DRAC Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, protections for historic monuments 2022 - 2nd quarter
1.SAINTE-FOY-LES-LYON (Rhône) – Sainte-Foy Church
The Sainte-Foy church has a remarkable historical and artistic interest. Erected in place of the former castral village of Sainte-Foy, it is the heiress of its evolution: replacing on this site a first church several times modified, the current church, built in the nineteenth century, takes over the Romanesque bell tower-porch of the old church and extends, in the back part, to the medieval rampart. These three elements from different eras are now included in the delimitation of the protected monument.
- 10th to 19th century -
Historic Monuments Registration July 19, 2022 of the church of Sainte-Foy, with its Romanesque bell tower-porch and the portion of ancient rampart located at its bedside.
© Aurélie Vertu, DRAC Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
Early in XIXe century, the central church of the village, dedicated to Saint Foy, no longer allowed to receive the many faithful of the parish, despite the successive modifications and enlargements made to it.
In 1838-39, a reconstruction project presented by the Lyon architect Fleury Gros was accepted by the parish council. Following this project, the old church was demolished in 1840, with the exception of its bell tower, the maintenance of which had been debated. The new building, built along the north-south axis, allowed the maximum extension of the monument on the edge of the Sainte-Foy plateau.
Construction work was carried out between 1840 and 1843, under the direction of the architect Christophe Crépet, who took over the project when Fleury Gros died. However, the main nave and the west aisle barely collapsed during the night of 14 to 15 November 1841. Departmental architect Antoine-Marie Chenavard was then commissioned by the prefect to oversee the smooth construction of the church, which was completed in 1843.
Later, the plots adjoining the west side of the building were acquired by the municipality, which proceeded with the demolition of the old building to allow the creation of Vicinal Road No. 1, future avenue Valioud (breakthrough in 1871). In the same way, the dwellings opposite the main facade giving access to the nave by three doors were demolished in order to clear the space of a forecourt.
This is how the commune destroyed almost all the constructions of its old castrum, which gave way to the church. In 1890, the bell-tower-porch, an ancient historical entrance to the church from the west while the choir was oriented towards the slope, was completed by the architect Édouard Bissuel with an arrow in Tournus stone. At the same time, the blind arcades beneath the bell tower were hollowed out in order to allow access. The limestone sculptures of the zodiac, formerly present on the bell tower, were dismantled (nine elements dating from the end of the 11th or the beginning of the 12th century belonging to it are now in the Gadagne museums).
Reviving the interest in the worship of Saint Foy, in this church where pilgrims from Compostela circulate, the parishioners offered their church a prestigious bust-reliquary of the saint, by Thomas-Joseph Armand Calliat, goldsmith (1890 work). Finally, the painter Eugène Bon (1852-1950) realized in 1893 a cycle of wall paintings to decorate the nave: large angels to the instruments of the Passion were realized at the level of each of the pillars of the nave; the Emmaus meal, the scene of the history of the pilgrims of Emmaus represented on the triumphal arch of the choir; as well as the four evangelists on the pendants of the dome. In 1913, under the mandate of Abbé Picard and under the direction of the architect Delaval, the choice was made to leave visible the stones of the facades. Small triangular pediments were created above the side entrance doors, echoing the large pediment of the main entrance, delineating a slightly projecting central forebody. A decoration of bands with brick ornaments, which no longer exists today, was added to the facade, giving an unprecedented rhythm to the elevations, a nod to the remains of the Roman aqueducts crossing the commune. This polychrome exterior decoration was preserved throughout the 20th century, until the renovation of 2020, which restored the original sobriety of the monument by choosing a smooth coating of the facades.
The important work of restoration of the exteriors included the cleaning and rejoining of the old rampart of the village against which the bedside of the church is based. The building has been cleaned of its greyish gangue due to time and pollution and now appears in a lighter shade, the stone of the bell tower having been cleaned and the facades coated.
In the interior, the boreholes show fragments of 19th-century wall paintings, which the evolution of taste or the condition of the building itself has not been able to highlight. A better understanding of these paintings and their history within the various phases of work carried out in the church will be one of the stakes of the future restoration of the interiors of the church Sainte-Foy of Sainte-Foy-lès-Lyon, it is the heir of the evolution of thisci: replacing on this site a first church several times modified, the current church, built in the nineteenth century, takes over the Romanesque bell tower-porch of the old church and extends, in the back part, until the medieval rampart. These three elements from different eras are now included in the delimitation of the protected monument.