St-André-le-Bas Church

Vienne, France

The abbey of Saint-Andre-le-Bas was founded in the 8th century by Duke Ansemund. The church was originally a chapel of the palace of kings of Burgundy built in the end of the 9th century. The abbey flourished in the High Middle Ages. 

The troubles of the Hundred Years' War and the competition of the new religious orders reduced the power of the convent and it was unable to recover from the Wars of religion. The monastery was dissolved in the late 18th century. The abbey church, built in the 11th century, became a parish church and the convent buildings were sold and partly dismembered. The church, the bell tower and the cloister are still remarkable for their harmonious Romanesque sculpted ornementation.

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Details

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

More Information

www.vienne-tourisme.com

Rating

4.2/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

nath malin (9 days ago)
Musée intéressant pour la découverte de la ville !!
Loud 06 (10 days ago)
Petit musée, petit prix, petit Cloître...
Jean-Louis Gustin (17 months ago)
We visited the Cloister Saint André le Bas de Vienne which is part of the sites of the group visit of the monuments of the city. It is a very beautiful Roman cloister built in the 12th century, perfectly restored. As the presentation document that will be given to you very well says, the Romanesque architecture and sculpted decoration testify both to the survival of the ancient models for the Corinthian capitals of the gallery, and to the medieval imagery of the fantastic bestiary for the capitals presented under the gallery on columns placed along the south wall. The cloister garden is now planted with simple and medicinal plants, as it should be. It is absolutely perfect. In the neighboring chapter hall, there is an exhibition on the use of water from the river, which manages it, which joins the Rhône close to the Cloister.
Edouard Capdexai (2 years ago)
Superb small, but original, exhibitions with varied themes. Saving means and surprising result. To be continued !
Dylan Rey (2 years ago)
Really nice place to go!
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Abbey of Saint-Étienne

The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.

Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.

The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.

As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).