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Mairie de Vitré

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HomeDiscover Vitré > Town of Art and History label > Laissez-vous conter ...Saint-Martin neo-Romanesque church

Saint-Martin neo-Romanesque church

 

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Saint-Martin church

When the Railway and barracks of the 70th infantry regiment were built in the second half of the 19th century, the old Saint-Martin church located in the Saint-Martin cemetery, whose only remaining feature is the bell tower, had become too small and too far out from the town centre compared to the new neighbourhoods. It was therefore decided that a new church would be built using local schist stone. Its high walls now dominate the town thanks to its central location, and it has become a ‘counterweight’ to Notre-Dame church, its eternal rival. The Mellet architects from Rennes, fervent Catholics whose father Jacques came from Vitré, were commissioned for the project. As admirers of Romanesque art, they chose a neo-Romanesque architectural style, even though the inner vaulting is formed from ogives. The church is designed with an oriented Latin cross ground plan featuring a limited transept. The central nave has five rows and is lined with two aisles that run down around the choir. As per tradition, there are three levels: from the vast arcades to the wide galleries to the high windows. The cupola is the edifice’s focal point and is located at the transept crossing.