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Visiting Sainte-Anne du Brun-Pain church, Tourcoing, France: late 19th century, neo-Romanesque solidity

Updated on July 5, 2012
Flag of France
Flag of France | Source
Church of Sainte-Anne du Brun-Pain, Tourcoing, France
Church of Sainte-Anne du Brun-Pain, Tourcoing, France | Source
Map location of Tourcoing, France
Map location of Tourcoing, France | Source

One of architect Charles Maillard's noted creations

This striking, red brick church in Tourcoing, in France's Nord deparment, is one of the many church buildings on which local architect Charles Maillard worked (1).

Some history and features

The church of Sainte-Anne du Brun-Pain , as it is often known, named for the Brun-Pain suburb of the city, is in neo-Romanesque style. The architect is said to have used the design of Paris's famed Sacré-Cœur church at Montmartre, albeit on a smaller scale, as a model for this building.

The church building dates from 1899, in a period when the city of Tourcoing was known for its prosperity because of the thriving, local textile industry.

Among the building's particular characteristics are the tower and its distinctive cupola. These features together form a local landmark.

The design of the building thus exudes tradition, with its solidity and Medieval, neo-Romanesque lines, dating from the Belle Epoque period shortly before the separation of church and state in France, when the Roman Catholic church was experiencing a time of resurgence. Not long after this building became a feature of Tourcoing's architectural heritage, the country underwent secularist convulsions, followed by the devastating World War One, during which Tourcoing was occupied by German troops. This building thus represents an era which ended shortly after its inception.

More subjectively, the red brick material of the building suggests to me an almost 'Belgian' appearance; in Belgium, red brick has been a hugely popular building material; indeed, the border with Belgium is situated only a few kilometres away.

At certain periods, guides tours of Sainte-Anne du Brun-Pain are sometimes available, for which a small charge is requested.


(1) Altogether, in the region, Architect Maillard is said to have worked on 125 church buildings, not including the secular buildings for which he was responsible.

Also worth seeing

In Tourcoing itself, the City Hall, also designed by Charles Maillard, and the Saint-Christophe church, are also architecturally meritorious, as is the belfry and railroad station.

Mouscron , Belgium (distance: 8.1 kilometres) has the partly Medieval Castle of the Counts.


How to get there: Brussels Airlines flies from New York to Brussels Airport (Brussel Nationaal / Bruxelles-National ), from where car rental is available. Brussels is the nearest large airport to Tourcoing (distance: 117 kilometres). Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. You are advised to refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada


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