They tell a story
ELENA GUIDES US AROUND THE BASILICA
Elena's job makes many dreams come true: As a cultural mediator, she is in charge of showcasing the heritage of the town of Evron, and in particular the Notre-Dame-de-l'Epine Basilica.
She enthusiastically agreed to give us a guided tour of this place with its unique atmosphere. Immersion a few centuries earlier!
BETWEEN ROMANESQUE NAVE AND GOTHIC NAVE
After being greeted, we enter the basilica. As soon as we arrive, Elena asked us to stop and observe the 2 vaults which coexist one after the other and constitute the impressive main body of the religious building.
The first, a small barrel vault located in the south Romanesque side, representative of Romanesque architecture, dates from the eleventh century. The second, of Gothic style, much higher, dates from the 13th century. It is made of stone and its configuration allows you to enjoy larger spaces that are bathed in light.
"This exceptional configuration is perfect to explain to both young and old the two great architecture styles present here in the Middle Ages," she explains.
THE LONG FORGOTTEN CRYPT
"Follow me!" she tells us as if she were about to reveal a big secret.
We take a staircase opening out under the altar to a crypt from the eleventh century, filled in by monks in the thirteenth century and of which we see nothing at first sight. We have to give our eyes time to get used to it.
She then announces: "Here you are in a crypt that we discovered very recently, following the collapse of the vault, in 1974!" There is total surprise, the effect was successful!
"You can still see the spans that marked out the old plan of the building, present before the Romanesque church of the eleventh century". We are quite literally going back in time!
THE SAINT-CRESPIN CHAPEL
We climb back out of the crypt with Elena, who tells us that we are going to see "the basilica's last surprise".
We take the ambulatory to arrive on the north side, where our guide pushes open a heavy door.
We then access the Saint-Crespin chapel . "This chapel dates back to the 12th century and assumes an Arab-Byzantine style as can be found in some Spanish churches of the same period. This is a very surprising testimony!" she tells us.
The colours of the period create a truly zen atmosphere, enough to compete with some of the lush green areas just a few kilometres from here.
WHAT ACTIVITIES TAKE PLACE IN THE BASILICA?
Faced with these discoveries, we naturally ask Elena if visits or events are organised to showcase this heritage.
"Of course," she answers. "We offer guided tours to all interested groups. Just contact the heritage department of the Community of communes of Coëvrons. You can also go to the tourist office, on the other side of the square, which rents out audio guides!".
She continues: "And then, several times a year, the place fills up with people for events that recall its important past: in early July for 15 years now the Festival of Sacred Arts takes place, and its attendance increases every single year! Not to mention the Heritage Days that put a spotlight on the heritage of Evron! And then throughout the year concerts are organised inside the monument!"
It is on this enthusiastic note that we thank Elena for her hospitality and for having unveiled some of this surprising heritage.