Aubenton Église Notre-Dame

What you need to know about this church

Église Notre-Dame Aubenton

Where to find this church

Church Information

Église Notre-Dame is located in Aubenton, a commune with 661 inhabitants about 14 km sout-east of the town of Hirson in the Département Aisne in the région Hauts-de-France.

The church is open

This church was listed as a historical monument in 1994

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Visiting Église Notre-Dame

Notre-Dame in Aubenton can be described as another “small rural cathedral”. 

The first Notre-Dame was founded in 1044 – the date is carved on a vault of the chapel of the Virgin Mary. Until the 13th century, the church grew steadily and became more and more beautiful. In particular, it received a beautiful Romanesque portal, which is unique in the Thiérache, and seems to show strange animals. But the rest of the church is also worth seeing.

The square keep with its massive dimensions is made of white ashlar. The ground floor forms an arm of the transept.

The first floor is reached by a spiral staircase, which is located in a slender tower attached to an outer corner of the watchtower. The large hall on the first floor is about 7 m x 7 m. It was covered by high vaults, which no longer exist. Large embrasures break through the walls on two different levels: There was thus an intermediate floor that allowed the archers to access the upper embrasures.

The height of the keep walls is about 20 metres. If you add 10 metres for the top of the tower, it towers above the ground by more than 30 metres. It was intended to be a symbol of the greatness of the city and the guard and alarm posts.

While the church, except for the keep, could only serve defensive purposes to a limited extent, the entire town is criss-crossed with underground passages that served as shelters for the population and formed a complex network. In the past, they were connected to the cellars of the church, but today they are filled in.

Inside, the ceiling that Mary of Lorraine donated to the church in 1685 is one of the most beautiful pieces in the fortified churches of the Thiérache. The paradox is that these twenty-seven coffers panelled in polychrome oak with the Guises coat of arms don’t have much to do with military architecture.

But there are also sixteenth-century French paintings, fifteenth-century statues, the sixteenth-century choir stalls and the organ and pulpit from Bucilly Abbey that are worth seeing.

Finally, there is the “Scenes from the Life of Christ” to admire, the stained glass window created in 1969 by the Dutch stained glass artist Charles Eyck, the same whose frescoes embellish the church of Jeantes. You can admire all windows in the second slideshow.

Aubenton Église Notre-Dame
Mary's ceiling
Aubenton Église Notre-Dame