The Basilique Notre-Dame de Bon-Secours of Guingamp !!!

And I like to tell you this time about an off the beaten path nice town call Guingamp in the Côtes d’Armor dept 22 of my lovely Bretagne! I have written before much on its history, this time had a bit more time in my road warrior trips ,and would like to expand on the Basilique Notre Dame de Bon-Secours. Hope you enjoy it as I.

Guingamp basilica ND bon secours front towers sep22

Briefly, Guingamp is located 110 km from Brest and 130 km from Rennes. Saint-Brieuc, the prefecture, is 32 km away. It is about 109 km from my house ! The N12 road , the old royal road from Paris to Brittany now the main road passing by it and it goes all the way to Fougéres where I connect with Paris lately. However, mostly from my house I take the D768 north.

Guingamp basilica ND bon secours belltower side sep22

The Basilique Notre-Dame de Bon-Secours  is located in the heart of the historic city of Guingamp. In 1093, the count of Guingamp, Etienne inherited the county of Penthièvre on the death of his older brother, Geoffroy. Inside the walls, the old castle chapel quickly became a respected and influential parish. In the 12C, the church known today as Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours bore the successive terms of Saint-Pierre and Saint-Paul before wearing that of the Church of Blessed Mary ,a place of Marian pilgrimage. It had major reconstruction work , lasting more than fifty years and end around 1350 during the reign of Charles de Blois. The duke took part in the construction of the sacristy, of which he laid the first stone himself, and in that of the high altar. The worship of the Virgin Mary, hitherto discreet, was gaining importance. On March 25, 1676, the day of the Annunciation, the cult of the Virgin of the Portal became devotion to Madame Marie du Vrai Secours, Notre Dame de Bon Secours or Our Lady of Good Help. But, after the passage of the French revolution, with the looting and destruction of many other religious buildings, the signing of the Concordat of July 16, 1801 between Bonaparte and Pius VII, leaves Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours the only active parish. . It was not until 1857 to witness the coronation of the Virgin under the pontificate of Pius IX and on October 24, 1899 that a papal bull from Leo XIII erected this sanctuary as a minor Basilica.

Guingamp basilica ND bon secours nave to altar pulpit left sep22

As briefly as possible a description of this wonderful must see monument of Guingamp from books, wikipedia and my visit.

The tour Pointue or pointed tower is located in the center of the basilica. 57 meters high, it is surmounted by an octagonal granite spire at the end of which a rooster can be seen perched on its three-meter-high wrought iron cross and admiring the view. The tour Renaissance tower is located on the south side of the western facade of the basilica. It was erected in the 16C, allowing visitors to admire the Renaissance style ,inside the bell chamber was restored in 1988 and contains several bells.  The Sainte-Jeanne portal is located on the north facade of the basilica and opens onto the north transept. It consists of two large pointed arch doors, surmounted by a large pointed arch, also broken, which rests on small columns with carved capitals. On each side of this portal you will notice a large bench emerging from the jambs, called “bench of the poor and pilgrims” and four gargoyle cannons distributed around the sculpture. Above the Sainte-Jeanne portal, you can now admire a stained glass window dated 1857. It consists of four vertical stained glass windows, wide and low, each containing a scene with the life of the Duchess Françoise d’ Amboise, wife of Peter II. The name Sainte-Jeanne given to this porch was also the first name of the wife of the blessed Duke Charles of Blois . Her name was Jeanne de Penthièvre, called Jeanne la Boiteuse, and she was an only child. In 1337, she married the duke and on the death of her uncle Jean III, she became the heiress of the Breton duchy stretching from Lamballe to Guingamp. It was then that Jean III’s half-brother, Jean de Montfort , supported by Edward III of England , disputed this inheritance, which led to the war of succession of Brittany in 1341. For their part, Jeanne de Penthièvre and Charles de Blois could claim the support of Philippe VI de Valois , king of France and brother of Marguerite de Valois, mother of Charles de Blois. A year after the death of her husband, defeated by Jean IV , son of Jean de Montfort, at the Battle of Auray in 1364, Jeanne de Penthièvre signed the Treaty of Guérande on April 12, 1365, thus ending the War of the Succession of Brittany. Thereafter, she does everything possible to increase the aura of her deceased husband among the population, notables and other believers. Thus she almost succeeded in extremis in the canonization of Charles de Blois, to the great displeasure of Jean IV. On September 10, 1384, she died and was buried in the Cordeliers convent with her husband. And indeed Charles de Blois was canonise years later.

