The basilica Notre-Dame de la Couture in Bernay

The church Notre-Dame de la Couture in the south of the city Bernay was built from 1340 until around 1400 and enlarged in the 16th century. It stands on the foundations of an older building and historians estimate, that the crypta was constructed in the 11th century. The church tower has been rebuilt after 1615. The outer walls consist of sand stone, lime stone, flint and pudding stone. The flint and the other stones are arranged in a chequerboard pattern. The church received the title basilica minor in 1950 by the future Pope John XXIII (1881-1963). In 1906 the building received the status as a National Heritage Site. The church is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the additional name “Couture” is derived from “culture” in the sense of plant culture. The place where the church stands, high over the city on the flank of a hill, must have been a field before the first church had been built there.

View of Bernay and a corner of the basilica Notre-Dame de la Couture. On the left you can see the square of war graves. Own photo on Wikimedia Commons, licence: CC by/SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Western side, main entrance. Nowadays they use an entrance on the northern side. Own photo on Wikimedia Commons, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

One of the entrances on the northern side. This one isn’t in use and needs restauration. Own photo on Wikimedia Commons, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

This door looks locked, but it’s in use. It’s the main entrance at the moment, not very impressive. Own photo on Wikimedia Commons, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

The church has nice gargoyles. Own photo on Wikimedia commons, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

On the church tower are bartizans. I don’t even want to imagine how scary it must be to stand guard there, it makes me feel giddy. Maybe the bartizans have only decorative purpose?

Higher part of the western façade. Own photo, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

transept, southern side. Own photo on Wikimedia Commons, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Original main entrance. Own photo on Wikimedia Commons, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

And a bit nearer because the door looks so nice. Own photo, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

One of the bells was was cast in 1658. It was donated by the abbot of the monastery Notre-Dame (which stood in the middle of the city) and several inhabitants of Bernay. The bell is listed as well as the 22 beautiful church windows. They were made in the 15th, 16th, 17th and 19th century. I don’t have the material to take proper photos of those windows. Some of them, especially the oldest ones, are very high in the mid of the nave.

On the occasion of the Heritage Days 2012 the local association Amis de Bernay (friends of Bernay) showed an exhibition of liturgical vestment of the 19th century in the choir. But on Saturday there were two baptisms and thus I had to hurry, the exhibition was closing early.

Entrance to the crypta. Doesn’t it look mysterious? And dark. The interior of the crypta is decorated with pastel wall paintings by a local artist. France has no freedom of panorama and the artist wasn’t even dead yet. Takes 70 years to wait after the death of an artist before I can upload photos. Own photos, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Chasubles (19th century). Own photo on Wikimedia Commons, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Copes (19th century). Own photo on Wikimedia Commons, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

The nave, the priest guides the people who take part in the baptism ceremony. Own photo, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Altar. Own photo, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Ascension of Jesus, 16th century window. Own photo on Wikimedia Commons, licence, Lizenz: CC by/ Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported

Jesus enters Jerusalem, 16th century window. Own photo on Wikimedia Commons, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Pulpit. Own photo on Wikimedia Commons, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Statue of Saint Fiacre. Own photo on Wikimedia Commons, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

A sculpture of Saint Genevieve, and a statue of Saint Joseph (only guessing it’s him because he holds lilies). Own photo, licence: CC by-SA/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

References

Basilique Notre Dame de la Couture (French)

Bernay in der Base Mérimée des Ministère de la Culture (French)

Bernay in der Base Palissy des Ministère de la Culture (French)

Creative Commons License
The basilica Notre-Dame de la Couture in Bernay by stanzebla is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

4 thoughts on “The basilica Notre-Dame de la Couture in Bernay

  1. Fabulous! We just don’t have anything to compare to this in the USA. Thank you🙂

    • Thank you🙂 You got some very nice 18th century houses though and you got a lot of Native American archaeological sites.

      • Very true. The 18th century is just about as far as we go back with Western architecture. Here and there a few Swedish cabins remain from the 17th century, especially in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. However, the Native American sites are fascinating and more and more is revealed as they are continuously studied. I do like a good cathedral though!!!🙂

  2. […] (like in dishes) of the French Revolution. I saw an exposition of said plates in the library of Bernay and found it kind of funny, that the history is so well documented on common items. The plates were […]

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