HISTORICAL WALK OF BASTIDE* NEUVE
THE PARISH CHURCH OF IMMACULATE CONCEPTION*
In the 1820s the local councillors thought it was time to have a new, larger and more imposing parish church built instead of the old Sainte Quitterie church. After 30 years of dithering the foundation stone was laid in 1854. It was built according to the plans of H. Duran, the diocese architect who also built Lourdes basilica. It was consecrated in 1862 and dedicated to the Immaculate Conception.
It was built in neo-gothic style and local stones from Couloumé-Mondebat were used. It was decided to have it built to the south of « New Square », with a view to improving the new urban space built a few years before.
Sainte Quitterie and Saint Nicolas churches disappeared in the 19th century, but the new parish church inherited from them both. This architectural and spiritual heritage was represented in two stained glass windows representing the two patron saints of the parish. The spire was erected after 1870 with the stones of Sainte Quitterie church.
After Vatican Council II in the sixties, much of the Second Empire* furniture disappeared in strict obedience to the new instructions. However a few elements of the old decoration can still be seen. All the stained glass windows, all of them come from workshops in Toulouse. Those in the nave, by Gesta, describe the litanies of the Blessed Virgin while those in the aisles, by Bordieu, represent the major saints of the church. The carved decoration of the pillars was added after 1888. It has been remarkably studied by the current priest of the parish, abbé Sulina. You will find a description of the pillars and stained glass windows on a descriptive sheet available at the entrance of the church. Elements of the present decoration come from the old Sainte Quitterie church, such as the 15th century « culot » representing an angel carrying a shield which you will find in the Blessed Sacrament chapel. Then there the Madonna and child in gilded wood and the large painting entitled Resurrection by A.Magenc , a local artist (1852).
On each side of the baptismal font you can see two marble capitals originally in the 14th century cloister of la Case-Dieu abbey co-founder of Plaisance. Last but not least, look at the imposing contemporary alter-piece organ by organ builder D.Birouste. It was inaugurated and consecrated in 1988 by Auch archbishop. Throughout the 1990s famous Spanish and French organists gave concerts in the church. A sheet which you will find inside the church will tell you more about the organ if you are interested.
bastide : walled town in the South West of France
Immaculate Conception˜ Holy Virgin