Archive for September 20th, 2020

September 20, 2020

Beauvais and St Peter’s Cathedral!

Oh this is a major not done it worth as lack photos. Well in my search in my vault found some and so will do a post for the memories in my blog of the St Peter’s Cathedral or Cathédrale de Saint Pierre of Beauvais.

Beauvais is in dept 60 of the Oise in the region of Hauts de France. Most folks know it better for the low cost airport there, however they are missing a lot by not going into Beauvais proper. I like to tell you a bit about Beauvais and its Cathedral. For orientation it is  53 km from Amiens, 54 km from Compiègne, 67 km from Paris and 72 km from Rouen, so ideally located.

I used the airport once and that was it on low cost. By car you get there by the A16 highway and go in on exit or sortie no 14 and no 15. The train station of Beauvais connects on TER with the Gare du Nord of Paris. It is an old town from antiquity but more modern history tell us that in 1096, Renaud de Beauvais took part in the first crusade. His name appears in the Fifth Hall of the Crusades of the Palace of Versailles. In 1472, Charles the Bold, unsuccessfully laid siege to Beauvais. The conduct of Jeanne Hachette during this siege has remained famous. King Louis XI grants, through his letters patent, the privileges of the city, in particular those of women and girls.In 1664, a royal tapestry factory was set up in Beauvais, which then became an important tapestry city of the kingdom of France.

During WWI or the Great War, Beauvais lived for four years the existence of a town in the rear, quite close to the front, an existence complicated by the vagaries of irregular supply.  In March 1918, the city/town hall became the headquarters of General Foch, it was there that he was entrusted with the supreme command of the Allied armies, by the French, English and American governments.  Towards the end of the war, from April to June, the city was bombed eight times, resulting in the destruction of 80 houses. During WWII, it was call “Good city of France, old city of Île-de-France, bruised city, mutilated city…”. It is in these terms that General de Gaulle greeted Beauvais in August 1945. It was indeed necessary to rebuild on the 43 hectares of excavated material, crisscrossed by deserted streets.

And it survive to create and preserve one of the grand Cathedrals of France. 

The Saint-Pierre Cathedral is the highest Gothic choir in the world at 48.50 meters under vaulted ceilings. From 1569 to 1573, the cathedral was with its 153-meter tower the tallest human construction in the world. Its designers had the ambition to make it the largest Gothic cathedral in France ahead of that of Amiens. Victim of two collapses, one in the 13C, the other in the 16C, it remains unfinished today, only the choir and the transept have been built!  Around the year 290, the emperor Diocletian opposed to Christianity sent Latinus, Jarius and Antor to suppress the proselitism of Lucien and his two companions Maxian and Julian. Found by the Romans, they would have been beheaded in Montmille near Beauvais. A first chapel was built at the beginning of the 4C in the reconstructed city surrounded by walls, along the Roman road connecting Rouen to Reims. Saint Lucien is considered by Catholics as the first bishop of Beauvais.


Of the first cathedral, only a few bays of the nave remain today. This first cathedral probably dates from the second half of the 10C, which corresponds to the reigns of Lothaire and his son Louis V. It is a late Carolingian style church. During the French revolution, in October 1793, the sans-culottes destroyed the statues of the tympanum of the south portal. The building also lost part of its furniture and the goldsmith’s work was cast down. Having become for a time a temple dedicated to Reason, the cathedral was no longer, after the Terror, than a simple parish church. In 1822, the Church of Saint-Pierre again became a cathedral and gradually restored its religious heritage dispersed in the region of Beauvais. In 1939, all the stained-glass windows representing figured scenes were dismantled and sheltered at the Château de Carrouges, in Orne. A wise precaution because, during the Nazi bombardment of June 6, 1940, six bombs fell on the cathedral without exploding. However, the sacristy was destroyed, the stained glass windows that remained in place were shattered as well as the windows of the astronomical clock which, damaged, ceased to function.

The facade of the south transept is decorated with flamboyant Gothic sculpture. On each side, the facade is flanked by an octagonal turret rounded at the base with an internal staircase. The cornices are decorated with fantastic animals, grotesques, sculpted angels. The figure of King Francis I with an F surmounted by the royal crown is also carved there. The doors of the cathedral on the north side are carved with the emblem of King Francis I, the salamander surmounted by the crown of France. Behind the south and north doors were also carved fleur-de-lis, emblem of the French monarchy, which were destroyed during the French revolution of 1789.

