Pierre

The Saint-Theobald Collegiate of Thann in Alsace is considered one of the most beautiful Gothic churches in Alsace. A local saying states: “The spire of Strasbourg is the highest, the spire of Freiburg is the broadest but the spire of Thann is the prettiest.”


A bit of History

Saint-Theobald collegiate church Thann 16 copyright French Moments
Saint-Theobald collegiate church © French Moments

The church, built between the 14th and the 16th century, displays a remarkable example of Flamboyant Gothic style. It is arguably one of the most richly decorated churches in Alsace.

The church was built in several stages. The construction work started in 1307 and was later delayed due to the 1356 Basel earthquake. The South lateral nave was completed in 1332 and the Flamboyant spire in 1516.

In 1442, a college of canons from the village of Saint-Amarin came to Thann. The church of Thann became a “collegiate”, that is a church housing a college of canons.

Saint-Theobald collegiate church Thann 16 copyright French Moments
Statues © French Moments

Exterior of Collegiate Church

Saint-Theobald collegiate church Thann 16 copyright French Moments
Saint-Theobald collegiate church, Thann © French Moments

One of the best Gothic features of Thann Collegiate is the main portal of the western façade designed between 1342 and 1498. It is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture in Alsace, 16 m high and 8 m wide. The doorway includes three tympanums.

Saint-Theobald collegiate church Thann 16 copyright French Moments
The great portal © French Moments

The central tympanum represents 150 scenes of the life of Mary with 500 figures.

The right tympanum depicts the Nativity and the Magi.

The left tympanum shows the Crucifixion.

Saint-Theobald collegiate church Thann 16 copyright French Moments
The doors of the great portal © French Moments
Saint-Theobald collegiate church Thann 16 copyright French Moments
The tympanum of the portal © French Moments

Towering 78 metres above the town, the elegant spire is a fine example of tracery from the Middle-Ages similar to that of Basel Cathedral. The bell tower contains an old bell from 1467 and two others from 1826.

Saint-Theobald collegiate church Thann 16 copyright French Moments
The spire © French Moments
Saint-Theobald collegiate church Thann 16 copyright French Moments
Detail of the spire © French Moments

The multicolour glazed roof tiles of the church which gleam in the sun is reminiscent of that of Colmar’s Collegiate. It is decorated with statues of Saints, gargoyles and chimeras.

Saint-Theobald collegiate church Thann 16 copyright French Moments
The roof © French Moments
Saint-Theobald collegiate church Thann 16 copyright French Moments
Part of the glazed roof © French Moments

Interior of the Collegiate Church

Saint-Theobald collegiate church Thann 16 copyright French Moments
Inside the church © French Moments

The inside of the church shows characteristics of Early, Rayonnant and Flamboyant Gothic styles.

The nave is 23 metre long and 22 metre high. The pulpit dates back to 1629.

Saint-Theobald collegiate church Thann 16 copyright French Moments
The choir © French Moments

The choir is the most decorated part of the church with stained-glass windows from the 15th century and Baroque paintings. It also features remarkable wooden stalls carved in oak and walnut from 1442 (and renovated in 1902-1906).

Saint-Theobald collegiate church Thann 16 copyright French Moments
The stalls © French Moments
Saint-Theobald collegiate church Thann 16 copyright French Moments
The stalls © French Moments
Saint-Theobald collegiate church Thann 16 copyright French Moments
Little statue of the stalls © French Moments
Saint-Theobald collegiate church Thann 16 copyright French Moments
Statue of the stalls © French Moments
Saint-Theobald collegiate church Thann 16 copyright French Moments
The stalls © French Moments

The stained-glass windows are the largest set kept in Alsace from the 15th century. They are spread in the choir over 8 windows.

Saint-Theobald collegiate church Thann 16 copyright French Moments
Stained-glass windows © French Moments

Read more about the region of Alsace.

About the author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management. Pierre is the author of the Discovery Course on the Secrets of the Eiffel Tower and the Christmas book "Voyage au Pays de Noël".

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