The Church Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois of Pleyben!!

Ok looking over the previous post on the enclosure of Pleyben I notice the main church was hardly mentioned. So this is a new post ,new text with older pictures to showcase this magnificent Church of Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois of Pleyben. Hope you enjoy the post as I. And thanks for reading me since Nov 2010!!!

Yes indeed in a small town and so much architecture and history to take you a day, this is Pleyben. I have taken the main church from the enclosure to do a post of its own here, well worth it me think. One of the great off the beaten path missed gems of my lovely Bretagne!! Let me tell you about it a bit more, and hope you enjoy as I.  I have  come   here several times now even to buy chocolates (see post) next to the enclosure church ,again this is something espectacular and historical religious etc you name it.  This is Pleyben, Finistére dept 29 of the region of Bretagne.  

The Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois Church is in the late Breton Gothic style. The church has two bell towers: the large bell tower above the porch is a Renaissance tower with a dome with lanterns, and another in the Cornish style. The bedside is in the Beaumanoir style.

Pleyben enclos side Saint Germain l’Auxerrois nov12

On the ogival facade is planted the small Gothic bell tower known as Sainte-Catherine. The bell tower has a chamber of bells which is surmounted by an arrow culminating at 32 meters. Access to this tower is via a staircase turret, passing from a square plan to an octagonal plan. It is connected to the bell tower by an aerial gallery. Under this bell tower, the door with double handle and brace is surmounted by moldings and a counter-curve of foliage.  The large bell tower known as Saint Germain rises to 47.5 meters. The bell tower and the porch are in Renaissance style and bear the dates of 1588 and 1591.

Pleyben enclos ch Saint Germain l’Auxerrois belltower nov12

The porch is characterized by the engaged columns that support the large entrance arch. They consist of fluted drums and protruding ornate rings, and they are crowned with Corinthian capitals which support an archivolt with a volute in acanthus leaves.  Above the entablature of the facade, you will see the kneeling statues of the Virgin and the Archangel Gabriel in the scene of the Annunciation. In the middle , you see a beautiful niche housing the statue of Saint Germain, patron of the church.

pleyben ch st germaine l auxerrois altar mar14

At the corners stand four beautiful bell towers. In the middle of these bell towers rises a large octagonal dome which is itself surmounted by a slender lantern forming the crown of the bell tower. In the porch, the apostles in their niches each carry a phylactery. Above the front door, a statue of the Savior holding the globe of the world with one hand and blessing with the other.

Inside the church is of a Latin cross design with a five-bay nave bordered by aisles. The nave is relatively dark because it is lit indirectly to the north and south by three semicircular or pointed arch windows. The nave is surmounted by a paneled vault surrounded by beautiful polychrome sand pits dating from 1571. They present very lively scenes from everyday life, from the Bible or even from pagan mythology.

pleyben ch st germain l auxerrois chap jesus mar14

The main stained-glass window, dating from the end of the 16C, represents the Passion of Christ. The baptismal font is decorated with statues of Saint John, Saint Elizabeth, Saint Zachary from an old altarpiece. Formerly there was a fourth figure holding the garments of Christ; this character is currently in the South transept next to the group of Saint Yves. The Saint Germain l’Auxerrois Church is adorned with many polychrome statues including a statue of Saint Germain dating from 1555, from a Calvary; in the nave and the aisles are statues of Saint Herbot, Saint Yves, Saint Corentin, Saint Antoine, Saint Geneviève, Saint Renan as well as a large wooden statue of Saint Guénolé dating from the 18C.

The altarpieces currently in place date from the end of the 17C. The altarpiece with columns of the Rosary has 15 medallions of the mysteries of the Rosary surround the Virgin giving the rosary to Saint Dominic and Saint Catherine of Siena. It is dated 1698. The turreted altarpiece of the high altar dated 1666 – 1667 which represents Christ the Savior and the four Evangelists Matthew, Luke, John and Mark. The altarpiece of the Fallen or the Sacred Heart altarpiece, dated from the 18C , is located in the south arm of the transept; it represents a Descent from the Cross. A beautiful cabinet with Saintes Huiles presents sculpted figures including Bretons in traditional costume.

pleyben ch st germain l auxerrois chap enfant jesus mar14

pleyben ch st germain l auxerrois chap angels taking on jesus mar14

The organs were built by Thomas Dallam between 1688 and 1692 on the model of the organs of the Abbey of Daoulas, dating from 1670 and no longer present. They included a polychrome two-body sideboard: the large organ and a C positive, a console with two manual keyboards and a pedal. The restoration work lasted from January 1994 to April 1996 and consisted of restoring the sideboard, completing Heyer’s great organ and rebuilding a C positive and an independent pedal.

pleyben ch St Germain organ mar14

The SPREV association to preserve the religious heritage has more and pictures on the St Germain L’Auxerrois Church in French:

The town of Pleyben on the Church with video in French:

The Menez Hom Breton touristic webpage on the enclosure/church in French:

There you go folks I feel better now to tell you all about beautiful little Pleyben a worth detour to see something wondeful in the Finistére dept 29 of my lovely Bretagne.

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

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