Church of Saint-Philbert ,Île de Noirmoutier!

Therefore, need to update this older post to go along the others recently done on the Île de Noirmoutier. I had it separate because of the local meaning to the monument, the Church of Saint Philbert! Hope you enjoy as I.

And I take you to the islands!! on the West coast of my belle France again. Here all is wonderful and peaceful, and other things to see besides the beaches! This is just south of me along the coast!  I like to take you to the Île de Noirmoutier, in the dept of the Vendée 85 (old Poitou area) in Pays de la Loire region and to show a bit more of the Church of Saint Philbert.

The island of Noirmoutier  or Île de Noirmoutier is in the Atlantic Ocean, on the coast of the Vendée dept85 . It is separated from the mainland by the Strait or gully of Fromentine, wide from 700 to 800 meters, and  connected  to the mainland  by the Passage du Gois (or Goâ), 4 km long and practicable passage at low sea. A bridge further north has also been connecting the island to the mainland since 1971.

The Church of St Philbert, which is the former Benedictine abbey, is in its present state dates from  the 12C, 14C and 19C, but it is built on a crypt that must be that of the primitive Church and go back to the end of the 7C or 8C. It contains a sarcophagus of Saint Philbert, which passes to be the tomb of the Saint, but which is in reality only a modern restoration. Beautiful 14C rectangular dungeon, flanked by turret-shaped buttresses. This dungeon had to be built by the lord of the island, on the location of the Castle raised in the 9C by the monks to defend against the Vikings.


Who was Saint Philbert? ,well a brief description: he was abbot of Jumièges in Normandy, then of Noirmoutier in the Vendée. He had left the court of King Dagobert to make himself a monk at first to Rebais  in the French Brie area (77 Seine et Marne). Later he founded a monastery in Jumièges near Rouen in Normandy. When he learned that Ebroïn, the mayor of the palace, had murdered Saint Léger of Autun, he went to reproach his crime to the mayor of Neustria. Ebroïn instructed Saint Ouen to make it disappear. The Bishop of Rouen obeyed, made him imprisoned, but the captivity was gentle and lasted little, for Ebroïn was assassinated in his turn. Saint Philbert thanked Saint Ouen for his hospitality, assured him of his perfect friendship and took the way to the monastery of Noirmoutier. During the Norman invasions, his relics were transported to Tournus in Burgundy, where a magnificent abbey was built.(still there).

A bit of history I like on the Church

The Church of Saint-Philbert rises on the site of an abbey founded by Philibert de Tournus in 677AD.  It was plundered by the Saracens at the beginning of the 8C, then burned down by the Normans in 846AD. It was then rebuilt at the end of the 11C on a primitive Chapel, which is the present Crypt, but only the Choir and the main nave remains. From the end of the 14C to the 17C ,the left and right naves were raised, and it was consecrated in 1849.


The bell tower is neo-Romanesque it was built in 1875 to replace the old steeple which had been destroyed by a fire in 1848. Inside you can admire a model of a frigate, made by an artisan watchmaker of the village in 1802 for Auguste Jacobsen.

The Crypt is located under the Choir, it hosted the body of Saint Philbert between 690 and 836, when it was transferred to Saint-Philbert-de-Grand-Lieu, then to Tournus in Burgundy, where the monks had fled after the Norman invasions in 875. A shrine on the altar contains some relics of the Saint transferred in 1863 date on which this Crypt was restored.The Merovingian Crypt where Saint Philbert rested is what remains of the abbey destroyed by the Normans. Indeed the abbey which extended over the location of the church and the castle was never raised in its walls after the monks fled the occupation of the Vikings who had made the island their base behind their raids on the Loire. Only a priory was restored which became the Church we know today.


The windows of the nave tell us of Saint Philbert and the ancient Abbey, the castle, the arms of the abbey and on the other side four stages and foundations of Philibert: Jumièges, Saint Philibert of Grandlieu, Cunault and Tournus.  The altarpiece of the Holy Mary is the oldest altarpiece of the Church, and the most lavishly decorated. You can admire the garlands of roses and sun carved in stone. The altarpiece of the altar St. Anne was built in 1711.

The Noirmoutier island tourist office on the Church:

The parish church of Noirmoutier island on the Church:

Hope you enjoy the story, the island is very nice just close by Nantes and the passage of Goa in low tide is sublime experience, written on it in previous posts. For now enjoy the history and architecture of the Saint Philbert Church in the Ïle de Noirmoutier!

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

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