Dax Cathedral

Dax, France

Dax Cathedral has been the the bishop's seat officially since 1833 when it was transferred from Aire Cathedral. In the late 13th century, when the town of Dax was at the height of its prosperity, the bishops had a number of ecclesiastical buildings constructed, among which was a new cathedral on the site of an ancient Romanesque sanctuary which had become too cramped. This Gothic structure collapsed in 1646; all that remains of it is the magnificent Portal of the Apostles in the north transept: 12 metres high and 8 metres wide, this doorway contains a quantity of beautiful sculptures, fairly rare in the south of France, despite some mutilations and damage incurred during the passage of time.

Apart from the portal, which was classed as a national monument of France in its own right in 1884, the present cathedral was built from 1694 onwards in a plain style of classical inspiration. The main façade and south elevation have a massive, almost austere, appearance. The north elevation however, which looks onto a small square in the historical centre of the town, does not lack charm, despite a certain rigidity.

The dome over the crossing is decorated with murals. The quire houses the old stalls (16th century) of the canons, saved from the former cathedral. The mid-18th century high altar and the altar of the Virgin Mary are of polychromatic marble and are the work of the Mazzetti brothers, originally from Switzerland but resident in Avignon. The organ loft, of the late 17th century, was the work of Caular, a local ebonist. After its recent restoration this organ loft is considered one of the most beautiful in France.

The building also contains a number of paintings, among them 'Jesus and His Disciples' by Gerrit van Honthorst (17th century), and the 'Adoration of the Shepherds' by Hans von Aachen (late 16th century).



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Founded: 13th century
Category: Religious sites in France
Historical period: Late Capetians (France)

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Laurent Ponthieux (8 months ago)
Very spiritual place and majestic cathedral with all these stained glass windows and statue of Christianity. To visit when you go through Dax. A guided tour takes place on Thursday
Darren Bingham (9 months ago)
Beautiful space, with fantastic fresco work inside.
Cecilia Dubus (13 months ago)
A pleasure to visit this cathedral which is truly very beautiful, both inside and outside. It is grandiose with its architecture and stained glass windows.
Garga MELLE (3 years ago)
Jolie cathédrale mais juste un defaut: les cloches qui donnent des 7 heures du matin toute la semaine, en réveillant tout le quartier. Impossible de faire la grasse matinée. Beaucoup de concerts le soir.
Diane Paredes (3 years ago)
To see, very beautiful cathedral with a stone portico at the left end of the altar which is breathtaking and which recalls the architecture of Notre Dame in Paris.
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