Auxerre Cathedral is known for its expansive stained glass windows. Most of the Burgundian Gothic cathedral was built between 1215 and 1233 above an 11th-century crypt. Construction continued until the 1540s when the cupola, in Renaissance style that takes the place of one pinnacle on the completed tower, was completed. The first building campaign erected the chevet at the liturgical east end, followed later in the century by a new façade and the bases of new towers at the west end (still linked to the apse end by the nave of the old cathedral). Construction on the nave and transepts proceeded slowly throughout the 14th and 15th centuries.
The narrative sculptural program of the portals on the west end are noted for their extent and variety. Guillaume de Seignelay, bishop of Auxerre decided to undertake the reconstruction of the older edifice about 1215, to which he set an example by contributing heavily and consistently from his own resources, and even bequeathed funds after his transfer to the see of Paris in 1220. The chevet was completed by his successor, Henri de Villeneuve (1220–34).
Stimulus was provided about 1270 by Jean de Châlons-Rochefort, who had recently become Count of Auxerre, having supported the Duke of Burgundy against his own brother, by marrying Alix, the heiress of Auxerre. He was the largest fief-holder in the Duchy and commemorated the new status of his fief of Auxerre by enriching the front of its chief ornament, the cathedral, whose Carolingian nave had been erected by his ancestor Hugh de Châlons, 10th-century bishop of Auxerre. Its program of sculpture was carried through long after his death and completed in the early 15th century.References:
The Château de Foix dominates the town of Foix. An important tourist site, it is known as a centre of the Cathars. Built on an older 7th-century fortification, the castle is known from 987. In 1002, it was mentioned in the will of Roger I, Count of Carcassonne, who bequeathed the fortress to his youngest child, Bernard. In effect, the family ruling over the region were installed here which allowed them to control access to the upper Ariège valley and to keep surveillance from this strategic point over the lower land, protected behind impregnable walls.
In 1034, the castle became capital of the County of Foix and played a decisive role in medieval military history. During the two following centuries, the castle was home to Counts with shining personalities who became the soul of the Occitan resistance during the crusade against the Albigensians. The county became a privileged refuge for persecuted Cathars.
The castle, often besieged (notably by Simon de Montfort in 1211 and 1212), resisted assault and was only taken once, in 1486, thanks to treachery during the war between two branches of the Foix family.
From the 14th century, the Counts of Foix spent less and less time in the uncomfortable castle, preferring the Governors' Palace. From 1479, the Counts of Foix became Kings of Navarre and the last of them, made Henri IV of France, annexed his Pyrrenean lands to France.
As seat of the Governor of the Foix region from the 15th century, the castle continued to ensure the defence of the area, notably during the Wars of Religion. Alone of all the castles in the region, it was exempted from the destruction orders of Richelieu (1632-1638).
Until the Revolution, the fortress remained a garrison. Its life was brightened with grand receptions for its governors, including the Count of Tréville, captain of musketeers under Louis XIII and Marshal Philippe Henri de Ségur, one of Louis XVI's ministers. The Round Tower, built in the 15th century, is the most recent, the two square towers having been built before the 11th century. They served as a political and civil prison for four centuries until 1862.
Since 1930, the castle has housed the collections of the Ariège départemental museum. Sections on prehistory, Gallo-Roman and mediaeval archaeology tell the history of Ariège from ancient times. Currently, the museum is rearranging exhibits to concentrate on the history of the castle site so as to recreate the life of Foix at the time of the Counts.