Cathedrals in France

Lodève Cathedral

Originally Lodève Cathedral was dedicated to Saint Genesius of Arles, who was a martyr of the Diocletian persecution, and was beheaded in 303 (his martyrdom is represented on the keystone of the vault of the apse). Since 1410 the cathedral has been dedicated to Saint Fulcran, who as bishop of Lodève restored the cathedral in the 10th century. Some traces of previous buildings are preserved in the crypt. The first cathe ...
Founded: c. 1265 | Location: Lodève, France

Agen Cathedral

Agen Cathedral's (Cathédrale Saint-Caprais d'Agen) visible structure dates back to the 12th century. It was built as a collegiate church of canons dedicated to Saint Caprasius, on the foundations of a basilica sacked by the Normans in 853 but thereafter restored. Sacked again in December 1561 during the Wars of Religion, by two years after the countrywide coup d'état that took place in 1789, the cathedral had come to s ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Agen, France

Aire Cathedral

Aire Cathedral, dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, is located in the town of Aire-sur-l"Adour. It was the seat of the Bishops of Aire until the diocese was abolished in 1801 and again from 1822 when the diocese was restored; in 1857 it was renamed the Diocese of Aire and Dax. In 1933 the bishop moved to Dax, making Dax Cathedral his seat, when the cathedral at Aire became a co-cathedral. The cathedral is s ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Aire-sur-l'Adour, France

Pontoise Cathedral

Pontoise Cathedral, raised to the status of cathedral in 1966 when the Diocese of Pontoise was created, is dedicated to Saint Maclovius (Maclou). Construction began in the 12th century on the site of an ancient chapel of Saint Eustace and the building was enlarged and completed in the 15th and 16th centuries. Thus the central and eastern parts of the cathedral are 12th century, while the tower and the central portal are i ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Pontoise, France

Cambrai Cathedral

Cambrai Cathedral was built between 1696 and 1703 on the site of a former 11th century building, as the church of the Abbey of St-Sulpice. During the French Revolution the old cathedral of Cambrai was destroyed, but the abbey church survived because it was used as a Temple of Reason. When the ecclesiastical status of Cambrai was restored in 1802, albeit as a diocese rather than as an archdiocese, which it had previously b ...
Founded: 1696-1703 | Location: Cambrai, France

Laval Cathedral

Laval Cathedral (Cathédrale de la Sainte-Trinité de Laval) was founded around 1070, but the current exterior dates mainly from 1855 when it was promoted as a cathedral. The cathedral has been enlarged several times during centuries. There were originally dozen altarpieces, but only one survived from the French Revolution. It was built in the 17th century. The pulpit was made in 1803 and marble font in 1554.
Founded: c. 1070 | Location: Laval, France

Maguelone Cathedral

Maguelone Cathedral stands on an isthmus between the Étang de l'Arnel lake and the Mediterranean Sea in the Gulf of Lion, which was once the site of the original city of Maguelone, opposite the present-day town of Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone. Maguelone Cathedral was once the episcopal seat of the former Bishop of Maguelone until 1563, when the see was transferred to the newly created Bishopric of Montpellier. The cathedr ...
Founded: 1030-1060 | Location: Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone, France

Sospel Cathedral

Sospel Cathedral formerly the seat of the schismatic Bishopric of Sospel, created in 1378. Apart from a belltower of either the 11th or the 13th century, from the Lombard period of Sospel"s history, the cathedral was built between 1642 and 1762, and is claimed to be the largest building in the Alpes-Maritimes. The Renaissance façade is from 1642, and contains in two niches the statues of the town"s prote ...
Founded: 1642-1762 | Location: Sospel, France

Tarbes Cathedral

Tarbes Cathedral was established during the 12th century. There remain two apses of the choir. A first extension was made in the 14th century by the addition of a Gothic nave. Its extension extended until the 18th century with the outer span. The cathedral resembles a fortress as it was built with round pebbles from the river Adour which have also been used for the construction of many houses in Tarbes. It can accommod ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Tarbes, France

