Notre-Dame of Royan

The Notre-Dame church, classified as a historical monument since 1988, was built between 1955 and 1958 by the architect Guillaume Gillet, Grand Prix of Rome. Made of crude reinforced concrete, it is part of the renewal movement of the sacred art of the post-war years.

The architect Guillaume Gillet recalls the Gothic tradition of the spiritual quest for light, subject to the reduction of the volume of the bearing structure. Indeed, Gillet, associated with the engineer Bernard Laffaille imagined a framework of posts in reinforced concrete, V-shaped, releasing a vast interior space. The roof, a thin veil (8-10 cm) in the form of horse saddle comes to style the whole.

In the thirties, Bernard Laffaille developed this system of V-shaped sails - the V Laffaille which bear his name - which, after the war, were used to build numerous industrial buildings, notably the rotundes of SNCF locomotives. It is for the church of Royan that V Laffaille is used for the first time in sacred architecture.

The interior is home to sumptuous stained glass windows, designed essentially by the architect Guillaume Gillet, and made by master glassmaker Henri Martin Granel and his son Jean-Baptiste. The stained glass window of the Virgin, behind the high altar, is due to the master glassmaker Claude Idoux.

The great organs, remarkable, are among the finest instruments of this type (sixteen feet). They are the work of the organ builder Robert Boisseau. The instrument has 47 sets, 3 keyboards and over 3,600 pipes. It was classified as a historic monument in 2004.

The church of Notre-Dame is also home to a quality statuary, which reflects the renewal of sacred art during the Trente Glorieuses. These include the Black Madonna by Gaston Watkin, the Grand Prix of Rome, Sainte-Thérése by Nadu Marsaudon, and many works by Jacques-Yves Perret.

The Association for the Defense of the Church of Royan - ader participates in safeguarding this heritage of international dimension.

To discover and visit Royan, consult the Tourist Office program for guided tours.


Notre-Dame de Royan church during the festival of lights

Gérard and Juliette discover the Notre-Dame de Royan church during the festival of lights.

We discovered the church of Notre-Dame for the first time last night, during the festival of light. We arrived in Royan Friday afternoon to spend a few days here.

You can't miss the church. It's one of the first public buildings we noticed when we arrived. Its strong vertical lines contrast sharply with the horizontal buildings curving along the seafront to echo the beach.

It stands out by its architecture which is so different from other religious monuments. Reinforced concrete throughout, it dominates the town with its tower culminating at 56 metres. It is said that it represents the arrow-shaped landmark on the maps used by navigators in times gone by.

Guillaume Gillet, its architect, has left us a truly modern work of architecture that rises majestically to the sky, leaving us speechless!

Getting back to our evening here, we had a very enjoyable time. The entertainment started at 18.30. We all gathered in the town centre opposite the Post Office. A burlesque theatre group full of fantasy wended its way through the streets to the church.

Where a fabulous sight awaited us! Illuminated and surrounded by fireworks, Notre Dame outshone the stars!

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