Saint-Pierre-la-Cour Collegiate Church

Le Mans, France

The Collegiate Church of Saint-Pierre-la-Cour is an ancient collegiate church located in the city of Le Mans. Situated in the southwest of the old town, the collegiate church is now used for various cultural events.

The first church was initially built to prevent the Norman invasions, which began as early as 865, from endangering the relics of Saint Scholastica. This is why the Saint-Pierre chapel, located outside the fortifications, was not sufficient to protect the relics. A new Saint-Pierre church was therefore created in the 10th century by Count Hugh. It was situated between the Saint-Martin gate and the comital palace. When the city fell into the hands of William the Conqueror, he decided to modify access to the gate, primarily for security purposes. Users had to go around along the wall while their passages were controlled. A tower was also reportedly erected to provide additional protection to this part of the old town. The nave of the building was supposed to be parallel to that of the cathedral, i.e., on a southeast axis.

The church was modified in 1093 by Hélie de la Flèche, who raised it and positioned its walls on the very fortifications. At that time, the church consisted of a flat chevet and four side windows. However, in 1134, a massive fire destroyed the construction. It was rebuilt in 1175 by Henry II Plantagenet, who added a bay and a tower to the northwest. The choir was elongated, with a large arch spanning the Saint-Martin gate. Nevertheless, the church remained quite modest compared to the cathedral. The canons then proposed extending and raising the choir beyond the city wall. This project was realized with the support of Charles III of Anjou. The foundation stone was laid in 1267. The choir rests upon a lower church that provides a passage to the Saint-Martin gate. However, the construction took longer than anticipated, and additional donations were requested in 1329. The choir was finally consecrated in 1378. During the Hundred Years' War, the building was fortified on three levels.

In 1485, the Romanesque nave was connected underground to Notre-Dame by a straight staircase. Five chapels were built in arches around the choir. It was in the 16th century that a high pavilion roof crowned the tower. In the 17th century, numerous cracks threatened the chevet of the collegiate church. The openings were modified during its restoration in 1682. The appearance remained unchanged until 1834. Engineer Pierre-Félix Delarue was then tasked with transforming the building into a school. He raised the nave and lowered the choir. The entire structure was divided into three levels again, but the chapels and arcades were destroyed. Many windows were pierced in the walls.



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Founded: 865 AD
Category: Religious sites in France
Historical period: Frankish kingdoms (France)


4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Mylène Maurice-Bernier (5 months ago)
Roman Catholic Collegiate Church in the Gothic Style, former church, dedicated to the counts of Maine whose palace was adjacent. Located to the south-west of the old town, the collegiate church is now used for various cultural events. For us it was Expo. "Humanity" by the artist Dady Nkanga (14/04-09/2023). Free entry ???. It is considered one of the five municipal museums, listed in 1889.
david zhou (8 months ago)
The exhibition held by such a small church is super beautiful
Анатолій Вербицький (11 months ago)
I adore this country, their culture and beauty
BAS (4 years ago)
Good spot to meet up with friends
Paul Pérucaud (4 years ago)
A pleasant exhibition space with free access It was by chance during a walk that I discovered this place, located near the old entrance to the city. The welcome is warm, the entrance free and I discovered the work of "Sébastien BAYET" through the exhibition "L'ÉLOQUENCE DES LOQUES".
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