Church Saint Leonard of Fougéres!

Moving right alone in my beautiful Brittany and visiting the neighboring departmet of Ille et Vilaine no 35 we come to the city of Fougéres! Again, several entries in my blog on it, but as a general descriptive nature. I feel obligated to mention this Church Saint Leonard as one of my favorites.

From Fougéres came out Armand-Charles Tuffin, marquis de La Rouërie, that went over with La Fayette and fought with Gen Washington for American independance. He was promoted to Colonel for courage and valor in the battlefield and the US Congress in 1817 gave him the US citizenship honorably. (see post),

However, walking around town we came upon this Church that stands out and took a closer look, we were pleasantly surprise, another jewel in my belle France! I like to tell you a bit more on the Church Saint Leonard of Fougéres! Saint-Léonard Church  is located in the upper town in the immediate vicinity of the city/town hall and the public garden. The impasse Saint-Léonard separates it from the seat of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Fougéres.


The Church of Saint-Léonard was erected in the 12C by the monks of Pontlevoy on the plateau which dominates the Castle of Fougéres. It was rebuilt from 1407 to 1636 in a flamboyant Gothic style in order to meet the demands of the demographic increase that the city knew. Desecrated at the French revolution, the Church was profoundly revamped in the 19C, including the reorientation of the sanctuary, its expansion and the construction of a new main façade. The Church Saint-Léonard is a typical example of the religious buildings built in upper Bretagne at the end of the Middle Ages. Without a transept, finished by a flat bedside, its ample nave is accosted by a row of chapels built according to the foundations and the needs of a growing population.


The main façade dates back to the 19C and replaces the original choir. Placed on a high step, a real stone lace, it transposes the models of the large flamboyant facades of Ile-de-France (Beauvais, Senlis, Sens or Meaux) under the Breton skies, using brilliantly the Kersanton stones for a result of the most graceful. The main door, with a perforated tympanum, is surrounded by buttresses with pinnacles, a gable crowning the whole and interrupting a first finely gallery bordering a terrace located at half-height. A six-meters diameter rose is the major ornament of the front porch. The steeple, built in local granite, endowed with gargoyles in the shape of cannons and a Renaissance gallery, the tower ends with high belfry crowned by a dome with lantern.


The Church of Saint-Léonard presents a simple basilical-type layout. It is indeed a large nave of nine bays , the first span constituting a kind of narthex opening on two chapels. The church has doves covering the main nave having been raised to a height higher than the vaults of the secondary naves during the 19C. The liturgical space of the choir is singled by the presence of a triumphant arch at its entrance and the vaulting from the last two spans of the church. The latter date from the 19C which saw the change of orientation of the main façade being now turned towards the upper city.


Most of the stained glass windows of the Saint-Léonard Church date from 1959. The bombardment of the city in 1944 having blown the old glass. The windows of the collateral and the bedside of figures in foot of Breton Saints or having been the subject of special veneration in the Middle Ages and under the old regime (monarchy),such as Saint Joan of Arc and Saint Geneviève, Saint Yves and the Curé of Ars, Saint Crépin and Saint Crispinian, Saint Aubert and Saint Michel. The Church still retains some fragments of its 16C stained glass and the oldest stained glass of Brittany from the abbey of Saint-Denis and dates from the 12C. These pieces, exhibited in the chapels flanking the main façade of Saint-Léonard.


In the Chapel of the Baptismal Fonts , under the tower, fragments of an entrance of Christ in Jerusalem that adorned the former mistress-glass and other scenes of the 16C. Fragments of a resurrection of Lazarus, of Jesus in the Temple, of the adulterous woman. In the Chapel of the Sacred Heart; the exploration on the body of Christ, donor and Saint-Yves. Rondel of the 12C presenting two scenes of the Life of St. Benedict, coming from Saint-Denis: Romanus giving to Benoît his flow and Benedict nourished the Easter day by a priest. It is the oldest stained glass in Brittany. It was given to the Church of Saint-Léonard around 1898. The large organs were built in 1881.


There you go folks, another worth a detour and may be considered an off the beaten path trip as most folks coming over here stop at the castle for the day and leave ;pity there is a lot more to see in Fougéres.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip are:

The city of Fougéres on its heritage

The Fougéres tourist office on the church

The Bretagne region tourist office on Fougéres

There you go folks all set to go, you will be glad you did. My lovely Bretagne is awesome! And even as off the beaten path, the St Leonard’s Church is a dandy to see; hope you have enjoy the post as I,

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

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