The Notre-Dame-en-Vaux in Châlons-en-Champagne. The cathedral is a major masterpiece in Marne. With its spires, visible from dozens of kilometres away, it is one of the most amazing monuments in Châlons’ rich heritage. The church is registered on the World Heritage List by UNESCO under the title of 'roads to St Jacques de Compostela in France'.
Originally located outside the city walls, Notre-Dame-en-Vaux was built on a swampy area where three rivers converged, of which only the Mau remains. It was not brought inside the city walls until the 13th century. The first chapel was built in the 9th century, the church was subsequently built and occupied by a community of canons in 1114 who lived together “in college”, hence its status as a collegiate church.
Only the lower level of the transept and the towers of the chevet remain from this period. The rest of the building underwent reconstruction until 1217, in a so-called transitional style (leading to the Gothic period). It was at this point that Notre-Dame became an important pilgrimage destination. The chancel and the ambulatory with three stunning chapels, the first level of the transept and the nave with seven bays date from this period. The south porch, in a flamboyant Gothic style, was completed in 1469.
The collegiate church suffered greatly during the French Revolution and in the decades that followed. It was even transformed into a horse arena and then into stables, and was later invaded by the coalition armies. Throughout the 19th century, the celebrated architect, Lassus, and the Champenois abbot sought to restore the medieval architecture of Notre-Dame-en-Vaux. They had a second spire reconstructed on the façade. In addition, they restored an organ and some stained-glass windows in a Gothic style. They also repaved the ground with ancient tombstones and commissioned the Châlons artist Gustave Moriamé to design the neo-Gothic high altar.References:
The Church of St Eustace was built between 1532-1632. St Eustace"s is considered a masterpiece of late Gothic architecture. The church’s reputation was strong enough of the time for it to be chosen as the location for a young Louis XIV to receive communion. Mozart also chose the sanctuary as the location for his mother’s funeral. Among those baptised here as children were Richelieu, Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, future Madame de Pompadour and Molière, who was also married here in the 17th century. The last rites for Anne of Austria, Turenne and Mirabeau were pronounced within its walls. Marie de Gournay is buried there.
The origins of Saint Eustache date back to 13th century. The church became a parish church in 1223, thanks to a man named Jean Alais who achieved this by taxing the baskets of fish sold nearby, as granted by King Philip Augustus. To thank such divine generosity, Alais constructed a chapel dedicated to Sainte-Agnès, a Roman martyr.