The church of St. Gervais St. Protais is one of the most beautiful religious monument of Normandy. It was built from the 13th century and then it was reorganized and improved until the 16th century. It has the size of a cathedral (70 meters long, 24 meters high under vault) within which you can listen to Norman, Gothic and Renaissance music style. With its size, this cathedral is often compared with the Cathedral of Sentis (Oise). It comprises five naves and six bays with a large nave surrounded with side aisles shining chapels. During the 15th and the 16th centuries, the religious brotherhoods, largely, contributed to its improvement through their donations.
Outside, the west front Gothic and Renaissance styles combine filigree architecture, central great door with triumph and imposing order tower. The transept's nothern front still reveal wooden doors sculpted delicately which remain the first examples of the use of Renaissance patterns inside the church.
Inside, the nave reveals a rise without discontinuity, without capitals what is a characteristic of the gothic-norman art. This choice of simplicity in the height is a sign of a raise towards God and a search for more brightness. In its soutern part, the transept reveals an ornamental gallery decorated with vegetal friezes. The northern arm is covered with vaults made up of curved rubs and chiselled recesses canopy.
Consecrated in 1249, the chancel ends with a flat chevet which is decorated with a rose window. The chancel is characterized by a flamboyant gothic style lined with double side aisles. It reveals an elevation on three levels. This Ile-de-France inspired elevation evokes the elevations of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame-De-Paris. The rosaire tower (on the southern side) reveals a magnificient sculped Tree of Jesse. It is the family tree of the Christ's ancestors. A spiral staircase allows to reach the organ. Its renaissance style evokes the staircase of the castle of Blois (Loir-et-Cher).
In the southern side of the nave, there are three beautiful sculpted pillars. The Dauphins pillar is marked with a lily-flower and the heir apparent portrait is the symbol of the french king St. Louis. The St. Jacques pillar is made up with shells linked with a ribbon and the St. Claude pillar depicts the tanner's work and the life of the Saint. On the same side, inside the chapel St. Cler, there is a transit, a decomposed corpse, in high relief which is sculpted on a 16th century wall and which conveys a message encouraging the audience to reflect on it : « whoever you are, you will be prostrated by death; stay here, be careful, cry. I represent what you will be, an ash heap. Implore, pray for me».
A grisaille stained glass window devoted to the Virgin's life can be seen inside the south chapel of the chancel. It is an exceptionnal quality painting, a renaissance work that evokes the stained glass window of the Psyche's gallery of the castle of Ecouen (Val d'Oise). The grisaille, the silver-yellow, the red chalk and the blue enamel are placed upon plain glass. The diagrammatic surrounding, the clothing of the Ancient World, the rugged landscape and the decor of ruin take, dirctly, a leaf out of the Fontainbleau School Style. The chapel of Notre-Dame-De-l'Assomption, devoted to the virgin, is located on the northern extension of the chancel. Its construction was fund by a royal brotherhood which was created in 1360 by Charles the Fifth. A wide low-relief depicts on bright colors (blue background and golden lily-flower) the king, the queen followed by the three possessing orders that is to say: Nobility, Clergy and the people. Inside the third northern chapel of the nave, a beautiful stained glass window dedicated to St. Crispin and St. Crispinian is still visible today. Among the three styles, four scenes represent the martyrdom of the patron Saint of shoemakers. One scene depicts them, in one very realistic way, dived into a boiling water caldron which content is flowing upon the tormenters.
The church is accessible freely and for free from 9 am to 6 pm daily, all the year round.
No guided tour is organized for individuals. However, a specific brochure is available at the tourist office for discovering the monument.
For more relevant information, you can visit the City of Gisors's website section culture category patrimoine .