More of the Notre Dame Basilica of Alençon !!

Let me take you back to Alençon, the wonderful historical town of the Orne in Normandy. This time will tell you more about a hugely historical church ; part of the history of France, Europe, and the World. Hope you enjoy the post on the Notre Dame Basilica of Alençon !! as I,

The Basilica of Notre-Dame (see post) is a Gothic architecture church located in the Place de la Magdelaine in city center of Alençon in the pedestrian area. Its construction was begun by Charles III, Duke of Alençon at the time of the Hundred Years War in 1356 to end in the 19C. The Notre Dame Church, because of the importance of the pilgrimage in the footsteps of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and her parents, Blessed Louis and Zélie Martin ,who became saints in October 2015, is elevated to the rank of basilica by Pope Benedict XVI in August 2009.


A Romanesque church, already dedicated to Notre-Dame in her Assumption, existed on this site in the 12C. It depended on a priory founded by the Abbey of Lonlay. Then became a parish church, it was enlarged, The collection of stained glass, the elegance of the 15C nave and the fully restored organ are worth a visit indeed. More of these below on new text and links.

The eleven windows of the 16C are incomparable witnesses of the art of the glass painters of the Renaissance. Over the centuries, they have undergone many restorations that have enabled us to preserve this heritage. They were sheltered during WWII. Dominating the case of the great organs c1540, the Tree of Jesse was donated in 1511 by the brotherhood of Notre-Dame de l’Angevine, which brought together the leather professions. A cartouche at the bottom of the window presents the Nativity of the Virgin. The five windows on the north side illustrate fundamental biblical stories in the History of Salvation; the Creation, the Original Fault, the Sacrifice of Abraham, the Passage of the Red Sea and the cycle of Moses and the Brazen Serpent c1543. Those in the South present episodes from the life of Mary known from the Gospels or recounted in the Golden Legend: the Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple, the marriage of the Virgin, the Virgin of Mercy, the Annunciation and the Visitation, the Dormition and the Assumption. It is possible to understand the spatial arrangement of each of the themes by associating them in an analogical way: the presentation of Mary ,new Eve, facing the presentation of Eve to Adam, the human marriage facing the Mystical Marriage. In the middle of the nave, two sacrifices answer each other; the sacrifice, forbidden by God, of the only son of Abraham and the Sacrifice, granted by God, of his Only Son to save men. Likewise, the Law symbolized by Moses is fulfilled by the coming into our flesh of Jesus. The windows closest to the sanctuary deal on the one hand with the bad death, that to which sin inexorably leads, and the Good Death, that of Mary, who consecrated her life to the Love of God.


During the restorations of the Notre Dame Church in the 19C, historiated stained glass windows for the windows of the chapels were inaugurated in 1884. Blown away by the bombardments in 1944, they were replaced between 1986 and 1996 for the Chapel of the Sacred Heart. The Chapel of the Baptistery retains a stained glass window recalling the baptism in this place, on January 4, 1873, of Thérèse Martin, the future Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face, proclaimed Doctor of the Church in 1997, year of the centenary. of her death. Around the Coronation of the Virgin, figures of Blessed Margaret of Lorraine and Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, stained glass windows created in the 1930s

It should also be noted that new large organs were installed in 2016 in the case dating from 1537. There is mention of an organ in the church from 1506/1508. In 1537, a new instrument was ordered , The remarkable case of French Renaissance, which we can admire today, restored to its original light colors. A historical chronological view on the organ of the Basilique Notre Dame d’Alençon.


From 1652 to 1657, the organ was restored. At the end of the 17C, again was restored . In 1804 and 1805, it was carried out repairs following the damage caused by the French revolution. In 1862, the case was classified as a Historic Monument and restore, or even rebuild the instrument, in an obviously very different style. In 1944, the organ suffered enormously from the Allied bombings of WWII. At the end of the 1960s, the organ was damaged by restoration work on the vault and in 1976 it became mute. In 2008, the city of Alençon approved the restoration project of the historic buffet and the reconstruction of a new instrument. In 2012, the contract for this work was awarded. From 2014 to 2016, the organcase was completely dismantled and restored . The original colours, as they appear in the 1537 contract, have been restored. It is neither a baroque or classical instrument, nor a romantic or symphonic instrument, nor a neo-classical organ from the 20C… It is a real contemporary creation.The instrument has 33 real stops on three manuals and pedalboard, with mechanical transmission of the keyboards and electromechanical stops. The sound layout allows the interpretation of different repertoires, from the 17C to the 21C. The instrument was inaugurated on September 1, 2016.


The city of Alençon on its heritage :

The Alençon tourist office on its religious heritage:

The Sanctuary towns of France on Alençon

There you go folks, a memorable beautiful Notre Dame Basilica on a very nice pleasant Alençon. Again, hope you enjoy the post as I, And remember, happy travels, good health and many cheers to all !!!

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