07 July 2019

The towers of Saint-Nicolas à Blois

The église Saint-Nicolas de Blois was originally a monastery that had been founded before the year 1000. Construction of the church began in the year 1138 and continued for nearly a century. It replaced an earlier church on the site that had been destroyed by fire.

The church became an important pilgrimage site because it contained the relics of several saints and a fragment of the cross on which Jusus was crucified. At the time of the Hundred Years War the church was fortified to resist attacks by English forces.

Toward the end of the 16th-century French Renaissance, the church was severely damaged during the religious wars that opposed Catholics and Protestants. It was restored over the course of the 17th century.

During the French Revolution at the end of the 18th century, the cloister at Saint-Nicolas served as a hospital. The church has been classified as a Monument National in France since 1840.

Originally, there were three large statues on each side of the main doors of the church. Those disappeared long ago. The neighborhood around Saint-Nicolas de Blois was badly bombed during World War II, but the church itself suffered only minor damage.


  1. The size of Saint-Nicolas being an abbey church makes me think of another abbey church which is almost as big as a cathedral, and that is Saint-Ouen in Rouen. They didn't think small in those days.

    I'm looking forward to see pictures of the interior of this church.

  2. Saint-Nicolas de Blois is a lot older than the cathédrale de Blois, I think. Le site de la ville de Blois dit : L’ancienne église Saint-Solenne, devenue cathédrale Saint-Louis en 1697, est pour l’essentiel une église gothique du XVIIe siècle, construite sur des bases plus anciennes. Elle a reçu en 2000 un ensemble de vitraux contemporains, conçus par Jan Dibbets.

    1. Talking about stained glass windows, I think WW II bombings of bridges over the Loire were fatal to most of them in churches closest to the river, such as the chateau's chapel Saint-Calais. Saint-Nicolas' stained glass windows are probably modern too.

  3. These buildings are so beautiful and so precious, in the sense of age,condition and beauty..I sort of worry about the. Amount of idiots running around loose in the world who like to harm things....

  4. I wonder if the statues on the side of the doors were lost during the French Revolution? It's always interesting to see cathedrals that have been restored in eras after their construction. So glad it escaped the WWII damage.

  5. The churches, often abbeys, along the main paths to Compostelle, are gigantic when you consider the tiny local population at the time.


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