Bordeaux Cathedral

Bordeaux, France

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.



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Founded: 1096
Category: Religious sites in France
Historical period: Birth of Capetian dynasty (France)


4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Aliya Boran (3 months ago)
If you love history, France ?? and architecture then this is the place for you to visit
Chaitanya Sunkara (5 months ago)
Spectacular architecture and design. A must visit place
Alan Whiteside (7 months ago)
What a magnificent building! So much history contained within its walls. They had a small radio playing and we forget how absolutely phenomenal the acoustics are in these buildings. Highly recommended to visit.
domy constans (13 months ago)
Go inside, it is impressive too
Ferenc Németh (19 months ago)
Early spring, sunshine, cathedral outlined against blue and white sky. You can't feel more awed. Breathtaking structure with a long, long history. Makes you sit and think....
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