The Saint Jean de Béré Church of Châteaubriant !!

I am on my road warrior mode again, going to see my Bretagne old and new. This time went over into the old Brittany of the Loire Atlantique dept 44 in the new region of Pays de la Loire. I heard about this town and passed by it, never in, until now. Always amazing finds in my belle France. The town is about 55 km from Rennes, 70 km from Nantes, and 73 km from Angers ,Let me tell you a bit about the Saint Jean de Béré Church of Châteaubriant !! 

The town of Châteaubriant is located in the department 44 of Loire-Atlantique, in the Pays de la Loire region, It developed around its castle which was the scene of battles linked to the clash between Brittany and France. The town is about 55 km from Rennes, 70 km from Nantes, and 73 km from Angers.

Dating from the 11C, the Saint Jean de Béré Church is one of the oldest Romanesque churches in the Loire Atlantique,. It is full of small treasures and artistic and architectural wonders, including its many statues, some of which date back to the 15C.

Chateaubriant ch Saint Jean de Bére side front oct22

Chateaubriant ch Saint Jean de Bére altar oct22

The church is located outside the historic center, near the remains of the priory of the Faubourg de Béré. At the very beginning of the 11C, Brient, a Breton lord, founded the priory of Saint-Sauveur de Béré, at the top of a hill overlooking the Chère river, a small tributary river of the Vilaine. The priory depends on the abbey of Marmoutier. Around the priory quickly forms a small village, The parish Church of Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Béré (official name) was built between the years 1060-1080 next to the priory on which it depends and close to a church of Saint-Pierre which disappeared during the Middle Ages, The parish of Béré is one of the most old in the Loire-Atlantique dept 44. It is possible that an older church, possibly dating from Carolingian times, preceded the church of the eleventh century. From this period dates the vast nave, covered with an imposing oak frame.

Chateaubriant ch Saint Jean de Bére nave to altar oct22

In the 12C the transept and the choir were added and in 1222 the two parishes of Béré, Saint-Pierre and Saint-Jean-Baptiste, merged. Shortly after, the old Saint-Pierre church was destroyed, At the end of the 15C or at the very beginning of the 16C, a porch was built in front of the door leading to the south side of the nave. This porch was used to house the meetings of the church council, an assembly of clerics and lay people responsible for raising the funds needed to maintain the church.

A little later, in 1538, the wall surmounting the south door was pierced to make way for a large bay window and around 1664, the church was endowed with its three large Baroque altarpieces. At the end of the 17C, the church experienced other work campaigns, such as in 1678, when the sacristy was erected, or in 1682, when the north chapel, known as the Ecce Homo, was built. The installation of the altarpiece in the choir at the end of the 17C or at the beginning of the following century led to the shuttering of the openings in the apse.

Chateaubriant ch Saint Jean de Bére chapel resurrection right side oct22

During the French revolution, the church did not experience any significant damage, but, abandoned, it was not until 1839 that it was returned to worship. From 1889, the church experienced its last major construction campaign, first replacing the old wooden spire, which had been damaged by the great storm of 1705, with a freestone bell tower surmounted by a polygonal spire. , built a false dome under the new bell tower and raised the gables of the transept. Finally, the sacristy rebuilt, which was to the south of the nave, and had another built on the north side. A new gallery that goes around the apse connects the two new spaces. The paintings of the church were carried out at the end of the works. Recent restorations have brought to light fragments of Romanesque painted decoration.

Chateaubriant ch Saint Jean de Bére chapel virgin et child oct22

On the north side of the nave is the Chapel of the Ecce Homo, built in the 17C, It forms a regular rectangle, covered in a false vault. It now houses the baptismal font, the tombstone of Dean Blais, the relic cupboard representing Saint Victorien, the church bell and the reproduction of an old document concerning the donation of the Béré site by Brient and Innogwen to the monks of Marmoutier. The nave is decorated by two altars preceding the transept. On the north side, the altar dedicated to Saint Blaise also includes a statue of Saint George slaying the dragon and a statue of Saint Victorien. On the south side, the altar of Saint Louis also includes the statues of Saint Augustine and Saint Charles.

Chateaubriant ch Saint Jean de Bére chapel baptismal font oct22

The local Châteaubriant-Derval tourist office on the church

The city of Châteaubriant on its heritage

There you go folks, a dandy of a town, this one is to be back eventually worth it. We were on our road warrior mode so just saw couple monuments and went on to other towns, see posts. Hope you enjoy this post on the Saint Jean de Baptist Church of Châteaubriant as I.

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

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