The choir is made up of three straight bays and a hemicycle of seven bays. The ambulatory communicates with four rectangular chapels and seven radiating chapels. The choir now has 19 arches instead of the original 13, three additional pillars were built on each side. The choir is separated from the ambulatory by three-point arcades surmounted by an openwork gallery. The 19 windows 18 meters high decorated with mullions and roses. In the Saint-Pierre Cathedral, four planes of railings to replace the stone fence dating from the 16C, and composed of two large doors and ironwork of the two spans of the sanctuary. This was laid in 1739.


The Saint Pierre Cathedral preserves a remarkable set of old stained glass windows from the 13-14C and 16C. They were supplemented by those of Max Ingrand, Michel Durand, Jacques Le Chevallier, Jean Barillet ,etc in the second half of the 20C. The oldest glass roof, in the axial Notre-Dame Chapel, dates from 1240. It represents a tree of Jesse and a story from the legend of Théophile. The stained glass in liters of the 14C shows that the chloride and silver sulphide introduced in the technique made it possible to illuminate hair, haloes and various ornaments. At this time in the high windows, is located in the central bay, Christ on the Cross accompanied by the Virgin, on the left window, Saint-Pierre and Saint-André and the right one, Saint-Jean and Saint-Paul. During the Renaissance, from 1491, one of the greatest dynasties of French stained glass, the Leprince family took over the work and adorned the two facades of the transept with roses, while their leader, Engrand Leprince, created a large glass roof.


The Saint Pierre Cathedral retains the oldest medieval chime clock still in working order. It is located not far from the astronomical clock, in the Sainte-Thérèse Chapel in the ambulatory, against the wall of the sacristy and the treasure room. This clock therefore dates from the beginning of the 14C and was repaired for the first time in 1387. A stone staircase provides access to its mechanisms. It is made up of three main parts: A hollow stone support, hexagonal in shape, decorated with small windows and carved arches. It is inside this support that the weights of the clock descend. The wooden cage, which is cantilevered, contains the cogs of the clock. Part of this cage and the mechanisms date from the 14C. On the other hand, the facade, decorated with angels supporting the dial and redone in the 18C was painted or repainted in the 15C. A recently restored wooden campanile in which is the bell of the hours, given at the beginning of the 15C. The dial supported by angels indicates the hours and the phases of the moon; above between two angels appear the arms of the King of France, below the arms of the cathedral chapter. The chime is operated by a twelve-key keypad which transmits movement to hammers located above the clock cage. It can play different tunes according to the liturgical feasts, just before the striking of the hours.

The Saint Pierre Cathedral has an astronomical clock, built between 1865 and 1868 and was placed in the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, located in the north arm of the transept, in 1876. It is the centerpiece of the furniture of the cathedral. is powered by a main motor and 14 secondary motors. The cabinet is in the Roman-Byzantine style, it measures 12 meters high, 5.12 meters wide and 2.82 meters deep. In the upper part, 68 automatons come alive during the Last Judgment scene. Sound and light, broadcast in five languages, explains the operation of these machines for 25 minutes. Awesome clocks!!!


The official webpage of the St Peter’s Cathedral is here:

The tourist office of Beauvais on the St Peter’s Cathedral

The city of Beauvais on the St Peter’s Cathedral

Now I just touch bases here, but this is a must to visit and do come in to the city of Beauvais, the Cathédrale Saint Pierre is a must to see. I am glad finally found some photos to show it in my blog. Hope you enjoy the post as I did.

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

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September 20, 2020

Notre Dame Cathedral of Rouen!!!

So here I am back with old photos from my vault given them new life in my blog for the memories, the happy times, and arts, architecture and history of my belle France. Again ,I have written before but with new text and photo I need to tell you about it.

I love Rouen, been there several times and several posts in my blogs. It was the city we visit to see its architecture and history, and great food eateries, but , also, to see its great baseball team that we follow, the Rouen Huskies!  Rouen is in department Seine-Maritime or No 76 in the region of Normandie. It is the seat of the bishop of the region, and the city is a Legion d’Honneur recipient of France.  The Seine river flows thru it just like Paris, and in it lie the ashes of Jeanne d’Arc!.

