An important feature of Josselin, the Basilica of Notre Dame du Roncier was founded in the 11th century. Modified over time, it is a fine example of the late 15th century flamboyant Gothic style, though retaining some elements of the original Romanesque church, especially in the central square of the transept.
Inside the Basilica, the recumbent figures of Olivier de Clisson and Marguerite de Rohan are preserved. The quality of the material and the sculpture bear witness to the couple's political and social power and importance.
The origins of Notre Dame du Roncier (our Lady of the Brambles)
Legend has it that in 808, a farmer, who cultivated the land where the church now stands, found a statue of the Virgin Mary in some brambles. He took the statue home with him, but it miraculously returned to the place where he had found it. This happened several times and, soon after, the Bishop of Aleth authorised Christians to pray to her. The farmer's daughter, blind from birth, regained her sight. Word spread and pilgrims flocked to the town. The windows illustrate this discovery.
For over 1,200 years, Josselin has been welcoming pilgrims each year on September 8th for the Grand Pardon of Notre Dame du Roncier. The tradition continues to this day.
A bird's eye view
Climb the bell tower and discover Josselin and the surrounding countryside. At the top of the 138 steps, requiring some effort, enjoy the long-awaited reward: a breath-taking view of the castle, rooftops, narrow streets and the river Oust.
Open to the public from Easter to November 1st from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., except during mass.
History of the basilica’s organ
In the 17th century, the parish of Notre Dame du Roncier signed a contract for the construction of a new organ with the famous organ builder and organist, Pierre Le Helloco. It took him three years to build it and he finally delivered the organ to the church in 1677. It was maintained and repaired regularly throughout the ages without undergoing any major changes. However, after the second intervention of the Parisian organ builder, P.M. Koenig, from 1941 to 1949, the organ ceased to function in 1972. Listed as a historic monument in 1973, it was finally returned to Josselin in 1986. It was perfectly restored in the workshops of the Italian organ maker, Barthélémy Formentelli. The opening concert on December 2nd 1990 put an end to two years of work. Twenty years later, the instrument was again cleaned during the winter of 2010/2011. This organ is a magnificent instrument, frequently resonating at the hands of visiting organists invited by the Amis de la Basilique Association to the delight of music lovers.