The other Churches of Rennes!

Ok so I have been to Rennes several times, and written on it on several posts in my blog. All have been of a general nature on day, weekend trips. However, it has so much to offer as things to see, the city is amazing. The capital city of the region of Brittany, and the seat of dept 35 Ille et Vilaine. I like to change all that a bit by telling you about some of its monuments especially from the history ,architecture side I like.

Therefore, here are my takes on two Churches, Notre Dame St Melaine and Toussaints of Rennes. Hope you enjoy it.

Notre-Dame-en-Saint-Melaine Church is located in Rennes, Ille-et-Vilaine department no. 35 in my beloved Brittany. It is located in the extension of Rue Saint-Melaine in the northeast part of the center of the medieval town. It is bordered on its southern façade by the western end of the Thabor Park (see post on it).

rennes ch notre dame st melaine dec13

The sanctuary is dedicated to Saint Melaine, traditionally considered as the first bishop of Rennes, who died here in 6C. He is buried on the hill of the cemetery in Rennes, where the abbey of Saint Melaine was built. The Church served as a Cathedral in the first half of the 19C. Between 1803 and 1844, the Cathedral of Saint-Pierre , deliberately demolished at the end of the 18C and not yet rebuilt, was no longer usable as a cathedral or sanctuary. Notre-Dame-en-Saint-Melaine presents itself today as a composite building in Romanesque and Gothic style, behind a classical and neoclassical tower-steeple. Its layout is in the form of a Latin cross.

A bit of history I like

The primitive Church was built on the tomb of Saint Melaine, Bishop of Rennes at the end of the 5C and early 6C. The construction of the Romanesque church ,taking from 1081 to 1109, some parts of which remain today; such as the transept and the bases of the tower of the steeple. In the first half of the 13C, the square of the transept was covered with a vault of warheads whose departure is still visible. In the 14C, the arches of the nave and the high windows are redone, as well as the choir. In 1432, the tower of the steeple was rebuilt on Romanesque bases. The façade of the steeple is entirely remade in limestone, also in 1683 a new cloister, but the capitals and columns of the ancient cloister of the 11C are preserved in the Museum of Brittany. A Way of the Cross painted in fourteen paintings made in a classical style, inspired by the 17C French or Italian.

The facade of the steeple designed in a perfectly symmetrical way is in very good condition. It dates to its current appearance of 1676, and is made of limestone. From the old stained glass windows of the Church blown up during WWII, during the bombardment of the city, in 1943, which touched notably the Thabor park, remains, at the bedside of the north collateral, a canopy characteristic of the production of the 19C. The stained glass windows are replaced in the 1950’s by simple colored glasses. The large bay of the south transept is adorned with a window of eight meters in height and four meters in width evoking the Translation of the relics from the remains of the Holy Bishop Melaine arriving at the gates of the city of Rennes by the Vilaine river while the laity and clerics prostrate himself in its passage.

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The great-organs Claus from 1879. The Organ Cavaillon-Coll, former organ of the chapel of the Carmelites delivered in 1874. Transfer of the Church of Saint Aubin to the Abbey and restoration in 2011.

Saint Melaine would have played an important role in king Clovis, which he would have become the adviser. At his death between 529 and 549 his body deposited in a boat would have reached Rennes where he was buried in the cemetery in the north east of the city. A monastery would have been founded at the site of its tomb around 550. A new monastery was consecrated in 630. The abbey remains abandoned until about 937. The dynasty of the bishops of Rennes seizes the time of the abbey and  endows his daughters in dismembering the diocese the bishop withdraws to Saint-Melaine by designating as his successor his son Gautier who takes his retirement as abbot after the accession of his son Garin to the episcopate of Rennes. Saint-Melaine is finally reformed from 1058. Endowed with Abbots commendatory since the beginning of the 16C, during the collapse of the Cathedral of Rennes, the Benedictine monks oppose twice in 1740 and 1770 at the installation of the Episcopal headquarters in Saint-Melaine. The abbey was finally assembled at the Bishopric of Rennes in 1775. The cloisters of the 11C and 17C, the logis abbatial, the conventual buildings and the garden were preserved.

Tourist office of Rennes on Notre Dame en St Melaine

The Church of Toussaints (All Saints), formerly Chapel of St. Thomas, of Rennes, Baroque style counter-Reformation, located south of the Vilaine river ,by  rue du Captain-Alfred-Dreyfus. Designed from 1624 to 1651 as the Chapel of St. Thomas College, this chapel became a parish church in 1803, replacing the ancient Church of Toussaints, which was 300 meters away.

Rennes ch toussaints front oct12

A bit of history I like

A Chapel of Toussaints existed in Rennes at the end of the 10C, occupied by hermits of St Augustine and dependent on a parish established in a chapel dedicated to Saint Mary Magdalene. Its location corresponds to that of the central market halls built in 1922. The All Saints ‘ Chapel was rebuilt during the 15C and 16C, despite the collapse of the bell tower in 1482 and a tower in 1513. This one, rebuilt in the 17C, collapses again in 1715 to be rebuilt from 1764.

The municipal  Royal College of Saint-Thomas-Becket , (as middle school and future high school Émile-Zola) is founded around 1534 and moves into the buildings of the old Priory St. Thomas, near the Church of Toussaints. In 1604 the Jesuits were entrusted with the instruction until 1762. The two Chapels of the Collège ,Saint-Thomas and Saint-Marc, revealing themselves too small, the instructions given to built the Grande Chapelle Saint-Thomas  consecrated in 1651. The main altarpiece of the All Saints ‘ Church of Rennes dates from 1653.

During the French revolution, in 1789, schoolchildren and soldiers occupied the new St. Thomas Chapel on several occasions. The college became a central school in 1795 and then high school (lycée) in 1803. The seat of the parish is transferred to the Chapel of St. Thomas in 1803, which takes the name of the Church of Toussaints and is no longer attached to the school. Nevertheless, a passage from a courtyard of the same establishment remains, until the 1970’s, the only way to access the right-hand tribune overlooking the choir as the headmaster’s Tribune, reserved for the administrative staff of the school. It was restored in 1834, then in the middle of the 20C and again in 2013.  It is today the seat of the parish of Toussaints Holy Family.

Rennes

Touristi office of Rennes on Toussaints

Just two wonderful monuments while walking in delightful Rennes, the best way to see a city. It has a lot of things to see and this is just a minor contribution. Hope you enjoy the off the beaten path Churches of Rennes!

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

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