Archive for August 19th, 2020

August 19, 2020

Saint Lô: the Ramparts!!

And I am closing this new trip into my belle France with the ramparts of Saint Lô. Always heard about them ,and by the road warrior chance was able to see them. See my previous post on Saint Lô to get the whole story folks. This is in the dept 50 of Manche in the region of Normadie!

Saint Lô ramparts main gate aug20

The district of Saint-Lô, of the town of Saint Lô.. officially called the L’Enclos or enclosure, is still almost entirely surrounded by its fortified belt dating back to the Middle Ages, and which reconstruction has made it possible to clear and enhance. Natural schist promontory, cut by the valleys of Torteron, Dollée and Vire, the rock allows to control this strategic meeting point of several roads and a navigable river.

Saint Lô

Charlemagne, when he came to the region in the year 800, is credited with the first fortifications to protect the city from Norman invasions; there were done by 805.  A citadel was built in 1574 by Jacques II de Matignon, of which there remains the Beaux-Regards tower and the Poudrière tower. The Tour des Beaux-Regards tower dominates the steepest flank of the Rock. It offers from its summit a vast panorama of the Vire and its neighboring districts. The Tour de la Poudriére, the only remaining military vestige of the citadel, still shows the start of the very thick wall which closed the enclosure on the Neufbourg side.

Saint Lô

The wooden ramparts replaced by thick stone walls do not always protect the enclosure during many sieges and battles, especially in the 16C. This Enclos or enclosure is limited to the west by the rue de la Poterne, to the north by rue des Noyers, to the east by Place Général de Gaulle, to the south by rue Havin and rue Torteron. The Rue de la Poterne begins at the Rond-Point du 6 Juin, where the monument to the victims of the bombing of WWII rises along the rock and, in its current state, bypasses the entire west side and part of the north flank of the enclosure, to the crossroads with rue de Carentan, rue des Noyers and Porte-Dollée.

Saint Lô

The ramparts remain on three of the four sides of the L’Enclos (enclosure). The ramparts had three gates: the Porte-au-Lait to the south, the Porte Dollée to the north, and the Porte-au-Four to the east, before it was blocked by the fortress of Matignon.

Saint Lô

In 1811, Napoleon stopped at Saint-Lô, but his coach was too large and could not cross the Porte du Neufbourg flanked by its two towers. In 1812, the citadel was partially destroyed to develop the city outside its ramparts, little by little, the houses and their gardens concealed the base of the fortifications which had become unnecessary. On the south side, the disaster of 1944 had the paradoxical effect of clearing the base where houses had been before by rue du Torteron.

Saint Lô

The city of Saint Lô with the info on its heritage as the ramparts: City of Saint Lô on its heritage so the ramparts

The tourist office of Saint Lô on the ramparts: Tourist office of Saint Lô on the ramparts

And there you go folks as we say goodbye or au revoir to Saint Lô, an interesting town and very full of history that we will be back. The ramparts are very nice indeed and do give you great views of the city, something to repeat visit for us. Hope you enjoy the tour.

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

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August 19, 2020

Saint Lô: Church Notre Dame!

And while having a stop at Saint Lô (see previous post) , we had time to indulge in some sights as was near where we had our lunch lol! We had the ramparts and then this Church of Notre Dame right in front! Therefore, here is my take on Saint Lô ‘s Church of Notre Dame.

The Notre-Dame Church is in the Gothic-style erected over four centuries from the end of the 13C and strongly marked by the Battle of Normandy (WWII). As such, it is a “memorial” of the destruction of WWII. The parish church and former collegiate Church of Notre-Dame built from the 13C to the 20C is rightly considered the symbol of the city. This church dedicated to Notre Dame originates from the parish of the castle of Saint-Lô on Mont Briovère: the parish of “l’Enclos” whose patron was the lord of the castle, namely the bishop of Coutances.

Saint Lô

Saint Lô

The nave of five bar long spans dates from the first third of the 14C as well as its immediate side aisles; the foliage baskets on the capitals are very characteristic of the period. The north tower also dates from the 14C and the south tower dates from 1464, according to an inscription. There is no transept and the choir has four bays; the sanctuary is closed with six columns. The church has old stained glass windows, deposited safely during the bombing period, which date from the 15C including the royal stained glass which according to tradition would have been offered by Louis XI around 1470. It presents the Coronation of the Virgin and the story of Saint Crépin and Saint Crépinien. The south tower, square at the base, becomes octagonal. The two towers were completed with arrows in the 17C and gave the church a false appearance of a cathedral which was the pride of the Locals. Described and sketched by Victor Hugo, it was used more to harangue the crowds than to deliver the religious sermon. It consists of a vase with five flamboyant decoration panels surmounted by an arrow with brackets of fern leaves.

Saint Lô

Saint Lô

The Notre Dame Church did not undergo any major degradation before 1944. On July 18, after the fierce battles of the Liberation, the church was nearly 50% destroyed: nave uncovered with its cover and its vaults, facade collapsed as a result the bombardment of the North Tower by nazi artillery. Only the South tower without its spire, the choir and the aisles remained standing almost intact. The restoration of the church from 1944 to 1974 was long and difficult due to a change in the restoration bias during the construction. The restored church received its new dedication on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Liberation The statue of Notre Dame du Pilier , in a thousand pieces during the disaster, was saved and placed at the bottom of the sanctuary. The Notre-Dame Church therefore became the memorial to the destruction of the city of Saint-Lô.   The choir organ was acquired by the parish in 1960. After a first lifting carried out in 1999 it was restored and inaugurated in 2007. The great neoclassical organ of Notre-Dame was built in 1968.

Saint Lô

Saint Lô

The tourist office of Saint Lô on the Church Notre DameTourist office of Saint Lô on Church Notre Dame

The city of Saint Lô and its heritage sites: City of Saint Lô on its heritage sites

It is an impressive church considering it was almost all destroyed in WWII and then rebuilt with care. Indeed a symbol of a city that is very much on most WWII movies done by Hollywood and beyond, Saint Lô you know the name? And do stop by the Church of Notre Dame. Hope you enjoy it

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

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