Where can one find, across the world, a building that contains works by Maurice Denis, Gustave Jaulmes, René Lalique, Jean Berque, and Roger de Villiers or for that matter, Emme Thiollier… ?
One would find expressions of their own creativity in scattered locations: M. Denis in the Sainte Odile chapel (Lapoutroie, Eastern France), R. Lalique in Douvres-la-Délivrande (Normandy), or the Kérylos Villa (Riviera) by G. Jaulmes… Here, we have them all together and most people living in Reims don’t know this fact.
G. Charbonneaux was not only passionate about social reform and had a strong faith but also very keen about culture and art.
Les Amis de Saint-Nicaise du Chemin-Vert Society’s mission is to convene and insure, with the Foyer Rémois and its management, the continuance of a visionary’s work by moving ahead to preserve and enable to make this beautiful church better known. This is in line with the values so treasured by G. Charbonneaux: fondness for sharing and concern for other people.
The Society intends to support the cultural, artistic and touristic importance of this striking place of worship.
The Chemin-Vert garden city and Saint-Nicaise church
10 Key Facts
- - Between 1825 and 1910, the population of Reims grew from 25 000 à 115 000 inhabitants, resulting in a serious problem of informal housing and squalor.
- - Ca. 1890, awareness by the Catholic church (Leo XIII), the Musée Social housing reform foundation and employers of taking into consideration the workforce’s value and its well being.
- - 1910, very serious birth crisis in France with fertility rates well below those of neighbouring European countries.
- - 1912, establishment of the Foyer Rémois, led by Georges Charbonneaux, a chemical factory owner who assembled Catholic and Protestant industrialists, mainly in the textile and champagne businesses. A novel idea: to allocate housing only to large family households from Reims.
- - 1920, devised in the pre-war period, work started on an extensive garden city project with more than 600 housing units including general amenities, a community centre and a house of childhood, a shopping centre and a place of worship.
- - 1921-1923, Garden city erection conceived as a test-ground for birth rates.
- - 7 February 1923, foundation stone ceremony for Saint Nicaise church, inaugurated on 8 June 1924, consecrated on 8 June 1934.
- - Saint-Nicaise church is not, strictly speaking, an Art Deco showpiece. The only components relevant to this style are:
As for the rest, the contributing artists belonged to the Studios of Sacred Art (Maurice Denis, Roger de Villiers) or imitated the Byzantine style (Gustave Jaulmes). The Angels by Lalique are not associated with the Art Deco style. The architecture planned by J.M. Auburtin relates to the Romanesque-Byzantine style.
- The Stations of the Cross designed by Jean Berque, an artist from Reims.
- The furniture and the altars drawn up by architect J.M. Auburtin.
- - Saint-Nicaise church, classified as a historic monument on 13 February 2002, is a property belonging to the Foyer Rémois.
- - Information about visits and opening hours: Les Amis de Saint-Nicaise du Chemin-Vert, call + (33) 06 36 69 27 69.