Chapelle Notre Dame de la Piétie, Noirmoutier

I really enjoy updating this post on a wonderful island off the continent of France. We had many memorable family times here and this was a surprise. The island had a gem to be discovered in an off the beaten path mold in the lovely Ïle de Noirmoutier. Let me tell you a bit about it and hope you enjoy it as I.

And back at you on wonderful island of Noirmoutier on the west coast of France not far from Nantes and south of my present home. I like to tell you about some serious tourism that can be done in Europe and here in my belle France plenty. This is a place still remembering events of 1790’s France and the French revolution which as all revolutions are bloody and abusive in her hate for power.  The French Republic started out no different. I like to tell you a bit about the Chapelle Notre Dame de la Piétie in the city of Noirmoutier-en-L’ïle!

Noirmoutier-en-l’ïle, commonly known as Noirmoutier, is a town in the Noirmoutier island in the Vendée department 85 in the Pays de la Loire region. In old Poitou.

You can see the Chapelle Notre Dame de la Piétie or commonly call the Chapel of the Martyrs at Rue des Martyrs. Among the souvenirs of the wars of Vendée on the island of Noirmoutier, here is one, very discreet, which commemorates a terrible massacre of Vendéens prisoners committed in January 1794. It is also known as Notre Dame de la Pietie Chapel or Our Lady of Pity. Built in 1950 on the outskirts of the city, this little white Chapel marks the place where the revolutionary Republicans shot nearly 2,000 Vendéen prisoners after their taken over of the island on January 3, 1794.

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This place witness the massacred of nearly 2000 prisoners of the Vendéen armies, despite a promise of life saved that had been given to them. A large number of prisoners were then confined to the Church of Saint-Philbert (see post) . On the morning of January 4, their Republican revolutionary jailers told them they’re going to be released, then get them out in groups of sixty by telling them that they’re going to hand over passports and civil cards. First, they were led under escort to the place d’Armes, facing the castle, the Vendéens took on the left the rue de Banzeau, and a few hundred meters to the right, an alley, current  Rue des Martyrs, which leads to the place called “le Vache ” (cow) where the local people (Noirmoutiens)  used to dump the garbage in the city. Unclothed and stripped of their last possessions, the groups of prisoners are aligned one after the other and shot at close range. The number of victims is not exactly known for the simple reason that they were executed without questioning or judgement with little trace of paperwork.

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A first monument, the Croix de la massacre, was raised here on September 7, 1902 by Abbé Jaud. The present Chapel of the Martyrs was built later in 1950 by Abbé Raimond. The Vendéen memoires that took over to nurture this moving place of remembrance where some relics of those who perished here, such as bones and rosaries, are resting. Under the soil rests in dusts of about 3000 victims including 20 priests, 12 nuns, 730 men, 508 women and 96 small children. A cannon ball fallen on the crest of the wall and still in balance perched, is the only surviving witness of the barbarism of this unsung episode of the Wars of the Vendée.(part of wars of the west which included Bretagne).

Renovation of the Chapel was launched by Abbé Chatry in 2015. Abbé Cieutat continued this project. The Chapel was blessed on April 4, 2018, allowing the presence of the Holy Sacrament in the tabernacle of the altar.  And therefore officially known as the Chapelle Notre Dame de la Piétie. Do not hesitate to stop there to pray. The Chapel is open every day from 9h to 19h, from April to early November.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and more info on this episode are:

The city of Noirmoutier on other things to see: https://www.ville-noirmoutier.fr/parcours-patrimonial/

The Vendée dept 85 tourist office on Noirmoutier islandhttp://www.vendee-tourism.co.uk/discover/nature-and-countryside/noirmoutier-island/

And finally, a  private webpage on the history and heritage of the wars of the Vendée and the Chapelle Notre Dame de la Piétie in French: http://www.vendeensetchouans.com/archives/2012/04/12/23997600.html

There you go, a real off the beaten path story that is worth remembering for all humanity sake, and my dear French are not spare. A moving little places as the Chapelle Notre Dame de la Piétie to see while basking in the sunshine activities of the Noirmoutier island of the Vendée.

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

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