Eglise Saint-Michel, Dijon

Church in Dijon

Dijon Eglise Saint-Michel
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Provence13

The Saint-Michel Church, situated within the historic district of Dijon, is renowned for its 16th-century Renaissance facade, regarded as one of the most exquisite in France. It has been officially listed as a historic monument since 1840.

History of Eglise Saint-Michel, Dijon

The earliest record of Saint-Michel Church dates back to 889. Initially, it likely served as a modest wooden chapel adjacent to the walls of the Castrum de Dijon. By 1020, due to an increasing congregation, Abbot Garnier de Mailly of Saint-Étienne initiated the construction of a larger church, which was 58.44 meters long and 9.74 meters wide. This new church was consecrated by Lambert de Bassigny, the bishop of Langres, and Garnier de Mailly was buried there upon his death in 1051. A drawing from the late 15th century provides a glimpse into its appearance at that time.

On July 17, 1497, the church was deemed too small once again, prompting the decision to construct a new building funded by parishioner donations. It was expanded towards the choir side, and wealthy parish families financed the addition of private chapels. The new structure was consecrated on July 29, 1529, by Philibert de Beaujeu, bishop of Tonnerre. Despite initial structural uncertainties, particularly in the choir’s masonry, the design ultimately favored a traditional and relatively austere flamboyant Gothic style, with sculptural details highlighting the crossing pillars.

The construction of the south portal was completed in 1537, and the central portal in 1551. The towers on the western facade were finished much later, in 1659 and 1667.

The tops of these towers were reconstructed in their original form at the end of the 17th century. The sacristy was built at the beginning of the 18th century and was expanded in the following century. In 1763, the sanctuary was elevated, and the choir and transept pillars were adorned with fine woodwork in the Greek style.

From January 1791 to February 1794, the church safeguarded the “Sainte-Hostie,” a miraculous host said to have bled after being stabbed, which was gifted to the Duke of Burgundy by Pope Eugene IV in 1433. This host was publicly burned by revolutionaries on February 10, 1794.

In 1847, modifications to the roof of the portal led to water damage on the sculptures, necessitating restorations in the mid-19th century, and again in the 1970s and 1990s.

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity (1880-1906), who regularly prayed at this church and made her first communion there on April 19, 1891, later joined the Carmel of Dijon.


The Eglise Saint-Michel, Dijon appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Dijon!

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Visiting Eglise Saint-Michel, Dijon

Hours:

Open every day from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., except Sundays from 9 a.m.


Address: Église Saint-Michel, Place Saint-Michel, Dijon, France
Duration: 20 minutes

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