A Listing Application for Saint Gemmes d’Andigné

Alfred Tessier
Saint-Gemmes-d’Andigné Church, 1865
A Listing Application
Photo : D. R.

10/6/13 - Heritage - Saint Gemmes d’Andigné, church - We are often critical of the French Ministry of Culture when we find there is reason to do so but we also wish to commend its initiatives when warranted. Hence, we have just learned that a listing application was pronounced last 1st March for the church of Saint Gemmes d’Andigné, one of these churches in the Maine-et-Loire region which mayors there are trying to destroy. We spoke of the building (which we have only seen in photographs) in this article. The church is by the same architect as the one in Gesté, Alfred Tissier.

Quite clearly, the mayor of this town, Jean-Claude Taulnay is a bit touchy on the question. We were able to speak with him for a few minutes and he was very unpleasant before concluding that "he had nothing to say [to us]". We can understand his irritation : the tide is beginning to turn against him. Not only does the church deserve to be protected as a historical monument, but his argument claiming it is impossible to restore it is totally eradicated by the report of the inspector for historical monuments, Marc Bottlan, written in April 2012. It states with no ambiguity : "The general state of the interior ranges from good to very good, the building is vast, very luminous and sound, it is open for visitors and for worship. [This] is a true architectural work of great quality, absolutely complete, perfectly unified and, furthermore, perfectly representative and well documented. There is not the slightest doubt concerning the artistic and historical interest of this building, it indeed deserves with no hesitation, to be protected, as such, under the title of MH [Monument Historique]." The church is therefore protected until at least 1st March 2014, that is until the next municipal elections. The example of Arc-sur-Tille might perhaps be followed and the residents of the city decide to choose a mayor who is more respectful of its heritage.

The recent good news (including this listing application and the restoration of the church of Arc-sur-Tille) should not lull us into forgetting the destructions which have recently taken place [1]. We refer here of course to Saint Jacques in Abbeville but also the church of Saint Aubin de Pavoil, in Segré, likewise in Maine-et-Loire which was destroyed at the beginning of the year amid practically general indifference.
This listing application must now meet with final approval in order to permanently protect and safeguard Saint Gemmes d’Andigné. The church in Gesté must also be protected from its mayor who wants to destroy it. Again, we wish to congratulate the French Ministry of Culture for this act but also remind it that there’s still much to do...

Version française

Didier Rykner, mardi 11 juin 2013


[1] We should point out that the organ in the church of Saint Jacques in Abbeville has finally been saved, a slight consolation given the scandalous demolition of the building.

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