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St. Gervais Basilica featuring heritage architecture, a church or cathedral and heritage elements

Get a close look at the famous skull of St. Aubert, and the hole where the archangel Michael’s finger pierced it.

St. Gervais Basilica, a charming church in the heart of Avranches, is known for owning the skull of the commune’s 8th-century bishop. This religious parable has made the structure very popular among visitors to the town. Take a look inside this fascinating basilica to see its collection of treasures comprising works of art and religious artifacts dating back several centuries.

See the hole at the top of the skull, where legend has it that the archangel Michael drove his finger in to convince St. Aubert to build an oratory. The spirit is said to have appeared to the bishop, who is buried in the oratory, three times in total. A more scientific explanation is that the skull actually belonged to a prehistoric person who took part in a trepanning ritual. The skull stands in an elegant glass case with gold decoration.

Gaze up at the bell tower and its classic clock at the top, at a height of 243 feet (74 meters). This part of the church is known as its emblem and can be seen from the other side of the town. The clock and 32 bells are a relatively new component, dating back to the 1800s.

Admire the neoclassical style of the church’s façade. It has a wide bottom half with the extension of the bell tower at its center. Walk along the spacious central nave and admire the interior architecture, with its gold-colored columns and arches on either side.

The basilica was constructed in the 17th century, in part to replace the destroyed cathedral of the nearby Mont Saint-Michel. It took a couple of centuries for the basilica to reach its present splendor.

The St. Gervais Basilica is located in the center of Avranches. It is near to many other landmarks, including the Museum of Art and History, the Tourism Office and the Avranches Castle. You can easily walk to the basilica within a few minutes from anywhere in the town center or the Jardin des Plantes.

Top Trending Hotels Near St. Gervais Basilica

La Ramade
La Ramade
4 out of 5
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is £88 per night from 3 Dec to 3 Dec
Situated near the beach, this hotel is within 1 mile (2 km) of Mont Saint-Michel Bay, Garden of the Bishop and Château d'Avranches. Scriptorial Museum and St. ...
4.7/5 Exceptional! (191 reviews)
"Wonderful property. Comfortable, well laid out and friendly service. We would definitely stay again."

Reviewed on 25 Nov 2021

La Ramade
Beautiful bright townhouse! 190m2 5 bedrooms
Beautiful bright townhouse! 190m2 5 bedrooms
8 Rue Duhamel, Avranches, Normandy
This family-friendly Avranches holiday home is located by the sea, within a 5-minute walk of St. Gervais Basilica and Château d'Avranches. Avranches Botanical ...
5/5 Exceptional! (8 reviews)
Beautiful home in a great location!
"There were 7 of us including 5 adults and 2 kids and we all thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Avranches! Damien was so easy to work with and the 7-year-old in our group exclaimed that this was the BEST place we stayed in over 3 weeks of travel since Damien and his wife allow guests to use their kids’ ..."

Reviewed on 2 Sep 2018

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Beautiful bright townhouse! 190m2 5 bedrooms
Apartment Avranches, 1 bedroom, 2 persons
Apartment Avranches, 1 bedroom, 2 persons
16 bis rue d'Office, Avranches, Normandy
Situated in Avranches, this apartment building is steps away from Château d'Avranches, Garden of the Bishop and Scriptorial Museum. St. Gervais Basilica and ...
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Apartment Avranches, 1 bedroom, 2 persons
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Altos Hôtel & Spa
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Beautiful bright townhouse! 190m2 5 bedrooms
Beautiful bright townhouse! 190m2 5 bedrooms
8 Rue Duhamel, Avranches, Normandy
Beautiful bright townhouse! 190m2 5 bedrooms
Apartment Avranches, 1 bedroom, 2 persons
Apartment Avranches, 1 bedroom, 2 persons
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