Cervione Cathedral

Saint Erasmus cathedral in Cervione, which was completed in 1745, and is an fine example of the Baroque style. It was built on the site of previous cathedral, dating from 1578. 
Founded: 1714-1745 | Location: Cervione, France

Éauze Cathedral

Eauze former cathedral is a national monument. It was the ecclesiastical seat of the former Diocese of Eauze, which was merged into the Bishopric of Auch, probably in the 9th century. Eauze Cathedral is dedicated to Saint Luperculus, who is said to have been a bishop here in the 3rd century before being martyred. Odon, Count of Fezensac, founded a Benedictine monastery on this site After 960 AD. In 1088, the m ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Eauze, France

Alès Cathedral

Alès was formerly a centre of the Huguenots and was taken only after a long siege by Louis XIII in 1627. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Alès was established here in 1694, at which time the construction of the cathedral began, but was not restored after the French Revolution: by the Concordat of 1801 its parishes were divided between the dioceses of Avignon and Mende. Alès and its cathedral lie near th ...
Founded: 1694 | Location: Alès, France

Saint-Pons-de-Thomières Cathedral

Saint-Pons-de-Thomières Cathedral was formerly the seat of the Bishopric of Saint-Pons, founded like a number of bishoprics in the region in the aftermath of the suppression of the Albigensians. By a Papal bull dated 18 February 1318, Pope John XXII created the see by elevating the abbey of Saint-Pons, which had been here since its foundation in 936 by Raymond, Count of Toulouse. The bishopric was abolished by the Concor ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Saint-Pons-de-Thomières, France

Rieux Cathedral

Rieux Cathedral was the seat of the Ancien Régime diocese of Rieux, created in 1317 and dissolved in 1790. The cathedral was built on the site of 13th century church and contains defensive elements from the old fortified church. Its 43 meters high octagonal tower is built in Toulouse style.
Founded: 1317 | Location: Rieux-Volvestre, France

Montauban Cathedral

Montauban Cathedral is the seat of the Bishopric of Montauban, created in 1317, abolished by the Concordat of 1801 and transferred to the Archdiocese of Toulouse, and restored in 1822. The cathedral was Protestant from the start of the Wars of Religion until Catholicism returned to Montauban in 1629. The construction of a new church, the present building, was agreed after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. T ...
Founded: 1692 | Location: Montauban, France

Aleth Cathedral Ruins

Aleth was a Gallo-Roman settlement on a peninsula on one side of the Rance estuary. The bishopric was established in the 9th century. Aleth Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-Pierre d"Aleth) was destroyed by Norman invaders in the 10th century but later rebuilt. The site of Aleth however was not a secure one and the town of Saint-Malo had begun to grow up on a far more defensible site on a rocky islet in the estuary ...
Founded: 920 AD | Location: Saint-Malo, France

Lombez Cathedral

Lombez Cathedral is a brick church with an ornate pink-and-white five-tiered octagonal bell tower constructed c. 1346. A plaque to the right of the plain west entrance records the visit of the Italian poet Petrarch in 1330, arranged by the bishop, Jacques Colonna (1328–41), also of Italian extraction, who made Petrarch an honorary canon in 1335. The typical blank west façade of meridional Gothic is relieved only by ...
Founded: c. 1346 | Location: Lombez, France

Pamiers Cathedral

Pamiers Cathedral is dedicated to Antoninus of Pamiers. The oldest part is the entrance dating from the 12th century with some carved capital stones depicting biblical characters. The remainder of the cathedral is more recent having been reconstructed and modified over the centuries - for example, the outer part of the entrance (the stone arches) and the belltower were added in the 14th century, the main body of the cathe ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Pamiers, France

Choisy Cathedral

Choisy Cathedral, otherwise known as the Church of St. Louis and St. Nicholas, was the first cathedral of the diocese of Créteil, from 1966, when the diocese was created, to 1987, when the present Créteil Cathedral was inaugurated. The church was built by the architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel under commission from Louis XV to provide a suitable place of worship for the court when the king was staying at his ne ...
Founded: 1748-1760 | Location: Choisy-le-Roi, France

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Broch of Gurness

The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.

The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.

The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.

The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.

Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.

At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.

In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.