At Saint Gilles Croix de Vie
EGLISE SAINTE CROIX
The previous church, built in 1610, had become too small for the enthusiastically pious parishioners, and at their request, on March 10, 1895, the Bishop of Luçon agreed to build them a new church.
Work began around 1895. The nave was built first, and the tower added in late 1897 at a cost of 10,000 francs.
The "Roman-Byzantine" style was built according to the plans of Jules Menard, an architect from Nantes. The monumental pulpit attracts the attention of visitors. A cherub located above the staircase is dated 1896. Its was carved by a stonemason from the country, Antoine Léon des Ormeaux. His portrait and coat of arms are in the staircase, above an painting of the port of Croix de Vie, with the towers of St-Gilles and St. Croix in the background. The choir is painted and sculpted with a multitude of characters and symbolic figures.
EGLISE SAINT GILLES
The first church was built in the ninth century, probably by monks from St-Michel-en-l'Herm. In 1120, Pope Callistus II mentioned Saint Gilles on the list of the abbeys and priories dependent on St-Gilles-du-Gard. So who was Saint Gilles? It seems he was an Athenian nobleman who after distributing his goods to the poor came to Gaul. Of the first church, there remains only the first layers of the great pillar supporting the North tower. It was destroyed by the British in the early fourteenth century and probably rebuilt by them later, which is why it is also known as the "English Church." Then came the wars of religion. The protestants made many attacks on the church, and only the aisle and the bell tower survived. In 1613, the Catholics of Saint Gilles rebuilt their church and it was reconsecrated after the revolution. It was entirely restored by 1871.
At Saint Hilaire de Riez
EGLISE SAINT HILAIRE
Dedicated to Saint Hilaire, the Bishop of Poitiers who evangelised the region in the fourth century, the original church was built in 1025. Badly damaged during the wars of religion, it was decided in 1609 to build a tower, which still visible today. A few years later a full restoration was undertaken.
Between 1650 and 1676, three Baroque altarpieces were placed in the choir and transept. In the nineteenth century, a second restoration campaign repaired the bell tower and earlier altarpieces. The church of St Hilaire is a fine example of the neo-Gothic style with its pointed arches, vaults with intersecting ribs, showing symmetry and regularity. In the 1980s, six biblical paintings by a painter from the town, Henry Simon, were bequeathed to the church.
THE CHAPELLE DE SION
Around 1900, Henry Renaud of Faverie built this chapel, open to all parishioners to worship ... After World War II, the chapel was closed and rededicated by the family, becoming the "Villa Myriam." The old chapel was acquired by the city in 1980 and the Tourist Office is now housed here! A new chapel of Holy Mary of the Ocean was built in rue Yser in 1929.
La Chaize Giraud
A classified historical monument, this twelfth-century church was almost entirely rebuilt according to the original plan in the late nineteenth century. Only the western façade then remained, with a Romanesque portal which is among the finest in the Poitou region. On each side of the gate, two reliefs represent the Annunciation of the Virgin and the Adoration of the Magi. The courtyard overlooks the Jaunay Valley, with a vast panorama of the wetlands and the Atlantic Ocean.