OTHER CHURCHES, Rouen
one of the icon churches of Rouen. another must see while in town. Open from April 1 to October 31 Saturdays and Sundays from 10h- 12h and 14h-18h. From November 1 to March 31 open Saturdays and Sundays from 10h-12h and 14h-17h30. It is closed from mondays to fridays and Dec 25 and Jan 1.
A bit of history
Saint-Maclou Church is dedicated to a saint breton also called Malo. The construction of this church, regarded by art historians as a jewel of flamboyant Gothic art began in 1437.It has a famous Portal of 5 ornate beautiful wooden doors carved Renaissance porch.
The Church has an interesting furniture: a flamboyant Gothic staircase, a very nice buffet of organ revival and an arc of glory and the Baroque confessionals of the 18th century.
After more than 60 years of darkness and silence, the restoration of the arrow and the Lantern Tower of the Saint-Maclou Church is completed. Severely damaged during the war, in April 1944, only temporary repairs had been made on the Church. In addition to the times of stone, altered or missing, work of the Lantern Tower allowed the resumption of the provisional confortatif device: a delicate operation consisting of invisible prostheses placement to the rim of the tower into several levels. They have also allowed the reopening of the 8-Bay Tower until there blocked by wood and brick.
Many times of stone but also a cleaning of the facings and a rejointement were made. In addition, the belfry and the House of the bells have benefited from consolidation work that helps Marie, Adrienne, Adèle, Josephine and Léontine, the five bells of the church be now housed securely in a resurrected Lantern Tower.
behind it, you find the aitre St Maclou, aitre comes from old French meaning cementary arising from the Latin atrium, that designed the interior court of the entrance to the roman city or the extention of the cementary that was before the Church and parish of Saint-Maclou, church of above description.
The cementary Saint-Maclou goes back to the period of the black death of 1348AD. Following a new epidemy of the peste in the 16C, it becomes necessary to increase the capacity of the cementary. The parish decides to increase the galleries on top of the attic design to hold the bones. The building of the ossary starts in 1526 by the western gallery.
According to wikipedia, the Church of St Maclou in Rouen is considered to be one of the best examples of the flamboyant style of Gothic architecture in France. Unfortunately it was somewhat difficult to see much of the exterior glory of the church during my visit in May 2013 as the church was encased in plastic and timber whilst extensive restoration work took place. However, the good news is that it is still open to the public to visit the inside of the church (although very quiet, presumably as it looks like a building site from outside!).
Once you are inside the church is tranquil and serene. It isn't as grand as St Ouen or the Notre Dame Cathedral but it is more intimate and more peaceful. Like so many of Rouen's churches, the stained glass is amazing.
Entry is free but the church is only open on Saturdays and Sundays. On both days the hours are 10am to 12 noon and 2pm to 5.30pm.
This late 15C church has three naves and a wooden roof reminding us of many of the rural churches we have seen, Our attempts to take pictures of its beautiful stained glass were a failure but it is worth a few minutes
The interior of St.-Maclou is variously on exhibit since it was also greatly damaged. It is a three leveled tall structure. Most prominent is a curved rood beam with a Christ and Angels situated in the altar area. Another scupltural work involves the organ loft and a set of stairs climbing to it in the west end. These works are attributed to Jean Goujon (16C) and may in part have started as a rood screen, but their placement is to be admired. The inner sides of the wooden doors are of course also worked but not as fine as the outer ones. Other stone work on the interior is also fine.
There are 4 carved doors on St.-Maclou. The double central west door is most elaborate. To its north the single door is second in importance (Portal des Fonts), while around on the North side is yet another (also one on the south side which we could not visit). The upper panels have carved medallions illustrating stories surrounded by figures that symbolically relate to the theme. It is advisable to come with an explanation in hand if you can find one(we did not) to appreciate the works fully. (There are better pictures and some explanatory details in VT entries by JLBG under General Tips). The common general guidebooks are of no help. Even the lower door panels are worked and the supportive central frames are covered by bronze-work with fantastic figures and animals. This is high Renaissance pointing towards the Baroque. Be sure to admire the surrounding stonework as well as the tympani on the west front (the right door of this side has lost its features).
St.-Maclou (or St.-Malo) is the third of the great Rouen churches surviving and is within 4 streets of the other two. It was built contemporarily with them (1437-1517). Its shorter building time spans the Flamboyant Gothic period which it exhibits. It was much damaged during WWII and its repair has been slow. (There were obvious evidences of this and of gross neglect as well when we first visited in 1982 and others have noted such as late as 2006). The West facade has a curved face presented as a 5-arched gabled porch which hides the three portals, two of which have fine tympani and elaborately carved oak doors that are the major showpiece (See a separate Tip!). There are also fine carved doors on the North and South sides (the latter was covered by reconstruction). The stonework is also to be noted. The great 16C French sculptor Jean Goujon is supposed to have been the initial creator of the doors and other finery inside of the church.
At the time I visited, this late Gothic-style church was going through a facelift, so parts of the interior were blocked off or covered up or in some state of disarray. But I could still see the stained glass windows, which are always beautiful, and the old architecture can still be seen, despite the church suffereing a lot of damage in WWII. There is also, of course, the over-the-top outer facade that is highly detailed. It's a somber church - but to me, many Gothic-style churches ARE somber, but in a beautiful way. Check it out. As you see old worn carvings on the walls that are hardly readable anymore, try to imagine what they once said, and think of all the footsteps that have also traced the path you are walking now. I like to try and imagine the past when I go into old places like this, and try to feel the spirits of people who visited the same place hundreds of years ago. This is an excellent place to do so!
The Eglise Jeanne d'Arc was built by the architect Louis Arretche in 1979. Its architecture remembers an upside-down ship. Originally there was the Eglise Saint Vincent in this place, but it was destroyed by the bombs during the 2WW. By the way you can admire the wonderful stained glasses of that church inside the Eglise Jeanne d'Arc.
The windows were removed in 1939 and this allow to preserve them from the destruction.
This church was built between 1437 and 1517 in a Gothic Flambuyant style. In the middle of of the nave there is a very high arrow built in the 19th century. This church has got a wonderful facade with 5 arches and three gateway.
The Church of St. Eloi stands forlornly across Southwest of the Place Pucelle d'Orleans. It is listed as a Protestant church but it does not appear to be in use.
Art historians consider this church to be a jewel of the Flamboyant Gothic period. Its famed five panelled porch boast magnificent carved doors from the Renaissance.
The church of Saint Eloi is closed to the Place du Vieux Marchè. It is small but quite pretty! The architecture remembers the Church of Notre Dame in Paris.
The north portal of the eglise St.Maclou is very nice. There you can see the arch of the Alliance and probably the nativity.