Bordeaux Cathedral, officially known as the Primatial Cathedral of St Andrew of Bordeaux, is is the seat of the Archbishop of Bordeaux.
A church of Saint-André was first mentioned in Bordeaux in 814. It appears more officially in 1096 when it was formally consecrated by Pope Pope Urban II. In the 11th and 12th centuries, The Romanesque church was engaged in long competition with its neighbouring church, Saint Sevrinus of Bordeaux, to attract pilgrims taking part in the Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.
The Romanesque church had been begun sometime before 1170, atop masonry from the earlier Carolingian church. However, at the beginning of the 13th century it was decided to continue building the cathedral following the new Gothic style that had appeared at the end of the 12th century in the Ile-de-France. The old sanctuary was gradually demolished. Of the original Romanesque church, only a wall in the nave remains.
The transformation from Romanesque to the French Gothic architecture took place during a long period when Aquitaine and Bordeaux were under the control of the English. The choir of the new cathedral was still under construction in 1320, when Bertrand Deschamps became the master builder. Construction of the nave was greatly delayed by the outbreak of the Hundred Years' War in 1337 between England and the Valois kings of the Kingdom of France. The construction of the bell tower, separate from the main building, began in 1440, but was not finished until 1500. Following an earthquake in 1427 that caused the collapse of parts of the city ramparts, flying buttresses were added to the outside of the nave under master builder Imbert Boachon.
Between 1772 and 1784, under Cardinal de Rohan, the archbishop proposed giving the archbishop's palace classical facade. A fire in 1787 caused serious damage to the roof of the choir and transept.
During the French Revolution, the furniture and much of the decoration of the cathedral was removed or vandalised. A portion of the exterior sculpture, on the north side, was hidden by the neighbouring buildings, and was spared. In March 1793 the building was officially nationalised, and transformed into a storage barn for the feed of military horses. The nave was used in 1797 for political meetings and patriotic assemblies. The tower was threatened with destruction, and most of the furniture was gone when the building was finally returned to the church in 1798.
A long series of renovations and reconstructions began in 1803 and continued until the 20th century.References:
The Château de Foix dominates the town of Foix. An important tourist site, it is known as a centre of the Cathars. Built on an older 7th-century fortification, the castle is known from 987. In 1002, it was mentioned in the will of Roger I, Count of Carcassonne, who bequeathed the fortress to his youngest child, Bernard. In effect, the family ruling over the region were installed here which allowed them to control access to the upper Ariège valley and to keep surveillance from this strategic point over the lower land, protected behind impregnable walls.
In 1034, the castle became capital of the County of Foix and played a decisive role in medieval military history. During the two following centuries, the castle was home to Counts with shining personalities who became the soul of the Occitan resistance during the crusade against the Albigensians. The county became a privileged refuge for persecuted Cathars.
The castle, often besieged (notably by Simon de Montfort in 1211 and 1212), resisted assault and was only taken once, in 1486, thanks to treachery during the war between two branches of the Foix family.
From the 14th century, the Counts of Foix spent less and less time in the uncomfortable castle, preferring the Governors' Palace. From 1479, the Counts of Foix became Kings of Navarre and the last of them, made Henri IV of France, annexed his Pyrrenean lands to France.
As seat of the Governor of the Foix region from the 15th century, the castle continued to ensure the defence of the area, notably during the Wars of Religion. Alone of all the castles in the region, it was exempted from the destruction orders of Richelieu (1632-1638).
Until the Revolution, the fortress remained a garrison. Its life was brightened with grand receptions for its governors, including the Count of Tréville, captain of musketeers under Louis XIII and Marshal Philippe Henri de Ségur, one of Louis XVI's ministers. The Round Tower, built in the 15th century, is the most recent, the two square towers having been built before the 11th century. They served as a political and civil prison for four centuries until 1862.
Since 1930, the castle has housed the collections of the Ariège départemental museum. Sections on prehistory, Gallo-Roman and mediaeval archaeology tell the history of Ariège from ancient times. Currently, the museum is rearranging exhibits to concentrate on the history of the castle site so as to recreate the life of Foix at the time of the Counts.