©Jardin du Prieuré Saint Ortaire à Bagnoles de l'Orne|Image par Cœur

Churches and chapels

Explore the religious heritage of Bagnoles de l’Orne

The town’s religious buildings are in a fairly recent architectural style, having been built in the 19th and 20th centuries. Explore Bagnoles de l’Orne’s Art Deco church, the Saint-Ortaire Priory and the charming little chapel in the Forêt des Andaines. Don’t miss the panoramic views from the top of the bell tower at the La Vierge de Notre-Dame-de-Lignou church.

The Sainte-Madeleine church and its majestic organ

The first church was built in 1826 by a priest who had come to take the waters. He turned his had to architecture and drew up the plans himself. The local inhabitants undertook the construction of their church themselves, working in the evenings after work and on Sundays. Completed two years later, the church of Sainte-Madeleine has a simple design and an elegant bell tower.

The organ is undoubtedly the most majestic object in this church with twelve of its stops dating from the 18th century. The instrument was modified in 1855 and is housed in a neo-Gothic case. It now has twenty-five organ stops. Outside to the left you can still see the home of the Goupil brothers, “Le Logis”.

The Sacré-Coeur Art-Deco church

The Sacré-Coeur church was built in 1934 by the architect Olivier Michelin and funded by donations from those who came to take the waters. It replaced an old chapel dating from 1897 that was known as the “chapel of the hundred steps”. This stunningly white Art-Deco church it is made of reinforced concrete.

The façade has a porch in neo-Moorish style, decorated with scrolls and topped with a bell-tower surrounded by columns. The stained glass windows on the theme of water are by the master glazier Charles Lorin of Chartres. The architectural and decorative qualities of the church of Sacré-Coeur were recognised by the Ministry of Culture in 2004 when it was awarded the “20th-century heritage Mark”.

The Saint-Ortaire Priory

The Saint-Ortaire Priory is located in the hamlet of Le Bas Bézier on the edge of the forest, on the road to Saint-Michel-des-Andaines. The site in fact has two chapels, one dating from the 18th century, which is private and dedicated to Saint Ortaire and Saint Radegund, and a 20th-century chapel known as the Chapel of the Servites de Marie, which is dedicated to Saint Peregrine and Saint Ortaire.

Ortaire de Landelles lived on this site close to the spring of health-giving water in the sixth century. A ritual recalls the miraculous healing of the hermit. This consists of depositing a pebble of a size proportional to the suffering of the sick person at the foot of the trees or in their branches. As soon as the stone falls, the illness disappears. He is invoked for the healing of children, lower limbs and rheumatism.

The Sainte-Geneviève chapel

Located in the middle of the Forêt des Andaines, the little chapel of Sainte-Geneviève provides walkers along the GR 22 with a relaxing stop. Built in 1859 by François Bonhomme, this tiny chapel is surrounded by granite benches where the congregation can sit so they can hear the service.
The building was damaged by a tornado and rebuilt in 1939 by Abbot Honoré Derouet who made the wooden sculptures that can be found inside. In olden times, young girls who wanted to get married during the year would come and write their name on the wall of the chapel of Sainte-Geneviève.

Notre-Dame-de-Lignou and the Golden Virgin

Set high on a hill just over a mile from Couterne, the Notre-Dame-de-Lignou chapel dominates the valley. It’s neo-Byzantine architecture, which resembles Sacré-Cœur in Montmarte in Paris, is quite recent. A gilded statue of the Virgin Mary is fixed to one of the pillars in the transept so pilgrims can kneel at her feet. This statue may have led to inexplicable healings.

The gallery that surrounds the bell tower offers panoramic views over the valley of Mayenne from a vantage point of 20 m from the ground. The small bell chamber topped by a small dome has a 4 m tall statue of the Virgin Mary at the very top. The annual pilgrimage on 15 August attracts several hundred pilgrims.


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