Rue Wacquez Glasson
01 January - 31 December
Mon 9.00 - 19.00
Tue 9.00 - 19.00
Wed 9.00 - 19.00
Thu 9.00 - 19.00
Fri 9.00 - 19.00
Sat 9.00 - 19.00
Sun 9.00 - 19.00
week : 1 pm
Saturday : 10 am
Sunday : 6.30 pm
Situated a few yards from the Town Belfry, the belfry of the church of Saint John the Baptist dominates the town, competing with the Town Belfry and the cathedral.
Built during the 16th century, under the patronage of Saint Nicolas in the Moats, replacing a church in the moats where Saint Thomas à Becket had preached, it was saved from destruction during the French Revolution because it became the ‘Temple of Reason’.
It was the temporary cathedral between 1803 and 1833. In 1915 it was burnt down in the bombings of the town, causing the death of two heroic firemen (Wacquez and Glasson). The nearby road bears their names.
Its reconstruction in the neo-gothic style is the work of the architect Mulard, following the plans of Henri Mazet. The architects chose walls of reinforced concrete and brick, faced with stone.
The nave, lit by contemporary stained glass windows, is famous for the monumental painting of “The Descent from the Cross” by Peter-Paul Rubens (1625), ordered by the monks of St.Vaast Abbey for their church.
The retable of the north-side altar is also remarkable, saved from the chapel of the ‘Saint Chandelle’ situated on the Place des Heros and destroyed in 1792. In the centre is the oldest statue representing Notre Dame des Ardents (14th century) : a Virgin and Child, carrying the miraculous candle.
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This Descent from the Cross is the work of the great master Peter-Paul Rubens (1577-1640) and is one of the few paintings by the painter visible outside museums or private collections. The work, which illustrates all the master's talent and know-how, was commissioned by Saint-Vaast Abbey in the 1610s.
After the Revolution and before the First World War, it was exhibited in Arras Cathedral.
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The altar and altarpiece come from the former chapel of the Ardents (Place des Héros) built in 1648 and destroyed in 1792, for security reasons. During the excavations of the square in the early 2010, the archaeological service of the City of Arras uncovered the foundations of this former chapel, still visible after the work. The statue of Our Lady of the Ardents dates from the 14th century, it is the oldest known. She carries the Child Jesus with her left arm, represented with a world map in her hand. On the other hand, the Virgin presents the Virgin of the miracle of the Ardents.
Located behind the main altar, this 1928 painting represents the Baptism of Christ.
P. Payen et P. Boucquel
The church contains a series of artworks by the artist Louis Déchin: the 1st and 14th station of the Way of the Cross, the statues of Saint Joseph and Saint John the Baptist, the altar of Saint Joseph and the baptismal font.