Saint-Acheul Abbey Church

Amiens, France

The Abbey of Saint-Acheul was a monastery of Canons Regular in Amiens. It was founded in the 11th century on the site of an ancient church, and was suppressed in 1790 during the French Revolution. The buildings, which date to the 18th century, were taken over by a college that was entrusted to the Jesuits in 1814. They are now occupied by the private Lycée Saint-Riquier. The abbey church is used as a parish church.

An ancient church named Notre Dame des Martyrs, known as the first cathedral of Amiens, was founded in memory of Saint Firmin the Martyr. Later it became part of the Abbey of Notre Dame de Saint-Acheul. Modern historians have debated when and by whom the church was founded, but Bishop Rorico of Amiens (c. 1081–85) was confident that it was the oldest Christian building in Amiens.

The crypt under the church contains ancient tombs and bas-reliefs. It was discovered on 10 January 1697 during construction of a foundation for the main altar in the church. The monks claimed they had found the body of Saint Firmin, and said the relics in the Amiens Cathedral were not authentic. After lengthy controversy the relics in the cathedral were opened on 10 January 1715 and the 13th century inscriptions were taken to prove their authenticity. The vault of the 11th century church collapsed in 1751 and all the buildings were completely rebuilt in 1760. During the revolution the church became the parish church for the districts of La Neuville and Boutillerie. Under the Terror it was changed into stables. It was again made a parish church in 1844.

The church has a classical sober stone architecture. The interior has a 'Jesuit' style. The facade has a large door surrounded by pilasters with Tuscan-style capitals. Higher up a bay and niches are arranged between pilasters with Doric capitals that support the triglyphic entablature, on which there is a triangular pediment. Under the choir there is a vault in the place where the body of Saint Firmin was miraculously discovered. The church holds several sarcophagi and 15th century bas-reliefs relating to the history of Saint Firmin.



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Founded: 11th century
Category: Religious sites in France
Historical period: Birth of Capetian dynasty (France)

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Pascale Grelpois (14 months ago)
Churches for mourning are never terrible ? even more priest!! anyway...
Nathalie GASTON TEIXEIRA (15 months ago)
beautiful building, well maintained, however few places for many communions at the same time.
Pascal Niquet (20 months ago)
Pretty little church The 2 sisters are competent thank you for their services.
Pascal M (20 months ago)
Very beautiful church, very well animated mass, exceptional place of meditation
Karine T (2 years ago)
Magnificent church maintained and preserved.
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