A great Parish Enclosure – the Church of St Germain of Auxerre in Pleyben

The Church of St Germain of Auxerre in Pleyben has all the elements of a parish enclosure – a Church surrounded by walls, a Triumphal Arch, monumental Calvary, South Porch, Ossuary, and Sacristy – and it dominates the centre of the town.

The Church of St Germain en Auxerre, Pleyben

The Church of St Germain en Auxerre, Pleyben

The Triumphal Arch (1725) is the gateway used for the dead, and marriages. On one occasion when I visited a funeral was in progress, and coffin entered and exited through this gateway. The nearby Ossuary was built in the 15C and was then restored in the 18C as a Chapel, dedicated to St Simon and St Jude. This is the oldest free-standing ossuary in Brittany.

The Triumphal Arch at Pleyben

The Triumphal Arch at Pleyben

The Ossuary at Pleyben

The Ossuary at Pleyben, with the Triumphal Arch behind

The Sacristy was added in the 17C and looks quite different from the main body of the church, or even the Ossuary.

The Church of St Germain, with the round-domed Sacristy on the right

The Church of St Germain, with the round-domed Sacristy on the right

The Calvary was created between 1550 and 1650 and is an extraordinarily dramatic monument, mainly made in the workshop of Henry and Bastien Prigent. It was originally closer to the Church and then moved to its current position in 1738.

The top part of the Calvary at Pleyben

The top part of the Calvary at Pleyben

The Calvary at Pleyben, looking towards the town's main square

The Calvary at Pleyben, looking towards the town’s main square

The Calvary at Pleyben

The Calvary at Pleyben

The Calvary at Pleyben The Calvary at Pleyben

The South Porch is elegant and two of the statues are attributed to Roland Doré – John the Evangelist and James the Greater.

Walk round for different views: carvings on the outside of the building, and the twin towers in contrasting styles – the taller Renaissance-style tower, and the smaller tower in Gothic style. And between the towers is an elaborate stair turret.

Lion carving on the exterior of the Church, Pleyben

The two towers of the Church at Pleyben, with the elaborate Stair Turret between the towers

The two towers of the Church at Pleyben, with the elaborate Stair Turret between the towers

The towers from behind the church

This is a stunning enclosure, set apart, and elegant. Do not miss this sight if you are in Brittany!

Further information
A detailed description of the Calvary
A brief history of the Church at Pleyben