3 juin 2007 7 03 /06 /juin /2007 12:36
The district of Chartrons owes its name to the Cistercian monks who, to escape the fighting of the Hundred Years War, installed themselves in the farming area of Bordeaux in September 1383.
They came from Perigord, a region which like Bordeaux, was under English domination since the marriage in 1154 of Duchess Alienor of Aquitaine to Henry Plantagenet II who inherited the English throne two years later.
In 1453, the English were defeated in the battle of Castillon near Bordeaux and left the Duchies of Guyenne and Bordeaux to the King of France.
To control access to the river Garonne and assert his power, King Charles VII had the Trumpet Castle built on the site of the present Quinconces Square, and thus brought about the destruction of the Cistercian Monastery. However their chapel, which was situated on the Chartrons Quay was preserved and afterwards became known as the Foreigners' Chapel because it served as a place of worship for those people.
In 1626, Cardinal François de Sourdis* brought the Discalded Carmelites to Bordeaux and bought them a property whith a vast enclosure to build their monastery. In 1664, King Louis XIV decided to enlarge the Trumpet Castle and so destroyed the monastery.
In 1670, the latter obtained permission to build a big hospice and a chapel that they consecrated to Our Lady of Salvation.
In 1726 a new church replaced the old chapel. It was dedicated to Our Lady of the Visitation. This is the site of the present church today on Notre-Dame street.
In 1791 by decree of the Constituency Assembly the Carmelites were expelled and the parish of St Louis in Chartrons was created, soon to be closed...and reopened after the Revolution.
In 1875, it was decided to demolish the church and to rebuild a bigger one, which was given over to worship in 1880.
It is a neo-gothic style church designed by the Bordeaux architect Pierre-Charles Brun. It belongs to the style of building and restoration of religious buildings decided by Cardinal Donnet as " best conforming to the Christian spirit and need of that time. "
The facade is divided vertically in three parts : two towers surmounted by spires enclosing a central body.
Horizontally, there are four levels : the porch, the rose window and the four windows of the towers, the louvre of the bell tower and the crowning gable on which is the statue of St Louis and finally the spires.
The nave is vaulted with diagonal ribs inscribed in rectangles. In 1879 Bernard Jabouin raised the level of the main altar in white marble. Its reredos is made up of six panels decorated with beautiful drawn angels and fleur-de-lis.
At the ends of the transept, the large statues of the Sacred-Heart and Virgin altars are the work of the sculptor Victor Lambinet. Fortunately the re-use of some of the masterpieces from the old church ( the pulpit, the confessionals and the superb panelling in Cuba mahogany in the sacristy ) gives a nice impression.
The stained glass windows of the nave honour fifty-four saints. In the skylight of the north transept, we see saint Louis wearing the relics of the Crown of thorns and at the south end, saint Louis leaving for the 7th Crusade. They were made in 1899 by Joseph Villiers, a Bordeaux master glazier.
Quai des Chartrons, Pierre Lacour 1804, collection Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux
Link : www.bordeaux-tourisme.com
* Cardinal François de Sourdis ( 1574-1628 ), see my link : http://ut-pupillam-oculi.over-blog.com/article-12828183.html