We are now in the beffroi (belfry) district. At the start of the 13th c., Count Thibaut IV had a new rampart built to protect the corps du bouchon. At that time, the former Gallo-Roman via Agrippa crossed the wall and the ditches via the Sainte-Savine gate, next to the watch tower, called the belfry.
Not far from there, at the far end of the Marché-au-blé (wheat market), present-day place Jean Jaurès, and near the ramparts, there was a 12th c. chapel dedicated to Saint Nicolas, who was bishop of Myre (Turkey) in the 4th c. and very popular in our regions during the Middle Ages.
After the destruction of the neighbourhood in the great fire of 1524, wealthy merchants hired the Troyes architect Jean Faulchot to build a new Saint-Nicolas church on the ruins of the chapel. The work soon began simultaneously at both ends, i.e. the choir and the façade. The latter adjoined the rampart and people entered the church by a side door.
The two worksites did not join until 1590, but the ensemble is nevertheless homogeneous.
The lower part of the church is Gothic and may date from the time of the old chapel. The upper section is in the Renaissance style. The southern portal has a superb Christ on the cross surrounded by statues of David and Isaiah. The present-day entrance was added to the façade in 1840, after the demolition of the ramparts and the construction of the boulevard Victor Hugo. Its style is neo-Renaissance and sustains the Calvary chapel. In the past, the entrance was via the current gallery and the monumental stairway of the nave.
The interior decoration of the church is admirable, in particular the stained glass windows and the statuary. In the gallery, the Christ suffering under the weight of the cross, by an anonymous 16th century Troyes painter, is a genuine masterpiece. In the first bay on the left, the Sépulchre can be seen, a reproduction of Christ’s tomb brought back from Jerusalem by a Crusader.
Only open from Tuesday to Saturday between 4pm and 6 pm.
- In the town centre
- © D Le Névé
Pardon the review in English. In preparation for my return visit to Troyes in 2018, I am working on improving my French. I spent the Summer in Troyes a few years ago. This is my favorite church. I made many visits here. The sculptures are wonderful. The chapels, representing events of the Passion of Christ, create a sense of pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
Dommage qu'elle soit si souvent fermée !