Église Notre-Dame de Calais

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Church of Our Lady in Calais
Church of Our Lady in Calais with the town hall belfry in the background.

Église Notre-Dame ("The Church of Our Lady") is a Roman Catholic parish church located on Rue de la Paix, in Calais, department of Pas-de-Calais, in northern France. In the Tudor architectural tradition, it dates from the 12th century, and chiefly from the 14th century.[1]


The church was damaged during the early wars between France and England, especially in 1346-47, after the Battle of Crécy. Many of the kings and queens of France and England prayed here;[2] and John Bourchier, 2nd Baron Berners is buried in the church choir.[3] It was classified as a historical monument on September 13, 1913. Charles de Gaulle and Yvonne Vendroux were married in the church in 1921.[4]

The tower of Notre Dame church was used as an observation point for the Anglo-French Survey (1784–1790), which used trigonometry to calculate the precise distance between the Paris Observatory and the Royal Greenwich Observatory. Cross-channel sightings were made in September and October 1787 of signal lights at Dover Castle and Fairlight Down, and vice versa.[5]

Architecture and fittings[edit]

The church is large and has a fortress-like appearance. Its layout is in the shape of a Latin cross. There is a large nave with aisles, north and south transepts, a choir with choir-aisles, and a side chapel. A notable feature is the high altar, mostly completed by 1626, which has carvings and bas-relief. A pedestal and a statue are dated 1628, while two other statues were added in 1629, and the balustrades finished in 1648. Among the works of art is a painting by Peter Paul Rubens of the Descent from the Cross.[2]


  1. ^ Baedeker, Karl (1874). Paris and its environs: with routes from London to Paris, Paris to the Rhine and Switzerland ; handbook for travellers (Public domain ed.). K. Baedeker. pp. 283–. Retrieved 8 February 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Russell, Matthew (1907). The Irish monthly (Public domain ed.). pp. 211–. Retrieved 8 February 2012. 
  3. ^ Sandeman, George Amelius Crawshay (1908). Calais under English rule (Public domain ed.). B.H. Blackwell. pp. 101–. Retrieved 8 February 2012. 
  4. ^ "History". calais.ws. Retrieved 9 February 2012. 
  5. ^ Rachel Hewitt, Map Of A Nation (2010), p.87.

Coordinates: 50°57′30″N 1°51′11″E / 50.95833°N 1.85306°E / 50.95833; 1.85306