Robert I, the elected king of West Francia, founded Notre Dame in 1060 as a collegiate church ( one established under two or more pastors, but without a Bishop). Vitre already had been an important entity under both the Merovigian and Carolingian dynasties. So, building a large church that resembled a cathedral here seemed logical. Misconduct by the church’s monks led to its decline, with the result that in 1116, Bishop Marbode of Rennes transferred ownership to the Benedictines.
Between 1480 and 1550, this parish church was totally rebuilt, with funding from rich overseas merchants. The 100 Years War (which had just ended) had caused a lot of destruction within the town, resulting in a massive rebuilding effort.
While Vitre’s Notre Dame has always been a parish church (and never a cathedral), its reconstruction resembled the larger religious edifices throughout France and Europe. In addition to the main altar, there are six chapel altars on the north side of the building and another five chapel altars on the south side. Sitting in the heart of Vitre’s Old Town, Notre Dame is one of the most visited buildings in the area.