Sunday, 18 August 2013

Church on Sunday...Candes-Saint-Martin

When you first approach the 12th century collegiate church of Saint Martin from the narrow main street of the town dedicated to his memory, you could be forgiven for thinking what you see is a rather ornate castle rather than a church.

This is the result of the addition (15th century) of fortifications during the Hundred Years War as a means of protecting the original building.

Although, this did not stop damage being inflicted during the wars of religion,which can be witnessed after walking up the steps under the impressively ornate porch ...

...with many of the carvings missing heads.

Here you can also see renovation work that has been carried out on the ornate carvings.  

Through this entrance you enter the impressive nave of the church 'side-on'. The nave's vaulted ceiling is set high above you and is more reminiscent of a cathedral than a church.

There is an impressive arch leading into the choir of the church that contains the main altar and side altars.

The tall fluted pillars are adorned with interesting carvings at varying heights. 

The north transept chapel is dedicated to St Martin and there is a large painting of him as a Roman soldier above the arch. A marble slab on the floor records St Martin died here 8 November 397.

There is a stained glass window above depicting St Martin's body being taken from the church to a boat to be transported upriver to Tours.

Where's Joan ?...she's portrayed in fine style here... 

The west portal which externally looks like the main entrance is reached up a narrow street by the side of the church.

Look out for the heads of Robespierre, Danton and Marat that a worker has made to replace the plumes on one of the capitals of the porch. This was apparently done ​​during the renovation of the church in the middle of the nineteenth century.

If you walk around the church you will see the different styles of architecture dating from different build periods.

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