The church in Pont-de-l’Arche had been dedicated to St. Vigor, the bishop of Bayeux, since at least of the 11th century. The present church maintained his memory. Built in the 16th century, overlooking the walls of the city, the church dominates the rivers Eure and Seine. The church was restored from 1865 to 1895 by MMrs Simon, an architect in Rouen, and Lefort, an architect from the Historic monuments in Seine-Maritime. The gothic building may have inspired Eustache-Hyacinthe Langlois, a native of Pont-de-l’Arche, who started speaking of flamboyant Gothic style, referring the boldly-shaped sculptures at the windows which suggest flames. The buttresses between the windows are in fat the piers of the flying buttresses.
The building consists of only one nave with six bays bordered by two aisles. The uncompleted apse accounts for the small size of the choir. The elevation inside the church is built on two floors. Two rows of windows bring in plenty of light, which reveals quite plain stonework.
The stained-glass window is the most reputed in the church. It was made in 1605 by a glassworker from Rouen. The humblest people in the city put up money for it and it shows how important the towing of boats on the Seine was, (people had to tow them under an arch of the bridge). Thus, in the foreground, the window shows the “fort de Limaie”, which stood on the right bank of the Seine (where Igoville is now). In the middleground, there is the bridge which gave the city its name, and in the background, the first walls which were built around Pont-de-l’Arche.
The church shelters an organ built in 1608 by Jean Oury in Crépin Carlier’s workshop (he being an organ-builder in Rouen). The retables come from Notre-Dame de Bonport. The sculptures represent lions which probably refer to Richard the Lionheart, who founded the abbey in 1190.References:
The first historical record of Lednice locality dates from 1222. At that time there stood a Gothic fort with courtyard, which was lent by Czech King Václav I to Austrian nobleman Sigfried Sirotek in 1249.
At the end of the 13th century the Liechtensteins, originally from Styria, became holders of all of Lednice and of nearby Mikulov. They gradually acquired land on both sides of the Moravian-Austrian border. Members of the family most often found fame in military service, during the Renaissance they expanded their estates through economic activity. From the middle of the 15th century members of the family occupied the highest offices in the land. However, the family’s position in Moravia really changed under the brothers Karel, Maximilian, and Gundakar of Liechtenstein. Through marriage Karel and Maximilian acquired the great wealth of the old Moravian dynasty of the Černohorskýs of Boskovice. At that time the brothers, like their father and grandfather, were Lutheran, but they soon converted to Catholicism, thus preparing the ground for their rise in politics. Particularly Karel, who served at the court of Emperor Rudolf II, became hetman of Moravia in 1608, and was later raised to princely status by King Matyas II and awarded the Duchy of Opava.
During the revolt of the Czech nobility he stood on the side of the Habsburgs, and took part in the Battle of White Mountain. After the uprising was defeated in 1620 he systematically acquired property confiscated from some of the rebels, and the Liechtensteins became the wealthiest family in Moravia, rising in status above the Žerotíns. Their enormous land holdings brought them great profits, and eventually allowed them to carry out their grandious building projects here in Lednice.
In the 16th century it was probably Hartmann II of Liechtenstein who had the old medieval water castle torn down and replaced with a Renaissance chateau. At the end of the 17th century the chateau was torn down and a Baroque palace was built, with an extensive formal garden, and a massive riding hall designed by Johann Bernard Fischer von Erlach that still stands in almost unaltered form.
In the mid-18th century the chateau was again renovated, and in 1815 its front tracts that had been part of the Baroque chateau were removed.
The chateau as it looks today dates from 1846-1858, when Prince Alois II decided that Vienna was not suitable for entertaining in the summer, and had Lednice rebuilt into a summer palace in the spirit of English Gothic. The hall on the ground floor would serve to entertain the European aristocracy at sumptuous banquets, and was furnished with carved wood ceilings, wooden panelling, and select furniture, surpassing anything of its kind in Europe.