Châlons-en-Champagne, France

The Notre-Dame-en-Vaux in Châlons-en-Champagne. The cathedral is a major masterpiece in Marne. With its spires, visible from dozens of kilometres away, it is one of the most amazing monuments in Châlons’ rich heritage. The church is registered on the World Heritage List by UNESCO under the title of 'roads to St Jacques de Compostela in France'.

Originally located outside the city walls, Notre-Dame-en-Vaux was built on a swampy area where three rivers converged, of which only the Mau remains. It was not brought inside the city walls until the 13th century. The first chapel was built in the 9th century, the church was subsequently built and occupied by a community of canons in 1114 who lived together “in college”, hence its status as a collegiate church. 

Only the lower level of the transept and the towers of the chevet remain from this period. The rest of the building underwent reconstruction until 1217, in a so-called transitional style (leading to the Gothic period). It was at this point that Notre-Dame became an important pilgrimage destination. The chancel and the ambulatory with three stunning chapels, the first level of the transept and the nave with seven bays date from this period. The south porch, in a flamboyant Gothic style, was completed in 1469.

The collegiate church suffered greatly during the French Revolution and in the decades that followed. It was even transformed into a horse arena and then into stables, and was later invaded by the coalition armies. Throughout the 19th century, the celebrated architect, Lassus, and the Champenois abbot sought to restore the medieval architecture of Notre-Dame-en-Vaux. They had a second spire reconstructed on the façade. In addition, they restored an organ and some stained-glass windows in a Gothic style. They also repaved the ground with ancient tombstones and commissioned the Châlons artist Gustave Moriamé to design the neo-Gothic high altar.



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Founded: 1157-1217
Category: Religious sites in France
Historical period: Birth of Capetian dynasty (France)

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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Andoni Crouspeyre (18 months ago)
Baoli Liu (4 years ago)
We accidentally passed by this church without knowledge about it, but were immediately attracted by its magnificent architecture.
Ann Davis (4 years ago)
Beautiful church. Amazing stained glass and stonework. Very peaceful place.
Escobaria Gracilis (6 years ago)
Very beautiful church in Chalons.. The architecture is remarkable and I'm glad that the church is inscribed in the list of world Heritage sites. The square around the church is also very attractive.
Michał Podkański (6 years ago)
Nice :)
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