Legal Informations & CGU
Granville, in the far south of the natural region of Cotentin, between Mont-Saint-Michel Bay and the Channel Islands, is not only a large tourist resort but also one of the major economic centres in the French department of Manche. Its fame originated in the late 19th century when it became fashionable to bathe in the sea. Its architecture is still marked by the Belle-Époque and greatly adds to its reputation. It is also a small dynamic town that dares to count on culture to reinforce its appeal. Its museums, art galleries, theatre and festivals attract numerous visitors all year round.
The train line provides 3¼-hour links between the town and Paris-Montparnasse. Caen, Rennes and Saint-Malo are 1⅓ hours away by car. An aerodrome, 12 km from the town centre, is open to private aircraft.
Its construction dates back to the beginning of the Belle-Époque when Empress Eugénie supported the creation of a new parish by French Order. The project was initially entrusted to Paul-Abadie, designer of Paris’ Sacré-Cœur basilica. Finally, that of Paul-Héneux, a local architect, was preferred. The construction was agreed by the mayor, Lucien-Dior, in 1889 and works began in 1891. For its inauguration in 1898, it was missing its cupola and its choir. As a result of the town’s budgetary difficulties, the latter was never built: the church kept its incompletion as its particularity. A reinforced concrete dome, as planned by Paul-Héneux, crowned the transept crossing in 1904.
This church, with its eclectic style reflecting the Romano-Byzantine style, notably in the cupola, the mosaic tiles and the multiple colours on the facade due to a use of several materials (granite, limestone, reinforced concrete, cement), is characteristic of the new architecture found in seaside towns at that time. Its signed stained glass windows are indicative of the 20th century evolution of such styles.
The church, spanning a total ground surface area of 755 m², could be considerably increased by the creation of an additional level which could easily be incorporated in its great height. The extensive space available, interrupted but by pillars separating the central nave from the aisles, is more than enough to inspire the boldest of projects. To this can be added the 235 m² spread over the two levels of the parish hall, constructed in 1965 in place of the choir. Whether permanent or temporary installations, these premises are ideally suited to a variety of projects, and why not more than one, the fact that it is not classified on the French Historic Monument list gives free rein to any future manager.
Any project does, nevertheless, have to fulfil three requirements:
- It has to be economically viable: the manager will be responsible for all costs connected with bringing the premises back in line with current standards and their maintenance for the duration of the lease. The town council will have to be convinced that it is a serious, sustainable project.
- It has to be innovative and in keeping with local heritage: Saint-Paul’s church is emblematic of the town and has to remain as such not only through the respect of its architecture but also through the new attraction that is to be created.
- It has to be socially acceptable: because of its history and its location in the town, Saint-Paul’s church is subject to a strong collective appropriation. Its new vocation will have to meet the approval of the local inhabitants.
Granville’s Saint-Paul’s church, with its bell-porch, its lateral towers, its cupola over the transept crossing and its numerous semi-circular windows, with their toothed framing, exudes a proud air. Fortunately, it can be seen from all around and, from the platform on which it was built in the 19th century, the sight from the heights of the town, the marina and the ever-moving sea, is amazing. The inside, under its basket-handle arches, illuminated via stainless glass windows based on Sulpician Order and modern designs, is both spacious and stirring. The deconsecration of a place of worship is heart-breaking. Such is the motivation to give this edifice a new worthy vocation. The project will kindle imagination, enthusiasm, generosity and daring in any member of mankind, with good taste, who wishes to embark on an unusual initiative. The emphyteutic lease available is the beginning of an adventure not to be missed.
Photographs: ©Benoit Croisy – Coll Ville de Granville
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Pauline Leveilley       +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.
À Paris et en Ile-de-France
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