Fraillicourt Église Notre-Dame

What you need to know about this church

Église Notre-Dame Fraillicourt

Where to find this church

Church Information

Église Notre-Dame is located in  Fraillicourt, a small village with 184 inhabitants in the Département Ardennes in the region Grand Est.

The church is open

This church was listed as a historical monument in 1928

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Fraillicourt Église Notre-Dame
Church from the west

Visiting Église Notre-Dame

Notre-Dame in Fraillicourt is a wonderful church, not least because, to our surprise, it was open. It is probably the oldest of the fortified churches in the Ardennes. Its most spectacular part is the facade of the ashlar and brick keep, which has different levels from different eras that can be “read” from the bottom to the top.

The lower part with the portal dates from the 13th century; above it are five narrow vertical openings – four of which are bricked up – ending in a brick arch with a machicolation. This dates from the 14th or 15th century, when the building was fortified.

The keep is flanked by two unfinished defence towers (they have no openings and therefore cannot fulfil their original purpose), which are supported on both sides by mighty buttresses made of ashlar. Another is located at one corner of the transept; all are mounted on concentric arches, which is very aesthetically pleasing. However, some reason must have interrupted the construction, perhaps lack of money.

Notre-Dame holds a record among the fortified churches of the Thiérache: it has a total of 17 buttresses distributed around the entire building. At the south-west corner of the choir there is another (watch) tower made of stone and brick.

You enter Notre-Dame through the aforementioned white stone portal, which opens onto the nave. With its beautiful, moulded and finely crafted columns, it reveals that it was built in the last Romanesque or first Gothic period, i.e. between the 11th and 13th centuries.

Inside the church, a Romanesque baptismal font has been preserved, its hemispherical basin flanked by a frieze of round arches on flattened pilasters. A confessional from the 17th century is said to come from the Cistercian abbey of La Val-Roy.

Fraillicourt Église Notre-Dame
Church from south-east