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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.
Situated in Avranches, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Place Patton, St. Gervais Basilica and Château d'Avranches. Avranches Botanical Garden and Scriptorial Museum are also within 10 minutes. Avranches Station is 19 minutes by foot.
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 Avranches Botanical Garden are also within 1 mile (2 km). Avranches Station is 8 minutes by foot.
Situated in Avranches, this bed & breakfast is within a 10-minute walk of Avranches Botanical Garden, Garden of the Bishop and Château d'Avranches. St. Gervais Basilica and Scriptorial Museum are also within 15 minutes. Avranches Station is 18 minutes by foot.
Located in the heart of Avranches, this spa hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Scriptorial Museum and Garden of the Bishop. Mont Saint Michel Abbey is 16.1 mi (25.9 km) away.
Situated in Marcey-les-Greves, this golf guesthouse is within 1 mile (2 km) of Mont Saint-Michel Bay, Garden of the Bishop and Château d'Avranches. Scriptorial Museum and Avranches Botanical Garden are also within 2 miles (3 km). Avranches Station is 10 minutes by foot.
Situated in Le Val-Saint-Pere, this hotel is 1.2 mi (1.9 km) from Mont Saint-Michel Bay and within 3 miles (5 km) of Place Patton and Avranches Botanical Garden. Château d'Avranches and St. Gervais Basilica are also within 3 miles (5 km).
Situated in Le Val-Saint-Pere, this guesthouse is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Mont Saint-Michel Bay and within 3 miles (5 km) of Avranches Botanical Garden and Garden of the Bishop. Château d'Avranches and Place Patton are also within 3 miles (5 km).
Situated in a rural location, this hotel is within 9 mi (15 km) of Scriptorial Museum, St. Gervais Basilica and Museum of the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel. Alligator Bay and Brittany American Cemetery are also within 12 mi (20 km).