Basilica of Saint-Quentin

Saint-Quentin, France

The Basilica of Saint-Quentin is a Catholic church in the town of Saint-Quentin. There have been religious buildings on the site since the 4th century AD, which were repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt during the Early Middle Ages. The present basilica was constructed in stages between the 12th and 15th centuries. It was severely damaged in World War I (1914–18), and was only reopened in 1956 after extensive reconstruction.

The basilica is the largest religious building in Picardy after Amiens Cathedral. It is 133 metres long and 40 metres high. The building has a bold design with flamboyant details. It shows the evolution of the Gothic style during its lengthy construction period. It has a square tower above the transept crossing topped by a slender steeple that was installed in 1983. The entrance to the church dates from the 9th century. It was once part of the Carolingian church, and has been extensively modified. It now has three levels above the semi-circular entrance. There is a chapel dedicated to Saint Michael above the entrance passage. The central section of the building is braced by flying buttresses and by the side aisles. The two transepts, of unequal width, add to the monumental strength of the building. The facade of the north arm is attributed to Gilles Largent, and is notable for its sober composition.

The nave is built to a conventional 12th-century plan with three levels: arcades, triforium and high windows. The great high window is crowned by a magnificent star with five branches. The floor of the nave has an octagonal labyrinth of black and white paving stones from the late 15th century. 

To the east of the main transept there are four straight bays of choir and then a second, narrower transept. The curved structure of the east end extends from this transept. The choir and chevet assembly was probably built between around 1220 to 1257. The double-transept plan is found in the Cluny Abbey church of 1088, but is otherwise very unusual in France. The concept seems to have come from England, where it was becoming popular at the time. The south branch of the small transept was almost ruined in 1460, and was completely rebuilt by Colard Noël in Flamboyant Gothic style. The north branch is mostly the original 13th-century structure, although the windows were remodeled in the 15th century.

The ambulatory has a scalloped eastern wall from which five radiating chapels open. Each chapel is round, with independent dome-like vaulting and is lower than the ambulatory, so a clerestory above the chapels can illuminate the ambulatory. The chapels, built around 1190, are each brightly lit by seven windows. They each open onto the ambulatory through three arches divided by two columns.



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Founded: 1170
Category: Religious sites in France
Historical period: Birth of Capetian dynasty (France)

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User Reviews

Hansje Ravesteijn (2 years ago)
By boot passing by ….. Neautiful
Léopold Chappuis (3 years ago)
a lovely place, not crowded
Pau B (3 years ago)
A very lovely place. We stopped by here out our way back to England to take the Eurostar. Great time to explore for a bit of you've got some time as it's not big but great enough to see!
Alice Shepard (4 years ago)
Very lively area as the garden was given over to entertainment for the children. They all seemed to enjoy the sand, the water and the rides available. Good to see the children having fun.
Ashley Hampton (4 years ago)
Totally amazing, so many different carvings, stone carving at it's very best. Then there are treats if you open your eyes. I was blown away.vunforyunsteky I didn't have long enough, without a doubt a hidden gem, I am not sure if the front facade was done the same when it was remastered, as I haven't researched. If you like architecture then you should see it
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