In the heart of Picardy, in the heart of Europe,
an Art Deco church built in 1932
Péronne, SOMME picardy 80200 FR

Location

Ideally situated at the confluence of important thoroughfares, this former church is in the very centre of Europe. The travel times by car speak for themselves: 1h40 from Paris, 1h from Lille, 2h from Brussels, 4h from London and 3h40 from Luxembourg. The Haute Picardie TGV train station is nearby. At a regional level, Amiens and Saint-Quentin, the two capitals of Picardy, are equidistant. Péronne is close with a wide range of shops and restaurants.

Description

The church is built along a village street encircled by old trees. The surrounding fields and an early 20th century, wayside cross provide a peaceful rural atmosphere. It has been dedicated to Saint Denis since its founding in the Middle Ages. The original 11th century building, a typical medieval country church, was destroyed by the violent German attacks during the First World War. When peace returned, it was so damaged that the authorities decided to rebuild it from scratch with a clear credo: not to copy the old style. An architect from Amiens was therefore asked to design a church in a resolutely modern style, financed by war reparations. He worked on this project from 1928 to 1932 with a modernist approach, mainly using traditional materials from the region: Saint-Maximin stone and brick. The construction of the church was the symbol of the rebirth of this village in the Somme, so badly damaged during the Great War. Religious celebrations resumed throughout the 1930s. The building survived the Second World War without damage. After the war, worship continued until 1979, the year the priest left. There followed more than 30 years of neglect and oblivion before the church was bought back and given a new, less sacred but equally inspired life.

The church

The art-deco style can be recognised at first glance with a short nave and a square and massive bell tower. The entire building exudes power and solidity, typical of this style. With the facade set back from the street, it is first of all the triangular shape that stands out: a double triangle to be exact, that of the gable and that of the porch. Secondly, and this is true wherever you are, it is the interplay between the dressed stone and the brick that brings a certain fantasy to the building. The architectural elements on this facade, so typical of the art-deco style, are visually very striking: stone foundation and cornices, brick infill, stone cut-outs under the cornices reminiscent of Flemish stepped gables, a double wooden door surmounted by a semi-circular barrel vault, supported by short columns with palm leaf capitals. Apart from these elements, no other ornaments disturb the view. Art-deco is the style of simplicity and purity. The decorative elements are absent and the side facades are punctuated by buttresses and windows. The bell tower is flanked by a corner turret and oculi which discreetly recall medieval architecture. The nave is covered with a gable roof, covered with flat Beauvais tiles. The heart of the church has a lower, apsidal roof to give the altar a more intimate, receptacle-like atmosphere. The bell tower features a stone roof topped with a cross.


Ground floor
The entrance is via a stone staircase that leads to the large door. Once you cross the threshold, the nave, which has no side-aisles, is impressive not because of its size, but because of the light-coloured exposed beams in the shape of a ship's hull. The frame is concrete (an architectural feat for its time), but with its huge pillars, it nevertheless looks like a wooden structure. The vault could even be related to the Renaissance style with its repeated caissons and geometric pattern representing the stars. This is a welcoming and warm place. Is it the divine presence or the choice of materials? Perhaps a little of both. In any case, the decorated and coloured cement tiles, the brickwork, the numerous windows to either side and above all the painted decorations bring a real beauty to the place. The nave is illuminated by frescoes of both naive and Romanesque inspiration, especially in the choir with the four Gospels. These frescoes are unfortunately damaged, but a respectful restoration would allow them to be restored to their former glory. To the left of the entrance, a recess houses the baptistery.
First floor
Access to the bell tower is via a small iron door from the outside. A spiral staircase leads to the bells. There is a small drawing room below, which has been converted by the present owner.
Garden
The church is surrounded by a garden with a lawn and a row of trees. Beyond, it offers a panoramic view of the countryside.

Our opinion

Today, the former church of this Picardy village is waiting for a new life, no longer religious but certainly cultural. Its beauty, its human scale and its location in the heart of Picardy are a guarantee of success for an artistic project. Above all, the region has remained authentic, with beautiful landscapes along the Somme and a friendly population willing to maintain a dynamic local life, even more so since the arrival of the epidemic. The potential uses are manifold: exhibition centre, concert hall, artist's studio, co-working room, meeting place for associations or hikers. In any case, the nave will always be filled with an inspiring and soothing light. Thus, this place will be able to experience a renaissance already initiated by the current owner.

Exclusive sale

390 000 € Negotiation fees included
360 000 € Fees excluded
Forfait de 30 000 € TTC à la charge de l’acquéreur


See the fee rates

Reference 734478

Land registry surface area 2500 m2
Main building surface area 178 m2

Consultant


Jérôme Ferchaud +33 1 42 84 80 85

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NB: The above information is not only the result of our visit to the property; it is also based on information provided by the current owner. It is by no means comprehensive or strictly accurate especially where surface areas and construction dates are concerned. We cannot, therefore, be held liable for any misrepresentation.

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