Angers Cathedral

Angers, France

Angers Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-Maurice d'Angers) was constructed in the 12th and 13th centuries on the orders of bishops Normand de Doué and Guillaume de Beaumont after the original building burnt down in 1032. The original Romanesque church was rebuilt with Gothic details in the mid 12th century. The single-aisle plan was vaulted with pointed arches resting on a re-clad interior elevation. The nave consists of three simple bays, with single bays on either side of a crossing forming transepts, followed by a single-bay choir, backed by an apse.

The striking west front is exceptionally narrow and tall. The lowest level dates from c.1170, the twin towers (70m and 77m high) date from the 15th century and the central tower was added in the 16th century. At the base of the central tower are sculptures of St Maurice and his companions, with a prayer for peace above.

The high altar is Baroque (1758), designed by Henri Gervais. Six monolithic columns support the canopy. Legend has it that Gervais was carried to it while he was dying, so he could give last instructions on its design. The enormous wooden pulpit dates from 1855 and was designed by a priest named Choyer. Its carvings illustrate the theme of the Word of God, with Moses on the left side and St John receiving his revelation on the right.

The treasury, housed in a spacious room off the north aisle, contains some fine medieval croziers and other religious objects. The transept's stained glass window of Saint Julian is considered a masterpiece of French 13th century glass work.

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Address

Place Freppel 1, Angers, France
See all sites in Angers

Details

Founded: 12th-13th centuries
Category: Religious sites in France
Historical period: Birth of Capetian dynasty (France)

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

François Guerraz (5 months ago)
Classic mid-size French cathedral
Joe Cabello (5 months ago)
Amazing place to visit.
Norbert Lovas (10 months ago)
Beautiful cathedral. Nothing to comment, i recommend to have it on your list.
Carbo Kuo (12 months ago)
This is the most beautiful place to visit in Angers.
Ramey Salem (2 years ago)
Unique and fits perfectly for Angers Everything is this city is harmonic, a great religious place that you feel the greatness of peace, love and faith when you are inside. Lots of history like all other Cathedrals in France, in a huge simplified presentation. God Bless.
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Limburg Cathedral

The Cathedral of Limburg is one of the best preserved late Romanesque style buildings. It is unknown When the first church was built above the Lahn river. Archaeological discoveries have revealed traces of a 9th-century church building in the area of the current chapel. It was probably built in Merovingian times as a castle and the chapel added in the early 9th century.

In 910 AD, Count Konrad Kurzbold (cousin of the future King Konrad I) founded a collegiate chapter of 18 canons, who lived according to the rule of Bishop Chrodegang of Metz, on the hilltop site. The original castle chapel was torn down and a three-aisled basilica was built in its place. The foundations of this basilica have been found beneath the present floor.

The construction of current cathedral is dated to 1180-90. The consecration was performed in 1235 by the archbishop of Trier. It seems certain that the cathedral was built in four stages. The first stage encompassed the west facade, the south side aisle, the choir and the transept up to the matroneum. This section forms the Conradine church. The second stage consisted of the addition of the inner pillars of the south nave. In this stage the bound system was first introduced. In the third phase, the matroneum in the southern nave was built. The fourth stage included the north side of the transept and the choir matroneum. By this stage Gothic influence is very clear.

The interior was destroyed by Swedish soldiers during the Thirty Years War (1618-48) and reconstructed in a late Baroque style in 1749. The Baroque renovation was heavy-handed: the surviving medieval stained glass windows were replaced; all the murals were covered up; the ribs of the vaults and columns of the arcades were painted blue and red; the capstones were gilded; the original high altar was replaced. The colorfully painted exterior was coated in plain white and the central tower was extended by 6.5 meters.

The collegiate chapter of Limburg was dissolved in 1803 during the Napoleonic period, but then raised to the rank of cathedral in 1827 when the bishopric of Limburg was founded. Some renovations in contemporary style followed: the walls were coated white, the windows were redone in blue and orange (the heraldic colors of the Duke of Nassau) and towers were added to the south transept (1865).

Further changes came after Limburg was incorporated into the Kingdom of Prussia in 1866. It was now the Romantic period and the cathedral was accordingly restored to an idealized vision of its original Romanesque appearance. The exterior stonework was stripped of all its plaster and paint, to better conform with the Romantic ideal of a medieval church growing out of the rock. The Baroque interior was stripped away and the wall paintings were uncovered and repainted.

Further renovations came in 1934-35, enlightened by better knowledge of the original art and architecture. Art Nouveau stained glass windows were also added. A major restoration in 1965-90 included replastering and painting the exterior, both to restore it to its original appearance and to protect the stonework, which was rapidly deteriorating while exposed to the elements.

The interior is covered in medieval frescoes dating from 1220 to 1235. They are magnificent and important survivals, but time has not been terribly kind to them - they were whitewashed over in the Baroque period (1749) and uncovered and repainted with a heavy hand in the Romantic period (1870s) before finally being restored more sensitively in the 1980s.