Bayonne Cathedral

Bayonne, France

The Cathedral of Saint Mary of Bayonne is the seat of the former Bishops of Bayonne, now the Bishops of Bayonne, Lescar, and Oloron. The cathedral is in the Gothic architectural tradition.

The site was previously occupied by a Romanesque cathedral that was destroyed by two fires in 1258 and 1310. Construction of the present cathedral began in the 13th century and was completed at the beginning of the 17th, except for the two spires which were not finished until the 19th century. The structure has been much restored and refurbished, notably by Émile Boeswildwald, architect to the French government in the 19th century, and a pupil of Eugène Viollet-le-Duc.

The cathedral stands on the Pilgrimage Way of Santiago de Compostela.

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Details

Founded: 13th century
Category: Religious sites in France
Historical period: Late Capetians (France)

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Paulo Henrique (2 years ago)
Fantastic chappels polychrome a visiter absolutely. Also have look outside on the top entrance and discover the Pietà, the Virgin with Christ in her arms. Very unsual but splendid to see this detail.
sergioqueber07 (2 years ago)
Impressive cathedral although if you want to see the inside you better be there before 6:30 pm
Alex Bechtle (2 years ago)
Beautiful little cathedral in the middle of bayonne
Joe Rice (2 years ago)
Truly the Notre Dame de Bayonne! The church is massive and very old with an interior that is well taken care of and preserved. Located on a hill it also allows for some pretty good views of the rest of Bayonne.
Chris Gray (3 years ago)
Was a bit if a wait for food, slow service but amazing crepes! A popular spot next to the cathedral. Be sure to check it out as it's just next door and worth a visit. Overall recommend but would it pay to reserve a tablet in the busy summer period. The staff do speak Spanish and English also.
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The Church of St Eustace was built between 1532-1632. St Eustace"s is considered a masterpiece of late Gothic architecture. The church’s reputation was strong enough of the time for it to be chosen as the location for a young Louis XIV to receive communion. Mozart also chose the sanctuary as the location for his mother’s funeral. Among those baptised here as children were Richelieu, Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, future Madame de Pompadour and Molière, who was also married here in the 17th century. The last rites for Anne of Austria, Turenne and Mirabeau were pronounced within its walls. Marie de Gournay is buried there.

The origins of Saint Eustache date back to 13th century. The church became a parish church in 1223, thanks to a man named Jean Alais who achieved this by taxing the baskets of fish sold nearby, as granted by King Philip Augustus. To thank such divine generosity, Alais constructed a chapel dedicated to Sainte-Agnès, a Roman martyr. The construction of the current church began in 1532, the work not being finally completed until 1637. The name of the church refers to Saint Eustace, a Roman general of the second century AD who was burned, along with his family, for converting to Christianity, and it is believed that it was the transfer of a relic of Saint Eustache from the Abbey to Saint-Denis to the Church of Saint Eustache which resulted in its naming. Jeanne Baptiste d"Albert de Luynes was baptised here.

According to tourist literature on-site, during the French Revolution the church, like most churches in Paris, was desecrated, looted, and used for a time as a barn. The church was restored after the Revolution had run its course and remains in use today. Several impressive paintings by Rubens remain in the church today. Each summer, organ concerts commemorate the premieres of Berlioz’s Te Deum and Liszt’s Christus here in 1886.

The church is an example of a Gothic structure clothed in Renaissance detail. The church is relatively short in length at 105m, but its interior is 33.45m high to the vaulting. At the main façade, the left tower has been completed in Renaissance style, while the right tower remains a stump. The front and rear aspects provide a remarkable contrast between the comparatively sober classical front and the exuberant rear, which integrates Gothic forms and organization with Classical details. The L"écoute sculpture by Henri de Miller appears outside the church, to the south. A Keith Haring sculpture stands in a chapel of the church.

The Chapel of the Virgin was built in 1640 and restored from 1801 to 1804. It was inaugurated by Pius VII on the 22nd of December, 1804 when he came to Paris for the coronation of Napoleon. The apse chapel, with a ribbed cul-de-four vault, has at its centre a sculpture of the Virgin and Child of Jean-Baptiste Pigalle that the painter Thomas Couture highlighted by three large paintings.

With 8,000 pipes, the organ is reputed to be the largest pipe organ in France, surpassing the organs of Saint Sulpice and Notre Dame de Paris. The organ originally constructed by P.-A. Ducroquet was powerful enough for the premiere of Hector Berlioz" titanic Te Deum to be performed at St-Eustache in 1855.