The murder last Sunday of a Catholic priest in the Vendée, south of Nantes, has got me thinking about the present state of what was for centuries known as the fille aînée de l’Église, the First Daughter of the Church. I was looking across from the newly-built terrasse of Les Marronniers, one of our local cafés, towards the gigantic pile that is the Église Saint-Laurent, consecrated in 1892 to replace the more modest Notre Dame de Botmel, these days a picturesque ruin. Serving a town with less than 3,000 inhabitants (down from 5,000 fifty years ago), it is truly vast, reflecting the fact that France at the time was on the up and ready to splash out, even in far-flung Brittany.