Archive for August 19th, 2019

August 19, 2019

Collegiate Church of Notre Dame, Montreuil-Bellay!

Ok so even thus is very closely related in history to the castle (see next post), the church is now stand alone and independant of it. Therefore, having visited it here is a post on it alone. We are still in our road warrior trips in the Pays de la Loire, dept 49 of Maine et Loire and visiting Montreuil-Bellay.

Next to the famous and beautiful castle we have the Collegiate Church of Notre Dame, this started as a chapel of the castle but from its size you can tell the importance of it to the daily life in the area. The visit was very nice indeed.

Montreuil Bellay

Montreuil bellay

A bit on the town of Montreuil-Bellay follows

Montreuil-Bellay is located on the Thouet river,  bordering the region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine and the departments of Vienne (town of Pouançay) and Deux-Sèvres (town of Saint-Martin-de-Sanzay). Bathed by the Thouet river , Montreuil-Bellay is located in the heart of the Loire-Anjou-Touraine Regional Natural Park, less than 25 km from Saumur (Maine-et-Loire), Thouars (Deux-Sèvres) and Loudun (Vienne).

The Chapel of Notre Dame will become after the French revolution apart from the castle, the Collegiate Church of Notre Dame (collegiate because it teaches canons:chanoines), it was built 1472-1474 and raised as Collegiate in 1475 and a parish Church in 1810. Inside the Church there is the angevine architecture of vaults.  The Chapel of Notre Dame was hand over to the State after the French revolution and the Collegiate Church of Notre-Dame is now open to all as a parish church.

A bit of official story goes like this

The former chapel of the castle built in the 15C became collegiate served by the canons under the name of Notre-Dame.  It was given to the town and turned into a parish church at the beginning of the 19C following the decommissioning of the old Saint-Pierre church located in the Nobis priory which was falling into ruin.  A bridge over the moat was built in 1863 to give direct access to the church without passing through the castle courtyard. Now there is a stone wall between the castle and the church for privacy.

Montreuil Bellay

Montreuil Bellay

Built between 1472 and 1484 it was commissioned by Guillaume d’Harcourt, lord of Montreuil-Bellay, buried here with his family. It is one of the most prestigious religious buildings of the 15C in Anjou, specific to the Angevin Gothic style. The Collegiate Church of Notre Dame  consists of a large vessel 44 meters long and 12 meters wide whose vault at 18 meters height is faithful to the Plantagenet style then in use in Anjou. There is a small oratory where the lord and his family attended, in all discretion, offices. A liter (black band) runs through the walls of the church, at a height that reflected the importance of the lords of the time. At the French revolution, the paintings of the old churches of the city were grouped in the nave. They reflect the provincial nature of art in Anjou under the Ancien Régime. In 1810, the collegiate church became parish church and main place of worship of the city.

Montreuil Bellay

You have the city in English here: City of Montreuil Bellay on history in English

The Catholic parish of Saumur on the Church in French

There you go a wonderful 1-2 combination to do with the castle and more history, architecture and just beauty of my belle France. Hope you enjoy it as we did and do come by to the Collegiate Church of Notre Dame in Montreuil-Bellay.

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

 

 

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August 19, 2019

Doué-la-Fontaine!

Ok so I am on the run in the Loire, that is Pays de la Loire region and in the department 49 of Maine-et-Loire. Passing by beautiful castles saw this town on the map and decided to give a shot. Well not my best town of my belle France but another pin on my map !

Doué-la-Fontaine (now officially Doué en Anjou) is located in the department of Maine-et-Loire, in the Pay de la Loire region. Since December 30, 2016, the commune has been created with Brigné, Concourson-sur-Layon, Forges, Meigné, Montfort, Saint-Georges-sur-Layon and Les Verchers-sur-Layon, the new town of Doué-en-Anjou. in the heart of the Loire-Anjou-Touraine Regional Natural Park, 10 km from Montreuil-Bellay , 14 km from Saumur, 40 km from Cholet and 40 km from Angers.

A bit of history I like

Around the 8C, the territory of Doué is part of Aquitaine. Pépin le Bref received the submission of Waïfre, Duke of Aquitaine, around 760. From the 790s, Louis le Pieux, son of Charlemagne, who was only 13 years old, had already been king of Aquitaine by his father for ten years, settled there. He had been living there regularly since 781 in the villa or palatium of Theotwadum. In 814, Louis learned of his father’s death and became the new emperor. In 832 he also received the submission of Pépin I, King of Aquitaine. There are no remnants of the Carolingian residence.

During the 17-18C, Doué had the honor of seeing Catherine de Medici, Charles IX, Henri de Navarre and Louis XIII pass and stayed. In 1694, Louis XIV formed the city and gave it its coat of arms. But it was under the leadership of Baron Joseph François Foullon that the city enjoyed its most prosperous hours. A restorator at the Château de Doué, he planted 500,000 Italian poplars, introduced alfalfa and sainfoin cultivation, and established nurseries in Soulanger where he built a castle. He built the fountain, the only waterpoint in the city, which fed six mills, a pool for laundry ladies and children ,and a trough.

Joseph François Foullon was one of the first victims of the French revolution. His Château des Basses Minières is destroyed. Today, only the stables and part of the foundations of the perimeter wall remain.   In 1793, 1200 prisoners from Angers were transferred to Doué. They were imprisoned there in the Arenas or St. Peter’s Church until 1794. 184 of them died in prison within two months. Between 350 and 370 additional prisoners are guillotined or shot.

Some things to see here , well not my cup of tea so just passed by it just got a peek at the the Church St Pierre, the current Church was built in the 15C on the site of a former built from 1040. During the French revolution it served as a prison to put the local Vendéens rebels and after was change to a warehouse before returning to the cult in 1810.

doue la fontaine

doue la fontaine

doue la fontaine

doue la fontaine

The other interesting thing to see and surprise for a town in the middle of vineyards is the Municipal Theater. The theater is now call the Philippe Noiret theater right at Place des Fontaines in city center/downtown.

doue la fontaine

The rest of things to see as per their tourist office are the Perrières; Carolingian hill; The Château de Doué-la-Fontaine is an old fortress castle, raised at the beginning of the 10C and remodelled several times at the corner of Blvd  du Dr. Lionet and the Impasse de la Motte, the castle of Soulanger; or Château des Basses Minières looted and destroyed during the French revolution, only the base, the stables (which house the museum aux Anciens Commerces) and an entrance pavilion remain today. the cellar with sarcophagi, former quarry of falun near the village of the former commune of Douces, at 1 rue de la Croix-Mordret. The place contains the ancient quarry of the Merovingian period, an old farmhouse, a cellar and a cave chapel. Not my time to see these but if interested they are here!

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

New city of Doue en Anjou things to see in French

Tourist office of Saumur on doue la fontaine or doue en Anjou now

This is one of those town I go by I lost count of how many, this one at least took some pictures . Me thinking is a good base for the nearby castles and wine houses as the area is in wine country of Saumur-Val-de-Loire and côte de Layon. Anyway is a good location town ,the new name Doué en Anjou but I still like the locals prefer Doué la Fontaine!

Hope you enjoy it and remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

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