Guingamp basilica ND bon secours main entr portain ste jeanne sep22

The Porte au Duc or Duke’s door is located on the south facade of the basilica. It was originally reserved for the nobles of the castle, hence its name, The Baptismal font Chapel is located by the western portal. Originally located on the site of the Clock Tower, it was refitted in 1850 in the first seat of the West Tower.The Chapel of the Virgin Mary is located to the north of the basilica. It consists of a wrought iron gate which is divided in two by a central pillar. This porch leads us to the Notre-Dame Chapel. It is surmounted by a stained glass window composed of a six-lobed rose and two quadrilobed circles. Inside, the polychrome wooden statue of the Virgin, said to come from Marseilles, carries the Child Jesus. The processional statue of the Virgin is located inside the basilica, The Chapel of the Dead, formerly Chapel of the Trinity or Chapel of Saint-Denis, is located on the north aisle of the basilica On the wall of this chapel is the statue of Saint Joan surmounted by the inscription: “Sainte- Jeanne – Protect the children of the world”. Below the statue, a tabernacle is adorned with the image of a pelican. The latter spreads his wings feeding his sons with his blood and entrails; it is the symbol of paternal love. The Saint-Jacques Chapel is located near the Porte au Duc on the south side of the basilica. It was, until 1621, the place where the city community met. This part of the basilica is dedicated to spirituality and was once the seat of the Brotherhood of Shoemakers. They constitute a community of so-called minor or Franciscan monks living only on collections and donations and who quickly acquire popularity and influence with the people, the bourgeois and the notables The statue represents it wearing a hat decorated with a shell Saint -Jacques, dressed in his pilgrim’s habit, in search of God, The Chapel of the Treasury is located immediately south of the Porte au Duc on the south side of the basilica, where you can admire the superb ceiling in rounded and sculpted paneling at the drop of the arches. Above is a secretariat built in 1570 and adjacent to the City/town hall which dates from the beginning of the 17C. The Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament is located in the eastern part of the south aisle of the basilica. Formerly called the Chapel of the Virgin, it was furnished in 1860 with a white marble altar.

Guingamp basilica ND bon secours front porte au Duc sep22

Guingamp basilica ND bon secours chapel baptismal font sep22

Guingamp basilica ND bon secours chapel saint sacrement sep22

Guingamp basilica ND bon secours chapel of the Virgin sep22

Guingamp basilica ND bon secours chapel ste Anne sep22

The north of the nave is the Gothic part of the 13C while the south corresponds to the Renaissance part of the 15-16C. The old Romanesque pillars are trapped in the new rectangular supports with columns engaged in the four directions, reinforcement required by the erection of the new crossing tower surmounted by a high spire , The Choir of the Notre-Dame-de-Bon Secours Basilica is surrounded by four large pillars, each offering to the gaze of informed visitors, heads of enigmatic characters. This particular form of Gothic is fond of lanceolate imitating flames and succeeds radiant Gothic. The carved foliage of the capitals, the corolla caps of the fallout and ancient statues are also available to visitors. The apse of the Basilica of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours dates from the 15C. It originally had three small altars dedicated to Saint John the Baptist , Notre-Dame de Pitié and Saint Joseph . It is now adorned with a polychrome wooden bas-relief depicting scenes from the “Passion of Christ”. It comes from the old chapel of Pors An Quen, destroyed in 1900. The apse represents the end of the nave behind the high altar. Originally flat and composed of three large windows, it was replaced between 1462 and 1484 by a polygonal apse, The majestic organ of the Basilica of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours is located on the south aisle, in the Chapel of Saint Jacques. During its history, it has undergone several restorations. The sacristy is attached to the northern buttresses of the apse. It was founded by Charles de Blois who laid the first stone. The presbytery is located near the western portal, to the south-west of the basilica. This is how in the first half of the 18C, in 1720, the presbytery was rebuilt, to offer everyone this beautiful facade.

Guingamp basilica ND bon secours stained glass windows sep22

Guingamp basilica ND bon secours stained glass on memory ND sep22

The Guingamp heritage on the Basilica Notre Dame de Bon Secours :

The local Guingamp Paimpol tourist office on the Basilica

There you go folks, another wonder of our beautiful Bretagne in dept 22  Côtes d’Armor up north. Guingamp is nice and glad to be back as promise, A must see while in town, the Basilica Notre Dame de Bon Secours !!! Hope you have enjoy the post as I.

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

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