Châlons-en-Champagne, Église Notre-Dame-en-Vaux


    Begun ca. 1157


    A basilica intersected by a deep transept terminated by a chevet with radiating chapels with two slender columns in the mouth of each chapel. Twin towers nestle in the eastern end. The building has a superficial unity with arcade and spacious gallery and triforium. However, closer inspection reveals that the older gallery elevation, it was most certainly a wooden roofed galleried structure with groin vaults. The nave is remolded in tandem with the reconstruction of the chevet. Several features link this building with Saint-Remi at Reims including the linked triforium and clerestory including the two slender columns in the mouths of the radiating chapel.


    The nave was retro-fitted around 1100's. Later modification of the nave took place in mid-12th-century and also in the chevet during the 1180's and afterwards. In the transept arm one can see what the original elevation looked like (photo). Ultimately it is the tectonic expression can be found in Normandy, such as the nave of Mont-Saint-Michel (photo comparison).


    Notre-Dame-en-Vaux is located in a town that is flourishing with agriculture of Champagne. The church had the relic of Saint-Nombril, the umbilical cord of Christ, which served to place the church as a stop on the pilgrimage route. The rebuilding reflects the experience of the rebuilding of Saint-Remi of Reims which was conducted under Bishop Pierre de Celles.

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