Saint-Louis Cathedral at Blois!

And well going back this wonderful region of the Loire valley now comprises of really two regions of the new French Republic. I have come here often and there is still lots to see as in my belle France. I though that I had written apart on it but apparently not, so here is my take on the Cathédrale Saint Louis de Blois!

Saint-Louis Cathedral is located in Blois in the Department of Loir-et-Cher No. 41, Centre-Val-de-Loire region. It is the seat of the bishopric of Blois, erected in 1697 by a bull of Pope Innocent XII.

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A bit of history I like

The Cathedral St Louis is of late Gothic style. Before becoming a cathedral, she was a collegiate and was placed under the patronage of Saint-Solenne. Construction began in the 12C. But apart from a few vestiges in the crypt and the base of the steeple, nothing remains of this church. The façade and tower of the steeple were built from 1544. The nave was destroyed by a hurricane in 1678, and the reconstruction in Gothic style took place between 1680 and 1700.

To celebrate the promotion of the Church to the rank of Cathedral in 1697, king Louis XIV offered the organ buffet in 1704. Since its construction, the current Cathedral has undergone very little transformations. The Notre-Dame Chapel was added in 1860. The American bombing of WWII destroyed most of the Cathedral’s stained glass windows. In 2000, the new stained glass windows were inaugurated as part of a general restoration of the building undertaken since 1985. The new stained glass windows cover thirty-three bays, high and low, and represent a total surface area of more than 360 m2.

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Dating from the middle of the 16C, the façade shows a compromise between the traditional late Gothic style and the beginnings of Classicism. There are medieval elements such as gargoyles, buttresses topped with pinnacles as well as the acute pinion that surmounts the whole, but also classical elements such as the triangular pediment, the medallions in round-hump in the spandrels.  The most remarkable part is the tower-steeple located to the north of the façade and which dominates the whole city. Although its bedrock dates from the 12C, construction began in 1544. The Renaissance style is equipped with ionic and Corinthian columns. The top floor is topped by a dome topped by a lantern built in 1603.  The tower has seven bells.

blois

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A bit more on the description and dates

The Saint Louis Cathedral is composed of a large nave with north and south collateral done between 1680-1700, on which are opened lateral chapels, as well as a choir with its ambulatory. There is no transept. The choir has a five-part apse from the 16-17C. Framing the choir, the ambulatory and its radiant chapels date back to the 19C. In the high windows there are 19C stained glass.  The ambulatory added in the 1860’s with its twisted pillars is a pastiche of the style Louis XII, example of imitation of the styles of the past under the Second Empire.

Blois

After the hurricane of 1678, only the façade, the five-sided apse and the pillars of the choir were reused. For the first time, the sanctuary of a warhead vault was covered.  The church has one very old chapel, dating from the 12C and located on the left under the tower, with a vault of period warheads falling on the capitals of Acanthus leaves. In front of it, on the right side in the first chapel is a marble bas-relief depicting the baptism of Christ and recovered from the tomb of the mother of the King of Poland and Duke of Lorraine Stanislas Leszczynski, who died in Blois. The Saint Louis Cathedral still houses another bas-relief of white marble called memory and meditation, dated 1660. The Clicquot organ buffet was offered by king Louis XIV in 1704.

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The Saint-Solenne Crypt is located under the Cathedral Choir. It was in 1927 that the remains of a Carolingian church, built at the end of the 10C by the Counts of Blois, were discovered to house the relics of Saint Solenne, Bishop of Chartres. Later, in the 12C, during the building of the next church, the choir of this Carolingian church became a crypt.  In the Crypt alone remains the central ship and the apse of this ancient church-basilica. Behind the altar, you can see the trace of its semi-circular apse. On the left side, a vault houses the tombs of the bishops of Blois.

Some webpages to help you plan your visit here are

City of Blois on heritage in French

Tourist office Blois Chambord on the Cathedral in English

Loire Valley regional tourist office on the Cathedral in English

Blois Catholic Parish site on the Cathedral in French

There you another gem to see as often the city is more than just a castle. Enjoy Blois, and do visit the Saint Louis Cathedral worth a detour. Enjoy it

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

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2 Comments to “Saint-Louis Cathedral at Blois!”

  1. Lovely place. Glad the stained-glass windows were restored: a cathedral is not the same without them.

    Liked by 1 person

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