Saint-Christophe in the town of Bléré on the river Cher in Touraine (Indre-et-Loire)
is a very interesting church. As soon as you walk through its doors you are
immediately met by a sight that is slightly confusing as there appears to be
none of the usual standard form of a church with no obvious main nave -
instead there appears to be a choice.
This is because what you see is in fact the
combination of more than one church. Its history is not easily traced and
depending on what you read it either consists of two or three separate
buildings or chapels.
The first church on the site was built in the fifth century
by St. Brice who had an interesting upbringing under the wing of Saint
Martin while he was Bishop of Tours -
you can read about him here.
He eventually succeeded Saint Martin as bishop in 397. This church was
destroyed by the Normans.
The chapels we see today were built between the 15th and 19th
century - why there was more than one chapel/church beside each other is
unclear but they were joined by a nave in the 15th century.
This was also when
semi-circular apse and side chapels were added.
There are some interesting modern stained glass windows.
Where's Joan?...although the church has many fine statues
there isn't one of our heroine.
Walking around the outside of the church lets you see the
'confusion' of buildings that make it up as a whole.
The church steeple dates from the 12th/13th century.