The Abbey of Saint Melaine, Rennes

The Abbey of St Melaine’s tower appeared through the trees of The Thabor Gardens at the end of our walk and proved to be another ‘must-visit’ in this amazing town of Rennes. 

The Tower of the Abbey of St Melaine

The tower of the Abbey of St Melaine, Rennes

The original church dates to the 5C and was built around the tomb of St Melaine, Bishop of Rennes. The church burned down in 7C and again in 10C but was rebuilt on both occasions. Most of today’s Abbey of Saint Melaine seems to date from 14C and 15C, except for the transept which is the remains of the Romanesque Church, and the tower which is 17C. The plan below (in the church) was not dated but shows the extent of the Abbey and its gardens in earlier times, perhaps pre-17C.

16-9-2-abbey-of-st-melaine-rennes-lr-9069

I loved the atmosphere in this building – quiet, calm. It was hot and sticky outside and one might argue that the contrast was a relief, as it was, but there was also a feeling of peace. Others have found it dull, bereft of ornamentation, but I  liked the lack of distraction and the softness of the light.The nave of the Abbey of St Melaine, Rennes A side aisle of the Abbey of St Melaine, Rennes A side aisle of the Abbey of St Melaine, Rennes

A side chapel in the Abbey of St Melaine, Rennes Madonna & child in a side chapel in the Abbey of St Melaine, Rennes

Signs of the age of the building were in traces of wall painting, colours on columns, and a small carved block inset in a wall.

Wall painting and statue of St Francis in Abbey of St Melaine

15C painting in the south transept, Saint Melaine, showing the baptism of Christ
15C painting in the south transept, Saint Melaine, showing the baptism of Christ
The north trancept, Saint Melaine
The north transept, Saint Melaine
The north transept, Saint Melaine, with 20C painting by Andre Meriel-Bussy
The north transept, Saint Melaine, with 20C painting by Andre Meriel-Bussy
Abbey of St Melaine, Rennes
Stairs into the Abbey of St Melaine, Rennes

2 comments

  1. That’s an interesting reaction, and yes, I think you are correct. I am going to post some monotone photographs of the Abbey to suggest the past as well – I’d be pleased to hear what you think

    Like

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