Church of Notre-Dame de l’Assomption at Sainte-Marie-de-Ré!

So lets move out into the coastal areas of my belle France for a change of scenery. Here is the sea at its best and you are in an island! My wandering road warrior trips took me here and it was nice even if seen plenty of coastal towns before in my life. This one has many experiences from WWII that I detail in previous posts on the island.

Today, I like to tell you about one of its beacons, the off the beaten path Church of Notre Dame de l’Assomption in the town of Sainte-Marie-d-Ré, the main one on the island. First a bit on the town and then the Church ok

Sainte-Marie-de-Ré is located on the Ile de Ré (island), in the Charente-Maritime dépt 17 of the Nouvelle Aquitaine region. This small town has agglomerated the hamlet of the Noue stretching continuously along the south coast of the island of Ré, from the pointe de Chauveau to the Grenettes beach, facing the ïle d’Oleron. The coast is lined with beaches and small cliffs , where the remains of many fish locks are discovered at low tide. The presence of many blockhouses of the Atlantic Wall on the coast reminds us of the dark hours that the town experienced during WWII. During the French revolution, the town bore the name of the L’Union. On December 27, 1888, Sainte-Marie took the name Sainte-Marie-de-Ré.

The parish of Sainte-Marie-de-Ré, quoted as early as the 12C, is known as probably the oldest of the island. The present Church of Notre-Dame de l’Assomption   was inaugurated in 1864. With its simply bleached interior walls and its apparent framing, it shows the sobriety of a barn; But, by its imposing proportions, its large nave with three ships, the refined decor of its choir and its beautiful brightness, it is nonetheless majestic. Besides, some visitors, from the first glance, find it as a cathedral appearance! Its steeple, dating from the 15C, once painted in black, served as a bitter. The platform of this steeple is equipped with a parapet on crows forming machicolations that have been blocked during restorations and even partly reconstruction in the 19C in the Church Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption ,there are ex-votos in the form of beautiful models of boats that are exposed.

sainte marie de re

sainte marie de re

In 1467, the Church was fortified and surrounded by a ditch. Undoubtedly the ambient insecurity, of the Hundred Years War, led the inhabitants to fortified the Church. It served as a refuge for the population, and thus it allowed to withstand external assaults. The Church then had a belfry, but still no steeple; the Gothic octagonal spire dates from the 14-15C. In 1870, the bell tower was black, to serve as a bitter vessel. Until 1950, it was painted regularly. The base of the steeple testifies to what remains of the edifice of the medieval period if you ascend to the bell tower at 19h (7pm) , at the time of the Angelus, you will hear the bell ringing very closely in your ears! The steeple of the Church of Notre Dame de l’Assomption has 47 meters in height with 91 steps to climb it and reach a walkway; 20 meters is this walkway above the ground. The more you go up, the more the steps are reduce and become quasi straight!

Sainte Marie de Re

Sainte Marie de Re

The smallest date of 1775. It comes from a Swedish boat probably shipwrecked. The bell has no name. The middle one, done in 1853, is called Marie-Françoise Xavière. The biggest, in bronze, dates from 1818, it is called Magdeleine. It is worth to climb these 91 steps, the panorama on the village of Sainte-Marie is splendid. Once the promontory was used as a maritime surveillance station. During the week, the bell tower is visited by registering at the Sainte-Marie tourism office. Otherwise, on Sunday morning, members of the Association of Friends of the Church are there. Lovely!

Sainte Marie de Re

Sainte Marie de Re

A webpage to help you plan your trip

TOurist office of Ile de Ré on heritage in English

Parish Catholic site on the Church

This is an island to fully enjoy of its beaches ,laidback ambiance,and lovely side streets especially in Summer months. Hope you have enjoy the tour.

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

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