You get here by car on the A13 autoroute de Normandie from Paris direction Rouen. Very easy, the best parking is at the vieux marché or the place St Marc both around a lovely lively markets or marché.  The trains come from Paris gare st lazare into the Rouen train station or gare rive droite at place Bernard Tissot,that you can walk about 10-15 mins into city center. No need for public transport in the city, walk it this is the best way to see its marvels

The Cathédrale Notre Dame de Rouen, is a marvel, its gothic architecture inspired Claude Monet, with an arrow as high as 151 meters (498 ft), the highest in France. Stained glass of splendors but also, about 70 sculpture figures of about 20-30 meters high done between 1362-1421. The tour Saint Romain of 77 meters high (254 ft)  at the north face and the tour de Beurre of 80 meters 264 ft)  in its south face. Just a marvel inside too.

rouen-cathedrale-towers feb09

The Notre-Dame Cathedral, officially the primatial Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption Cathedral of Rouen, is the most prestigious monument in the city of Rouen. It is the seat of the archdiocese of Rouen, capital of the ecclesiastical province of Normandy. The Archbishop of Rouen bearing the title of Primate of Normandy, his cathedral thus has the rank of Primate. It is a construction of Gothic architecture whose first stones date back to the High Middle Ages. It has the particularity, rare in France, of keeping its archiepiscopal palace and the surrounding ancillary buildings dating from the same period.

It is a Gothic architecture construction whose first stones go back to the High Middle Ages. It has the peculiarity, rare in France, to preserve its Archbishop Palace and the surrounding adjoining buildings dating from the same period. The wooden arrow covered in Renaissance style lead that crowned was destroyed by a fire ignited by lightning in 1822. It is now surmounted by a cast iron boom, built from 1825 to 1876, which rises to 151 meters. The Cathedral Notre-Dame de Rouen is the highest in France and was the highest building in the world at the time of its completion in 1876, and will remain until 1880, it is also the Cathedral which, by the width of its western facade of 61.60 meters , holds the record of France. It is known worldwide, notably through the 28 paintings of the series of Cathedrals of Rouen, painted by Claude Monet.

rouen cat notre dame nave to organ oct08

A lot of history I like

A sermon by Bishop Victrice dated about 395-396AD implies the presence of a Cathedral in the city and evokes the construction of a nearby Basilica.  In the 5C, these two basilicas were brought together by galleries.  In the 10C, after the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte in 911, Rouen became the capital of the young Duchy of Normandy, the chief Viking Rollon would have received the baptism in 912 (under the first name Robert) in the primitive basilica. Necropolis of the first dynasty of the Dukes of Normandy, the Cathedral (the first Carolingian edifice) was enlarged only under the reign of Richard I, the latter dying in 996.  Around 1237, the Cathedral seems to be completed.  The work on the western façade resumed from 1370, to end at 1450. It was then that a series of arches were built and filled with more than 60 statues.

Also completed the Saint-Romain tower by making a high floor, covered with an axe roof with curved slate panels, from 1468 to 1478. It housed nine bells, which were added in 1467 by Marie D’Estouteville and in 1470, La Guillaume. The presence of these numerous bells gave the nickname of the “Tower of the Eleven Bells”. From 1477 to 1479, it completely resumed the Canon Bookstore (Chapter library) and built the “booksellers’ Staircase”, which allowed access from the Cathedral’s transept in 1479.  Begins at the end of 1485 a tower south of the façade, the Tour du Beurre, finishes in 1506.

The Choir is endowed with a new master altar, delivered in 1734. The yellow copper fencing that surrounded the choir since 1526 is replaced by gilded copper grates. The 13C Rood is replaced in 1775 by a classic marble rood. During the French Revolution, the Cathedral became the Temple of Reason. The bells are broken and the Georges of Amboise melted. The revolution kept the Cathedral proper by using the Chapel of the Virgin as a hay loft, while the rest of the building served as a concert hall. It regained the Cathedral status in 1796.

