the apse. In the absence of a transept whose crusader often houses the high altar, it must be assumed that the last two bays of the nave were originally attached to the liturgical choir, and separated from the rest of the nave by a grate. The apse has two roughly straight sections and a bedside in the hemicycle, composed of only three pans. Thus, the apse communicates with the ambulatory by five large arcades.

The ambulatory represents, the most interesting part of the Church. This applies to the arrangement of the exterior walls, for the vaulting of original edges and for the very particular plane. It has no radiant Chapels, but primitively an alternation between square Chapels, including the first and last completed by an apse in the hemicycle, and walls facing the outside. The north-facing Chapel had been rebuilt in the flamboyant period with a prism-ribbed vault. The apsidal of the Chapel is in large part authentic. Quite spacious, it has a decoration consistent with that of the ambulatory. The vault of warheads is four-pointed, and the profile seems authentic: it is the same as in the apse, namely a net between two torus. The south-facing chapel, dedicated to St. Louis, has never been altered, and its plan is quite regular. As for the axe Chapel, dedicated to the Virgin, it was once an admirable construction of the second half of the 13C or the beginning of the 14C, in a radiant style reminiscent of the Sainte-Chapelle (Paris). Destroyed everything in the 1860’s, the demolition of the Chapel is regrettable, especially since it was not detrimental to the homogeneity of the Church, and that its state would have allowed a restoration, still envisaged by the Viollet -le-Duc in 1844. The present Chapel is inspired by the apsidials, but larger, with five pans and three windows.

The oldest capitals are naturally found in the base of the western steeple, which dates back to the late 11C, especially on the east side. In the nave, there are curiously more recent capitals under the fifth and sixth largest arcade in the north. It can be dated from the beginning of the 12C, while the construction of the nave progressed from west to east, and the last spans were only started around 1130. At the back of the façade, at the beginning of the big arcades of the South, appears the first marquee of a second type, evoking, as also the bedside in the big lines. In the apse, the only capitals that were not redone in the 19C are those to the east of the sixth pile of the north, as well as those of the four free columns of the apse roundabout. The sculpture of their large baskets is remarkable, and they are decorated with two registers of ribbed leaves, palmettos of a large drawing, long rods linked two by two in the center or under the angles of the stone cutter. The design and composition are of great originality, and the style is of uncommon vigor. The bay capitals of the central steeple are also remarkable.

The tribune Organ was commissioned in 1903. Its instrumental part was made by Charles Mutin, successor of Aristide Cavaillon-Coll. Its Gothic buffet was designed by the architect of historical monuments, Camille Formigé, who had been responsible for the last restoration campaign of the Church between 1884 and 1896. The columns of stone supporting the tribune were carved by Geoffroy.

And why not a bit more on the exterior of the Collegiale Church of Notre Dame de Poissy.  The western steeple, originally a steeple-porch, is one of the oldest steeples in the region among those of a certain size. The steeple is square and flanked by two orthogonal buttresses at each angle, which are strictly vertical and punctuated by the same drip present on the walls. Between two buttresses, the salient angles of the steeple remain free, which is not common. The ground floor only has small rectangular openings, and the first floor is also very discreet, with a unique rectangular window off the west side. The second floor is located at the same level as the upper windows of the nave, and originally had two rectangular bays, regularly spread over the three free sides. To the north and south, they are partly clogged by the two stair turrets.

