Collegiate Church Saint Martin of Candes Saint Martin!!!

Again, our intention was to visit our friend winegrower in St Nicolas de Bourgueil and on the way back to see the fortress of Chinon,(see posts), but as road warrior trip has it on our way back home we stop at Candes-Saint-Martin (see post).  I have heard of the Collegiate Church Saint Martin and all its wonders ,so took a brief detour and went directly for it. this is one of the wonders of my belle France not to be missed me think. And we like it so much, we will be back soon.Hope you enjoy this philosophical and historical town and post.

Candes St Martin Collegiale ch St Martin front nov21

The town of Candes-Saint-Martin or Candes is in the department of Indre-et-Loire,37 in the Centre-Val de Loire region. Located at the confluence of the Loire and the Vienne rivers. The road warrior came along the D 751 ,and for info there is no public transport offer available in the territory of Candes-Saint-Martin itself. The town was founded by Martin de Tours on the western border of his diocese in the last quarter of the 4C, Candes was one of the first parishes in Tours. Saint Martin died in Candes on November 8, 397, which established the notoriety of this small parish where, in the Middle Ages, stood a collegiate church famous for the richness of its sculpted decoration. The precise time when Martin founded the parish of Candes is not known, perhaps around 387, at the same time as he destroyed a pagan temple nearby , In October 397, Martin came to Candes to settle a dispute. , of an unspecified nature, between religious folks ; he was then about 81 years old, was very tired and knew that this trip could be fatal for him On the spot, he managed to restore peace but he was so weakened that his return was not possible. Finally, he died on November 8, 397 in a building on the site of which a chapel of the collegiate church of Candes may later be built.

Candes St Martin Collegiale ch St Martin front tympan nov21

The 12-13C Collegiate Church Saint Martin, fortified in the 15C and restored several times until the 21C. This pilgrimage church is very strongly inspired by the Gothic style of the West but the richness of its decoration, nave and north porch and the fortified arrangements which were added to it make it a unique building. In 1050, the Church of Candes was mentioned as a “collegiate” and its chapter had twelve canons. The old Saint-Maurice church being ruined, the current Saint-Martin de Candes Church was built between 1175 and the middle of the 13C.It is characterized by a very rich sculpted decoration which adorns its transept and its nave but, above all, by a monumental porch open on the north side of the latter.

Candes St Martin Collegiale ch St Martin altar nov21

Candes St Martin Collegiale ch St Martin back nave nov21

Work begins with the choir. It is possible that the chapel of the north apse of this choir, known as the Saint-Martin Chapel, reputed to be built on the site of Martin’s mortuary house, will follow the construction of the main apse and the south apse of the chapel. choir, then the southern chapel which serves as a sacristy in modern times, all in the last quarter of the 12C. The construction continues with the northern chapel, known as the Chapel of the Virgin, adjoining the north to the Chapel of St. Martin and the transept with his sculptures during the first quarter of the 13C.

Candes St Martin Collegiale ch St Martin nave nov21

The planned nave had to be of the same height as the transept, less high than that built and which therefore required the reworking of the transept. Its width was also different, with the side aisles narrower than the main aisle, which explains the irregularities at the level of the connection between the nave and the transept. The architecture of this part of the building, such as it is ultimately retained, seems to be strongly inspired by the Cathedral of Saint-Pierre de Poitiers (see post) , while the modenature recalls the choir of Cathedral Saint-Julien in Le Mans (see post).

The facade is accompanied by two powerful masonry blocks, in the form of towers at the angles, completed by intermediate buttresses terminated in pinnacles engaged and integrated into the decor. These buttresses frame a single pointed arch portal surmounted by a colonnade and an arcade which continue on the buttresses, a rose then a niche today empty; a semicircular bay, on either side of the buttresses, completes the arrangement. The entrance opens onto a large porch measuring 9.50 × 5 meters in interior dimensions open at the level of the second bay of the nave. The porch, made up of three bays, is ribbed vaulted. In its center, a monolithic column. Above the porch, the so-called Saint-Michel Chapel is also made up of three spans covered with ribbed vaults superimposed on those of the porch. It is accessible by a narrow staircase made in the thickness of the wall and connected to the spiral staircase from a corner of the facade The porch is adorned, externally and internally, with numerous statues accompanied by a rich sculpted decoration.  Even if it is not formally established, the very probable vocation of the pilgrimage to the Church of Candes Saint-Martin is reinforced by the opening of the porch, with direct access to a path inherited from an ancient path that runs alongside the Vienne and the Loire rivers, The realization of its decoration intervenes a few years later; however, it remains unfinished for unknown reasons (possibly financial).

Candes St Martin Collegiale ch St Martin chapelle St Martin entr nov21

Candes St Martin Collegiale ch St Martin tomb of St Martin nov21

It is probably to respond to the insecurity linked to the Hundred Years War that the church was partly fortified in the 15C. The two towers which flank the facade and the two others, at the angles of the porch, see their summits resumed. and crowned by machicolations and crenellations, these four fortified towers are connected by a walkway which climbs the slopes of the roof. A bretèche was built on the facade of the porch and watch rooms were fitted out in the upper part of the apses, raised for the occasion. It is possible that the collegiate church was then designed as a small fort that could serve as a refuge for the population of Candes in the event of an attack; it thus becomes one of the rare fortified churches in Touraine.  Despite the fortification of the church, the troops of Gabriel I of Montgommery destroyed certain objects including a wax bust of Louis XI, a gift from the king himself, and mutilated the statues of the porch in 1562, at the start of the Wars of Religion. They burn the chartrier of the collegiate church. The destruction of these documents is at the origin of an imperfect knowledge of the medieval history of Candes and the collegiate church, for which only two texts from before the 19C remain, which mention its history.

Candes St Martin Collegiale ch St Martin Christ mon to fallen nov21

The 18C altar, clad in black marble, is the only liturgical furniture preserved from the Collegiate Church Saint Martin in the 18C is decorated in its center with a dove on a radiant background. The tabernacle, placed on the altar, is surmounted by a Christ on the cross. Until the modifications of the 19C, it was not leaned against the apse altar in the Roman style but located at the crossing of the transept. The three paintings represent : The Baptism of Christ (16C), Saint Paul fallen on the road to Damascus (17C), and The charity of Saint Martin (1837). In 2017, only this last painting is visible to the public above the entrance to the Saint-Martin Chapel; the other two are kept in the sacristy, which is not accessible.  The statues of the 17C, in terracotta on a painted wooden support, form a group composed of a Christ on the cross framed by the Blessed Virgin and Saint John. These statues were placed at the entrance to the nave, on the north side, after 1715. The bronze bell, cast in 1728 to be installed in the reconstructed bell tower, is called “Marie-Louise”. It was restored in 2013.

Candes St Martin Collegiale ch St Martin chapel charity of St Martin nov21

The official Collegiale Church Saint Martin webpage :

The Touraine Val de Loire tourist office on the Collegiale Church Saint Martin :

The city of Candes St Martin on its heritage

There you go folks, this is a masterpiece that needs to be seen and seen again we will. The Collegiate Church Saint Martin at Candes Saint Martin, a loving combination of architecture, history,and nice stories. Hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

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