Vienne Cathedral

Vienne, France

Vienne Cathedral, dedicated to Saint Maurice, was the epicopal see of the primate of the ancient Septem Provinciae and of the Archdiocese of Vienne until its abolition confirmed by the Concordat of 1801. It today serves as co-cathedral of the Diocese of Grenoble-Vienne. The present-day building was erected from 1130 onwards.

Mentioned as the burial place of the Burgundian king Boso of Provence in 887, no traces are left from the former church buildings at the site. Construction works at Vienne Cathedral are documented under the tenure of Archbishop Léger from 1030 to 1070.

The construction of the preserved church was begun in a Late Romanesque style about 1130. Built over a long period, Gothic modifications and extensions were carried out until its consecration by Pope Innocent IV on 20 April 1251. From 1311, Pope Clement V convened the Council of Vienne, where the clergy resolved upon the dissolution of the Knights Templar. The facade was added in the 16th century, with the capstone ceremony held in 1529.

The present-day building is a basilica, with three aisles and an apse, but no ambulatory or transepts. The most striking portion is the west front, which rises majestically from a terrace overhanging the Rhône. However, the sculptural decoration was badly damaged by plundering Huguenot forces under Baron François de Beaumont in 1562, during the French Wars of Religion.

In the wake of the French Revolution, the Vienne archdiocese was dissolved and the former cathedral became a plain parish church, while the surrounding premises temporarily served as barns or barracks and eventually were demolished.



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Rue Calixte 2 8, Vienne, France
See all sites in Vienne


Founded: 1130
Category: Religious sites in France
Historical period: Birth of Capetian dynasty (France)

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Claudia Provenzano (30 days ago)
A beautiful cathedral to visit. Worth a stop to look at this splendour.
Doug Neilson (7 months ago)
Cattherdal in Vienne. Somewhat more plain than standard. Much stained glass was lost in 18th Cent. But still much of interest.
Mo Al Obaidi (2 years ago)
Beautiful design and quiet
Aaron Mosby (2 years ago)
Beautiful cathedral. Quiet and peaceful.
Antoine M (4 years ago)
This is one stupendously magnificent church in Vienne. I entered from Place Saint-Maurice with staircase leading up to the main façades (which according to its history, is the newest part of the cathédrale, 14th to 16th century built) with two tall towers, large bay with stunning roses and lancets and richly decorated flamboyant style three portals. Inside is just unbelievably massive in size with three vessels with no transepts, three floors with huge arches, triforium (interior gallery) and tall windows. It's richly decorated with historical work of art especially the five Flemish tapestries and the Mausoleum of the Archbishops of Vienne, Armand de Montmorin and Henri-Oswald. This cathédrale deserves a really thorough exploring as there's so much to explore and experience. There's a wheelchair accessible entrance on the other side entrance. Great place for all ages and backgrounds.
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