Basilica minor Saint Sauveur of Dinan!

And here I am going back to a very nice city of the north of my lovely Bretagne. I like to update this older post of one of our visits to the city of Dinan and its  Basilica minor Saint Sauveur! Hope you enjoy the post as I do!

I finished my tour of Dinan in the wonderful Côtes d’Armor dept 22 of my beloved region of Brittany. It is an area worth seeing indeed, and one reason is very popular to visitors to Brittany.  As said, have written several posts on Dinan, but this time will pick one monument that needs special attention for a visit. This is the Basilica Church of Saint Sauveur.


The Basilica of Saint-Sauveur of Dinan is also a place of Marian devotion to Notre-Dame-des-Virtues, bas-relief of the 15C formerly preserved in the convent of the Cordeliers. The object of local veneration, this representation of the assumption of the Virgin allowed the Church to be erected in a minor Basilica by Pope Pius XII on 23 May 1954.


The construction of Saint-Sauveur Church, in 1112, was attributed to the Chevalier Riwallon Le Roux, the grandson of Josselin I of Dinan, on his return from the crusade to the Holy Land, where he fought bravely in Palestine. In the battle, he made a vow, if he saw Dinan, to build a church dedicated to the Holy Trinity: Saint-Sauveur. Back in Dinan, he undertook the construction of the sanctuary. In the arm of the north transept are preserved the heart of De Guesclin and its tombstone. This basilica, which overlooks the Rance river, is one of the most original in Brittany, raised in the 12C, with a Romano-Byzantine façade, and developed in flamboyant Gothic in the 15C and 16C. Also to see, the statuette of the Madonna with the child, the monumental splashback in granite, the vault of the basilica, a stained glass window representing the four Evangelists or the Holy one at the bottom of which appear two fish in high relief that symbolize the life brought by baptism. Note that most stained glass windows date back to the 19C, with some unidentified fragments, apparently prior to the 15C .During the French revolution, the Church was change into a temple of the Supreme Being and then hay barn, the Church was returned to worship in 1800. The salvage of the dilapidated work continued until the Second Empire.


In the 12C the Church of St Sauveur was the subject of a campaign of important works starting from 1480: a aisle with a line of chapels was built north of the Romanesque nave; The upper level of the façade was rebuilt. South of the nave, a aisle was planned but not built; Instead a small three-piece chapel was built at the old location of a door, starting from 1500. The bedside was completely rebuilt from 1507. The ambulatory and the radiant chapels are vaulted before 1545, the date of the collapse of the steeple. After this event, the upper parts of the choir and the transept, which began in 1557, were not vaulted. These parts are completed in 1646 by a panelled frame, replaced by a false plaster vault in the 18C.


The architecture of the Basilica of Saint-Sauveur in Dinan is divided into two distinct ensembles:

Romanesque part of the 12C consisting of the ground floor of the western façade and the southern wall of the nave, outside, the Romanesque part is exceptional; the western façade is of a very unusual style in Brittany and the south wall seems to influence Byzantine ; while the lower part of the western façade is actually approaching a more prevalent Romanesque style in the regions of Poitou and Saintonge than in Brittany. Of the 12C architecture, the nave and the transept can only be described, the choir having been completely rebuilt in the 15-16C.  And a Gothic part occupying the rest of the building (top of the western façade, north wall of the lower side of the nave, transept, chorus and bedside). The Basilica of Saint-Sauveur was rebuilt in the 15-16C, the builders adopted the flamboyant Gothic architecture as at the Church of Saint-Malo de Dinan (see previous post)  of which the construction is contemporary with that of the basilica. The upper part of the western façade, the north wall of the nave, the transept and the bedside are built in flamboyant Gothic. The realization of the bedside was laborious, several incidents postponed the work and the construction of the Chapels of the ambulatory, begun in 1507, continued until the 18C. Despite these difficulties, the bedside represents a dazzling example of Renaissance Gothic.


A bit of the description and architecture , my best.

The Basilica of Saint Sauveur currently has three bells, which are located on the lower level of the steeple (stone part). Before the French revolution, the Basilica had four, but they were sold. The bells were replaced successively in 1832, 1868 and 1873. The latter was replaced in 1961. The bell name, Elisabeth weighs about 2.516 kg. The diameter of the clamp is 1.620 mm. It was done in 1868. The Bell No. 2, Bell without baptismal name weighs about 1.250 kg. The diameter of the clamp is 1.285 mm; done in 1832. The  Anne Cécile, weighs between 845 and 900 kg. The diameter of the clamp is 1.150 mm and was done in 1961. It is the smallest of the three bells that ring, three times a day, in 8:02, 12:02 and 19h02, the Angelus.

 The stained glass windows of the Basilica of Saint Sauveur are mostly from the second half of the 20C, except for the Évangélistes window, placed in a chapel on the north side. The two stained-glass windows of the Romanesque wall closest to the Crusaders contain fragments of unidentified stained glass, probably prior to the 15C. 


Two   important altarpieces that struck the most on the visit was that of Altar piece painting of Santa Barbara 18C and the Painting of Saint Eloi as a bishop .


 In 1839 , Aristide Cavaillon-Coll delivers his opus 6 to the parish of Saint-Sauveur in Dinan. He then had 28 games on three manual keyboards and a pedal (12 games at the Grand organ, 8 at the positive, 4 in the narrative and 4 on the pedal. The buffet, in a single-minded style, affects neoclassical architecture tempered by Renaissance ornaments. Today, the Grand organs of Saint-Sauveur de Dinan have three manual keyboards and a pedal. of neo-classical aesthetics, the instrument, with electric transmission, has not much to do with the work of Cavaillon-Coll.

Some webpages to shed more on the wonderful Dinan even if on the Basilica you need to come to see are:

The Dinan Cap Fréhel tourist office on Dinan

The Brittany tourist board on Dinan’s heritage

A webpage Val de Rance or valley of the Rance river on the Basilica minor Saint Sauveur in French:

There you you go a bit more on wonderful Dinan and its beautiful Basilica Minor Saint Sauveur a well merited stop while here. Another jewel of my belle France and gorgeous Brittany.

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

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