Liège Cathedral, otherwise St. Paul's Cathedral, is the seat of the Diocese of Liège. During the French Revolution the ancient cathedral of Liège, St. Lambert's Cathedral, was destroyed systematically, from 1794 onwards. After the revolutionary fervour had evaporated a new cathedral was needed. The ancient collegiate church of St. Paul's was thought suitable for the purpose and was elevated in rank, before 1812. This is the present Liège Cathedral.
The present cathedral of Liège was originally one among the seven collegiate churches of the city. It was founded in the 10th century, reconstructed between the 13th and 15th centuries, and restored in the mid-19th century. In 1812, further to a request from Napoléon Bonaparte, the tower, with its ogival windows, was raised by a storey and the belltower installed.
The apse, constructed in the 14th century in the Rayonnant style, is pentagonal. The choir, the transept, the main nave and the side naves date from the 13th century and have all the characteristics of Gothic architecture of that period. Later Gothic architecture occurs in the windows of the transept and of the nave, the side chapels and the tower. The upper gallery is modern, as is the storey with the ogival windows and the spire of the belltower.References:
The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.
Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.
The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.
As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).