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Eglise Notre-Dame

Not rated ,  Historic site and monument ,  Church in Calais

  • The monks of Saint-Bertin Abbey (in Saint Omer) authorised the construction of a church in 1223. The edifice as it stands today is the result of several building campaigns from the 13th to the 17th century. The English completed its construction, enlarging the church by finishing it off with a chevet. They also built the transept, the choir bays and the bell tower.

    The originality of this church lies in its mixture of styles, being probably the only church of Tudor influence in continental...
    The monks of Saint-Bertin Abbey (in Saint Omer) authorised the construction of a church in 1223. The edifice as it stands today is the result of several building campaigns from the 13th to the 17th century. The English completed its construction, enlarging the church by finishing it off with a chevet. They also built the transept, the choir bays and the bell tower.

    The originality of this church lies in its mixture of styles, being probably the only church of Tudor influence in continental Europe. From the outside, it resembles the cathedrals of Rochester or Gloucester and has no buttresses or arches, unlike most continental cathedrals. At the crossing of the transept and the nave, stands a massive tower supporting the bell tower, a remarkable example of medieval architecture. In 1691, on the north side of the nave, at the request of Louis XIV, Vauban built a cistern with a capacity of 1800 m3 which was used to collect rainwater from the roof of the church for the needs of the garrison and the population in the event of a siege or drought. Nowadays this church is famous because it was here that General Charles de Gaulle and the Calaisian Yvonne Vendroux were married in 1921. The church is also situated on the pilgrimage route of the Via Francigena (Canterbury-Rome). It has undergone a major restoration campaign over the last 15 years. It is surrounded by a pleasant English-style garden, the Tudor Garden.