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A nave with three levels of elevation requires buttresses, which were not yet developed at the end of the Romanesque period, and appear only in the mid-12C. To the north, the wall of the nave ends with a frieze of foliage similar to that found inside, under a cornice formed by a succession of prismatic moldings. In the south, the first three bays were given a new cornice in the classical period. On the outside, the authenticity of the various elements is therefore not more assured than inside, and this also applies to the flamboyant architecture of the chapels of the north aisle and the sacristy in front of the last two bays of the south aisle. At the top, God the Father (beheaded during the French revolution) emerges from a cloud holding a globe in one hand. Rays of light descend from all sides, and reach a vase with two handles, from which a long leafy stem that carries three fleurs de Lys springs. A dove in the middle of the rays illustrates the Holy Spirit, and the rays themselves are the grace of God that he sends from the top of heaven. The flower that is the recipient is an allegory of purity and virginity, and symbolizes the Virgin Mary. The ensemble is therefore a symbolic representation of the Annunciation

The second Louis XII-style portal is wider and has two doors in a basket cove separated from a thomas whose jagged foliage and flamboyant-style monsters, overlapped already on the lower legs of the underside, at pilasters Italianate announcing the first Renaissance. Three niches with statues flank the doors, and still sheltered the Virgin and two angels in 1805. They were repainted same  year, but have disappeared since. The central steeple is, without a doubt, the most beautiful element of Poissy’s architecture.  Its north face was uplifted this time with respect for the authenticity of the monument, as between 1844 and 1850 during the restoration of the large arcades. The octagonal stump of the bell tower is pierced with a single undecorated, North and south window, which inwardly opens under a broken discharge arch. Between two modillions, a palmettos décor in bas-relief appears. Two seats above open the bays of the belfry floor. They are in the full hanger and number of two on the faces facing the cardinal points. The other faces are narrower and leave room for only one bay. The choir, the style is allegedly that of the 13C. As for the oriented Chapels, the windows of the square span were initially placed at the same height as the windows of the Apsidials, they had only one buttress instead of two, and the angles of the buttresses were not filled with balusters.

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Some of the nice things to notice at the Collegiate Church of Notre Dame at best me think other than the Baptismal font of Saint Louis are:

The stone Altar adorned with eight characters under arches lobed and hooks, 94 cm high and 245 cm wide, dating from the first half of the 14C and apparently coming from the church Priorale Saint-Louis. The group carved in limestone representing the burial, also known as Holy Sepulchre, 140 cm high and 180 cm wide, mentioned for the first time in 1522.  The group carved in polychrome walnut wood representing the education of the Virgin by St. Anne, high of 137 cm and dating from the near end 15C to 16C. The stone statue of St. John the Baptist, 186 cm high and dating from the 14C, the stone statue of St. Barbara, 140 cm high and dating from the first half of the 16C; the tower on the left is its attribute, the palm in her left hand is the symbol of the Martyrs. The stone statue of Isabelle of France, daughter of St. Louis, high of 130 cm and dating from around 1300, comes from the rood of the Church of the Priory Saint-Louis de Poissy. The stone statue of St. Peter , high of 160 cm and probably dating from the 17C. The stone statue of Saint Louis teenager, high of 170 cm, dating from 1932. It bears the coat of arms of the city of Poissy.  The painted wooden statue of the Virgin, 130 cm high and probably dating from the first quarter of the 16C, was distorted by a smooth polychrome that makes it seem like a statue of the 19C, but the stylistic closeness with the statue of St. Barbara indicates the actual age of the statue, which remains to be confirmed during a restoration. The stone statue of the Ecce Homo or Christ with links, high of 185 cm and dating from the 17C. The statue of the Virgin and the Seated Child called Notre-Dame de Poissy, inspired by the seal of the Collegiate chapter, work of Manuela, her real name Anne de Rochechouart de Mortemart, Duchess of Uzès, high of 140 cm and dating from 1892. The stone statuette of a praying, perhaps a donor, with a inscription of dedication in Latin, high of 50 cm and dating from 1553. Most of the burial slabs were sealed in the Western Wall. Most of the paintings are hung in the Chapels, and poorly visible in these dark spaces.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and you must are

City of Poissy on the Church in French

Tourist office of Poissy on the Church in French

Tourist office dept 78 Yvelines on the Church at Poissy in French

Note the sites above are in French, nowdays easily translated for a fuller enjoyment and more information. This is a nice Notre Dame Collegiale Church and the area around it is very nice and more things to see in Poissy.

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

 

 

 

 

 

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