The Church Saint Michel in La Roche Bernard!

I am taking you to the extremity of my beautiful Morbihan towards Nantes and the rock of Bernard! This is boating heavens in a deep harbor with lots of history and great city center/downtown area. I have written on all that before but today will bring out a new text and older pictures on the wonderful Church Saint Michael or église Saint Michel of La Roche Bernard!

It was hidden with a few notes in previous posts but really deserves a post of its own in my blog. Hope you enjoy it as I. It was time to use the best of the morning for a short ride to a town in the Morbihan , I like even if smallish.  The trip is about 53 minutes from my house and La Roche Bernard is a nice boater’s heaven full of history as well.  Again , so many places to see in my lovely Bretagne ,sometimes I find myself surprise of how far back was my last visit to a place. La Roche Bernard , you reach it by the N165, and once on the D765 you entered by the bridge or Pont de La Roche Bernard over the Vilaine river. It is located about 36 km from Saint-Nazaire, 41 km from Vannes and 70 km from Nantes. Once in town follow signs for centre ville or city center into my favorite parking La Vôute into the harbor where you see the big rock from which the town gets its name the rock of Bernard! The Altantic ocean is about 20 km from town!

One I always stop by is the Church Saint Michael or St Michel.  In 1878, almost in ruins, the old Church is replaced by a new one with more space. The Church is of course in the square or Place Saint Michel.  The Church Saint-Michel was built in 1631 that the son of the famous Duke of Guise decided to build a Catholic church in La Roche-Bernard, which was essentially Protestant at the time. Hesitant between a church and a chapel, the building was reworked many times and, without structure, became fragile. Nothing remains of this 11C church. The surrounding cemetery was transferred in 1832.

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It was therefore decided in 1874 to build a new one. Wanting to anticipate the future and not wanting to see it as too small , the inhabitants chose the most consistent. The old church was destroyed in the process. Work began in 1876 by choosing more luxurious materials than expected because the city was going to cease to depend on the diocese of Nivillac.  The church was consecrated on Sunday October 5, 1879. The bell tower was completed in 1882 and it was in 1883 that the three bells offered by wealthy people from La Rochelle were blessed on April 22. Their first tolls were felt by the population as an ode to independence and freedom.

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The Church St Michel is build in the shape of a Latin cross, is remarkable only for its size and the sense of peace it exudes. However, its decorations are really worth the detour, especially the stained glass windows and the many statues.  But the most extraordinary is the great Christ on the cross in the center of the nave. Indeed, this one was formerly in the old church when it was looted in 1791, during the French revolution. It was dragged in the street, it was thrown in the Vilaine river , and was found a few kms further and hidden a few years by a peasant who returned it.

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Finally, the last unexpected treasure is hidden in the bell tower, access to which is regulated by a very strict prefectural decree. This is a large colony of large murines, a protected species of bats!

The city of La Roche Bernard on the Church St Michel: https://www.laroche-bernard.com/annuaire/leglise-saint-michel/

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2 Comments to “The Church Saint Michel in La Roche Bernard!”

  1. It’s sad that they couldn’t save any of the old church. I’m glad to hear the old Jesus’s in the cross was retreaved from the river and returned later.

    Liked by 1 person

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