Church of Notre Dame de la Couture ,Le Mans!

Hi there you all, thanks for reading my blog. I come back to you on another that can be call off the beaten path sites in my belle France. The town is world famous but most folks come here for the car races and on sights go to the Cathedral, however, there is a lot more in Le Mans.

I like to tell you a bit on the Church of Notre Dame de la Couture. It is of course, in Le Mans, dept 72 of the Sarthe in the Pays de la Loire region.

le mans

The Church of Notre Dame de la Couture is the former abbey of the Abbey of Saint-Pierre de la Couture. And therefore, now name Notre Dame de la Couture Church.  It is located in Le Mans, in the dept Sarthe of the Pays de la Loire region. Located in the city center/downtown at about 500 meters from the train station. The Church has a large western massif framed by two very different towers. The other buildings of the old abbey are juxtaposed with the Church, on its southern flank and are occupied today by the prefecture (dept reg govt) of the Sarthe. This major monument of the city of Le Mans, comes mainly from the 12C; In the same way as St. Julien Cathedral (see my post on it). The two buildings have many similarities starting with their imposing mass. The seam has a common architecture with the Cathedral of Angers(see my post on it), despite the fact that the Le Mans’ Church is not built in limestone. Their plans were roughly the same while their time of construction was very close, even simultaneous.

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A bit of history I like

The Abbey of Couture was founded thanks to the generosity of Bishop Bertrand du Mans, a faithful of  Clotaire II after 605AD. It is then called the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. In his will, written in 616, Bertrand donates the lands of Couture  to the monks, which is the origin of the abbey’s nickname. Destroyed by the Normans in the 9C, the abbey were rebuilt around the year 1000AD  and were baptized  Saint-Pierre de la Couture  or, more simply,  the Couture ( seam). The body of Saint Bertrand was placed in the Crypt. From the reconstruction in the 10C  century on the bases of the primitive sanctuary, there remain the bedside, as well as some rousers walls in small forms of the nave and transepts. The Abbey of Saint-Pierre de la Couture of which remains the Church of Notre-Dame de la Couture ,and the cloister. The rest of the buildings constitute the premises of the present prefecture of the Sarthe. The monastery dates from the 11C but the buildings currently visible were rebuilt between 1760 and 1775. It is to be considered one of the most powerful abbeys in the west of France before the French revolution.

It is restored and rebuilt around the year 1000AD. The Church was then renamed Saint-Pierre de la Couture by a monk in the abbey while he left another Abbot  to take part in his previous duties. Remnants of the old version of the Church are still visible above the south cloister, 18 meters high.  In 1180, the Great fire of Le Mans ravaged everything. The Church Notre Dame de la Couture  was severely affected. It was rebuilt in the 12C. The nave is 42 meters long and was done with 3 bays on a square plane. This plan was taken from the Cathedral of Angers. The Dominicans vaults are longer than average with 16 meters long, reaching more than 22 meters under dome. Some columns exceed 5 meters in thickness while the outer walls must also be thickened. Rare thing, the central nave is illuminated by geminate windows surmounted by an oculus. The two towers of the western part date from the 13C, while the porch is open between the latter two. In 1533, the Lord John II of the Escotais offered a richly sculpted altarpiece to the Chapel of the baptismal font.

le mans

The Concordat of 1801 (accord between the Church and the State ) authorized the reopening of the Churches. Notre Dame de la Couture Church was the first parish in Le Mans to do so. Now known as Notre-Dame de la Couture, her priest, Pierre-René Huard, returned to his ministry after ten years of exile and devoted himself to the difficult task of reconstructing and restoring the Church that had suffered during these years of abandonment and neglect. Father Joseph de Lisle, who had been exiled with Huard, settled from that time to Notre-Dame de la Couture Church as a priest-in-residence.

Some interior description of the Church of Notre Dame de la Couture :

The gothic nave of three bays took the place of an ancient Romanesque nave of seven bays. There is a walkway  of the braces towards the nave. The choir, the high parts are gothic; The ambulatory kept its Romanesque vault: ridges on doubles. There were originally five radiant apsidioles. There is only one Romanesque apsidiole in the southeast remaining. It has some surviving Romanesque arches. The vast Crypt with three aisles vaulted with ridges. The pillars are often made of monolithic marble columns, probably used. One can see a stained glass window dedicated to the Virgin dating from the 19C, and which is one of the first windows designed in medieval fashion, called archaeological window. Nice!

 le mans

le mans

 le mans

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Official Parish site of Notre Dame de la Couture

Tourist office of Le Mans on heritage

Tourist office of Sarthe dept 72 on the Church

There you go another dandy in superb Le Mans and of course plenty to see there but this one is one on my book of must sees while in town. Enjoy the Church of Notre Dame de la Couture!

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

 

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