Priory St. Bathilde, Vanves


From 1933 until 1936 the Priory St. Bathilde in Vanves is constructed. Vanves is a part of Paris. The complex was designed for a Benedictine mission order. Just like at Kraainem, Belgium, this complex is built in one time. Due to that the complex is very uniform. The priory tracks attention by the high uprising roof of the chapel. The part where the altar original was placed has a different kind of roof. The decoration at the outside of the complex is different this time: no coloured belt, but only a different colour of brick to decorate the frieze. It looks like the teeth of a saw (in Dutch: zaagtandfries). On the roof is a mosaic in red and blue. The priory has no tower, only a belfry with 3 bells.

The terrain used has a fall of 7 metres. At the front of the priory is a large stairway just behind the entrance, so you can climb to the chapel at the second floor. At the backside this is street-level..










In 2011 we visited this priory. Construction works told us there was a change going on. The nuns had sold about a quart of their cloister and are nowadays using only the chapel and the parts behind it. The part at the frontside, at Rue d’Issy, will become a hospital for mentally ill people.

inside the cloister



interior of the chapel


On the inside we see:


The chapel. The part with the different kind of roof was the sanctuary. The altar has been moved to the side so this old sanctuary is no longer used. The old sanctuary has a concrete roof, made out of eight shells. At the east side the chapel has a little extra part. At the south of this old sanctuary the public could take place for the mass, at the northside the nuns were seated. The altar was in the middle of the chapel! Revolutionary at the time.

The part of the nuns and the part of the public is roofed with a wooden ceiling. It is supported by brick columns growing out of the sidewalls. Glass-in-concrete windows. These windows are decorated with white crosses made out of white bricks.


Nowadays the altar is placed in the middle part of the nave.


stairway to heaven.. (i.e. the chapel)


The old refectory has a concrete ceiling, supported by brick columns. Most of this refectory is part of the sold section of 2011. A small part can still be accessed from the monastery.


The most beautiful part of the priory can be found at the capitulary-room. This room is nowadays used as refectory. One column stands in the middle, like a palm tree its leaves reaching out to the side. Bellot has probably seen works of Gaudi, because this palm tree looks like Guell parc....


Bellot is often linked to Gaudi, using parabolic arches. There is one major difference: Gaudi constructed his arches with a necklet, Bellot uses mathematics to calculate his arches. For more information, see the explanation at "his architecture".


photos: a.w.a.lukassen and a.a. lukassen, August 2011






Chapter room (nowadays refectory) with ‘palm tree’