As an aperitif…
Previously the capital of the Nivernais province, Nevers today is a city with a population of thirty thousand and a rich architectural heritage.
The most symbolic of its monuments is the Cathedral of Saint-Cyr-et-Sainte-Julitte, a stunning building with two opposing choirs that displays many different styles from around year 1000 to the start of the Renaissance. Underground, excavations also reveal remains of a 6th century baptistery. A recent program of stained glass (1977-2009) is visible on more than 1000 square meters of windows.
It was at the service of this endearing building that in 1985, Regards sur la cathédrale de Nevers was born. For over thirty years, with the full support of the clergy, a small team of volunteers has ensured a welcoming presence for visitor, tourists and pilgrims so that they may discover the countless riches of such a building.
Begun in 1068 and finished in 1099, the church of Saint-Etienne is considered as a prime example of Romanesque art, with Viollet-le-Duc describing it in his monumental Dictionnaire raisonné de l’Architecture as the most perfect example of 11th century architecture. Nevers also boasts two stunning 17th century churches: the chapel Sainte-Marie with its baroque facade and the church of Saint-Pierre, painted in trompe l’œil style.
For contemporary art, it is worth mentioning the church of Sainte-Bernadette du Banlay. Constructed in exposed concrete and consecrated in 1966, it was one of the first buildings to be born out of the renewed liturgical spirit of the second Vatican Council. Also of note is the modest chapelle de la Visitation, created in 1993 for a cloistered monastic community.
In addition, the city retains a number of civic buildings. The Palais Ducal recalls of the magnificence of the princes of Gonzague, the dukes of Nevers to whom we owe France’s first faïence au grand feu (earthenware) workshops, installed in the city in 1580.
Nevers is also a place of pilgrimage. Several years after the Apparitions at Lourdes in 1858, Bernadette Soubirous chose to join the Congrégation des Sœurs de Nevers (Congregation of Sisters of Charity of Nevers). She remained there until her death in 1858, and her preserved body can still be seen in a bronze and glass shrine in the convent chapel.
A place of silence at the heart of the city, situated several minutes from the main sites, the Espace Bernadette Soubirous Nevers is large enough to be both a sanctuary for pilgrims and a meeting space perfectly equipped for welcoming groups.
Regards sur la Cathédrale
Ars et Fides
Have a look on the provisional programme (in French): Nevers 2017 – programme-visites