Archive for March 1st, 2020

March 1, 2020

The Cathedral and Bourges!

These are monuments for all mankind regardless of your views, and works of art to be admire and maintained. The foundation of modern societies and a huge chunk of our history. The Cathedrals are an architectural marvel of mankind and we are lucky to have several.

I have written on Bourges before, but feel a single post on the Saint Stephen Cathedral or Cathédrale Saint Etienne is in order. We were impressed by it and return again. Hope you enjoy the brief introduction as for these monuments we can write a book!

Bourges is the prefecture of the department of the Cher no.18 in the region of Centre Val de Loire. It is also the historic capital of Berry, province of the Ancien Régime (monarchies) corresponding approximately to the current departments of Indre and Cher.

The best is the magnificent Cathedral of St Etienne or St Stephen, built from 1194 to 1506. One of the great Cathedrals of France. The lights of its stained glass windows, the great organ or Grand Orgue  and rebuilt several times afterward. In the 16C, the organs are mentioned from the beginning of the 15C. The current large organs were redesigned under the direction of Marie-Claire Alain in 1977. There is a group of organ lovers who look after the Grand Orgue today. The concerts are wonderful indeed, the group in French is here: The Big Organ of Bourges in French


A bit of history I like (brief)

In 1195, Henri de Sully, archbishop of Bourges, brother of Eudes de Sully, bishop of Paris made a donation to the chapter of Bourges cathedral. This donation will be the starting point for the construction of a new cathedral in Bourges, intended to replace the Romanesque cathedral dating from the 11-12C, considered too small, of which little data is available. Historically, there has been a Christian worship center on the site since the 3C, when the Roman city of Avaricum was home to the first Christian community in Gaul. Four buildings followed one another on the site of the current cathedral: monumental crypts were erected by Saint Ursin in the 3C, Saint Palais, archbishop in the 4C, and Raoul de Turenne, archbishop in the 9C. Gauzlin, archbishop of royal blood and the brother of Robert II the Pious, was the builder of the first Romanesque cathedral, at the beginning of the 11C. This new cathedral is the first Gothic building built south of the Loire, and it appeared to be of great importance both for the prestige of the King of France and for that of the Archbishop. After the French revolution, the Cathedral St Etienne or St Stephens was emptied of its furniture. As soon as the public worship ceased, it was dedicated to the Cult of Reason, thus the Temple of Unity was inaugurated on December 10, 1793. Of course

bourges cat st etienne side south dec09

The plan for Bourges cathedral is based on that of Paris cathedral, with a double ambulatory, but removing the transept and the stands. The similarity of the plans of the two cathedrals is perhaps due to the family ties existing between the Archbishop of Bourges, Henri de Sully, and the Bishop of Paris, Eudes de Sully, at the time of their development. The western facade is the widest at 41 meters among those of all the Gothic churches in France. Five gates allow access to the interior, all with double doors, and correspond exactly to the five naves. Bourges cathedral surprises both by its absence of transept and by its double aisle, which extends around the choir by a double ambulatory. The cross section offers a pyramidal profile, the naves being respectively 9 meters, 21.30 meters and 37.50 meters high from the outer aisles to the central nave. The Cathedral St Etienne marks its originality by the breadth of the western facade with its five portals. They are devoted, in order and from left to right, to: Guillaume de Bourges, the Virgin Mary, the Last Judgment (central portal), to the martyr Stephen and to Ursin de Bourges. Bourges cathedral does not have a set of 12-13C stained glass equivalent to that of Chartres cathedral, but it does have stained glass from the 13C to the 17C to see the evolution of this art.



This is a huge monument with so many details I will be lost myself trying to pick on each, rather give you a overall taste, and do come in to see , is a must in my belle France. The Cathedral St Etienne or St Stephen is a work of heaven on earth words cannot describe it, you need to see it and behold. Recommended.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Official Cathedral St Stephen in English

If you want to get involve these friends of groups are wonderful, I am not in this one but do belong to several in France and  Spain. Here is the one on the Bourges Cathedral: Friends of the Cathedral of Bourges in French

The overall tourist office of Bourges for further info and details is here: Tourist office of Bourges

And again, is a must to see in my belle France and lovely town , we like too. Bourges is quant , old , and friendly. Enjoy the post and thanks for reading once again.

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



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