Cathedral of the Holy Trinity of Laval!!

And this town have written several posts but still me think is an off the beaten path town of my belle France. It should not be, just need to get out more, Laval is beautiful. I am updating older posts and it has been a wonderful ride of great emotions, and I thank you for reading me over the years keeping me company. I like to update for you and I the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity of Laval!!


In my trips around France I have encountered with numerous wonderful surprises of great beauty, and this one is one of them. Ah yes ,the city of Laval is in the department of the Mayenne no 53  in the region of Pays de la Loire.  I came here because one of my previous boss was a native here and spoked gladly of his native city. This gave me to look up Laval, and as not too far from me decided to come. I have written before a nice spread out on the city, but need to make justice on their greatest assets, the Cathedral of the Trinity or Cathédrale de la  Sainte Trinité de Laval.


A bit of history I like

Raised by the monks of the Couture of Le Mans around 1070, the Holy Trinity Cathedral was originally a dependency of the priory of Pritz. Having acquired the status of Parish Church of Laval in 1160, it then acquires a nave covered with imposing vaults of warheads of domed shape responding to the Gothic style Angevin or Plantagenet.  The Trinity experienced a phase of enlargement between 1485 and 1595, materialized by the construction of a left collateral illustrating the transition from the flamboyant Gothic style to that of the Renaissance. Becoming Cathedral of the Diocese of Mayenne in 1855, the Trinity sees its plan regulated by the addition of a portal of neo-Romanesque style, the laying of a frame with metal frame and the elevation of its cross-tower on the model of Saint-Germain des Prés of Paris. The Cathedral is located in city center between the squares Place Hardy de Lévare and Place de la Trémoille.  During the French revolution, the Church was looted, but the destruction remained minimal. The prosecutor of the town of Laval, presides over this devastation and its transformation into a Temple of reason for the worship of Reason and a Supreme Being: it is said that he took pleasure in hitting the statues and ornaments himself, to break them. Among the statues that decorated the Trinity inside and outside, that of the Blessed Virgin alone was spared. It was transformed into a Statue of Liberty.


Some of the wonderful details on the architecture I can tell you are

The Holy Trinity Cathedral presents an irregular Latin cross plan. The nave kept its dimensions from the 11C, but it was largely altered in the 12C, with the addition of Gothic vaults. It has only one vessel and three square bays. The remains of the 11C Church are scarce, and the Cathedral has few Romanesque traces. The last most visible elements are the arch separating the nave from the transept, as well as the berry passages that frame the present transept dating from the 16C and 19C. It is not in the same location as the Middle Ages transept, which disappeared during the extension of the choir. Indeed, it was behind the grand arc Romanesque, while the present transept is in front. It therefore reuses the last span of the nave, which acts as a cross-aisle of the transept. The chorus is the result of multiple extensions and it is the part of the cathedral that has the least coherence. There are only a few pillars of the Romanesque bedside, and the general structure is given by the bedside built in the 15C. The bell tower, of square construction, is located on the crossroads of the transept, a place it occupies since the 11C. The current building dates to its lower part of the 12C instead, a top floor was built in 1905. It is granite and it is also opened by geminate berries, but they are wider than those of the 12C.



The big Gate. In 1597 a monumental portal was built with the use of ancient pilasters, Columns, pediments…etc. The original statues, which disappeared during the French revolution, were replaced in 1853 by work made in terracotta of the Agêts, and representing Saint Benedict and Saint Bernard, the Popes Saint Léon the Great and Saint Gregory the Great, Saint Augustine and Saint Ambrose. These statues were replaced in August 2010 by copies for conservation reasons. At the foot of the gate, a double-flight staircase was built in 1734. Six tapestries of the manufacture of Felletin, end of the 17C, cover the walls of the nave. They illustrate Judith’s book.  The central picture represents the mystery of the Holy Trinity: three equal globes arranged in a triangle illuminate the Virgin kneeling, surrounded by the 12 apostles.  Below in a niche, the Holy Trinity: God the Father Blessing, the son holding a cross and above them the dove of the Holy Spirit. On both sides, in niches, Saint Peter carrying the keys and St. John the Evangelist. On either side of this altarpiece, built in the middle of the 17C, are the terracotta statues of St. Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi of the 17C as well. These tapestries were made during the second half of the 17C they were probably made for the Benedictine convent which was in the Place de Hercé before the revolution.



The portals of the transept are the most remarkable. The 16C presents the transition between Renaissance art and Classical style. It presents ancient registers and ornaments, such as Corinthian columns and enlargements, but also medieval details, as the Romanesque arch that overcomes the Cathedral door has a number of elements of the 18C, such as the Tribune, which dates from 1770. It supports the organ and has a wrought iron guardrail on Corinthian columns. Underneath, the oval baptistery in red marble dates from the same time. The crucifix that faces the pulpit is also of the 18C, it is made of polychrome wood. The chair dates from 1803. The Cathedral contains a second marble altar, dating back to 1554. This is perhaps the first marble work ever done in Laval the Tribune organ is a gothic-styled Coll. It was purchased after a subscription launched in 1852. The original great organ was sold.


Before the French revolution, the Holy Trinity Cathedral had thirteen altarpieces. Only the great altarpiece has survived the great altarpiece is characteristic of the Laval school which developed in the 17C and radiated throughout the west of France. It has three floors, the big work in limestone, while the columns and inlays are in marble. The ensemble consists of terracotta statues representing St. John, St. Peter and the Trinity. The set is eight meters high.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip to the Holy Trinity Cathedral, and is worth the detour, are:

The Laval tourist office on its history/heritage

The Laval tourist office on the Cathedral

A wonderful gem of the Holy Trinity Cathedral of Laval, that should be visited in nice medieval Laval.  Hope you enjoy the revise post as I.

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

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