The definitive restoration of the Arrow has a project, which started in 2016 and is to be completed in 2022, is divided into 7 slices. This operation includes the restoration of cast iron structure and decor elements, restoration of the Corten steel structure, reinforcement before final Solution The repair of the assembly permits between the two structures, the protection of the Arrow by painting of the structure in Corten in grey or light green and cast elements in grey green according to the original hue, the copper cover of the slab of the stool at the foot of the arrow and a highlighting by the lighting of the whole .

Some main things to see

The courtyard or Place de la Cathédrale is located in the center of the Gallo-Roman castrum of the 4C, at the crossroads of the Cardo (current Rue des Carmes) and the Decumanus (axis of the rue de Gros-Horloge

The North tower or Saint-Romain Tower, which is the oldest part of the façade 12C, first Gothic. Another level in flamboyant Gothic style was added and endowed with a roof in frame called axe. Most likely, this tower was isolated from the Cathedral and served as a defensive tower before being integrated into the façade of the Cathedral

The Butter Tower or tour du Beurre or south tower is much more recent since it dates from the beginning of the 16C. The first stone is laid in 1485. The huge bell of the tower is melted in 1501, it takes the name of its patron, Georges of Amboise.  The tour de la beurre inspired the construction of a famous Chicago building, the Tribune Tower, in 1923-1925.

The western facade the rhythm of the facade is given by the four turrets and their perforated arrows, centered on the axis of the portal Notre-Dame .The main porch is the last gothic element adjoining the Cathedral.

The portal Saint-Jean in the north is the only tympan that is intact.  The tympan is divided into two parts, represents events of the lives of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist. The upper part represents the mysterious passage of St. John the Evangelist. The lower register, from left to right, tells the feast of Herod, the dance of Salome and the decollation of Saint John the Baptist. Between the broken arch and the discharge arch, in the upper tympan of the gate, is the baptism of Christ in the center and the details of the life of Saint John in Chinese shadows. This decoration technique, very original, is a motif of cutting stone, on the background of Fleur de Lys, originally gilded.

The portal Notre-Dame , the floor of the portal consists of a first large gable cutting a gallery, the large rose in retreat and a second gallery called  Viri Galilei

The portal Saint-Étienne is unrecognizable on the portal of the same name in the south. Its tympan is divided into two parts: a Christ in Majesty in a mandorla that welcomes faithful and pilgrims because he was not mutilated by the Protestants, and under the stoning of St. Stephen. The configuration of the tympan such as the glorious Christ in the skies, surrounded by angels, on the upper part, and St Stephen stoned by his executioners in the presence of Saul,  illustrates the story of the Martyr of Saint Stephen

The portal Saint-Siméon is built in the 13C on the 8th span of the southern collateral the portals of the transept: the portal of booksellers like that of the Calende, is surmounted by a bow in third-point to vaulted carved above which a gable detaches from the clear glass. The Rose is surmounted by a large gable.

The lantern tower and its arrow the chevet or bedside at the end of the Cathedral is the Chapel of the Virgin. Its broken arched windows are capped with gables including between the pinnacles overcoming the foothills

The Chapels of the north aisle are: Saint-Mellon, Sainte-Agathe ,Saint-Jean-de-la-Nef, Saint-Sever, Saint-Julien ,Saint-Eloi ,Chapelle des fonts Saint-Nicolas ,and Sainte-Anne

The Chapels of the south aisle are: Saint-Étienne-la-Grande-Eglise in the tour du beurre, Saint-Eustache, Saint-Léonard ,Saint-Pierre called the builder ,Sainte-Colombe called Eucharistic Wheat,  Sainte-Catherine,  portal of the Masons, also known as the Saint-Siméon Portal, Sainte-Marguerite, and the Chapel of the Little Saint-Romain.

The transept has four chapels, all oriented, one at the angles and the other in a apsidiole ,these are: Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Pitié , Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, Chapelle Sainte-Jeanne d’Arc, and Chapelle Saint-Joseph.

The Choir, slightly stalker to the north, has five straight bays and an apse in a five-part hemicycle. It rises on three levels. On either side of the Choir are stalls, which include sculpted mercies illustrating the Bible and secular subjects. It opens on three radiant chapels separated by a large window. The ambulatory gives access from the south to the north to the Saint-André/Saint-Barthelemy Chapel de la Revestiére, the Chapel of the Virgin and the Saint-Pierre-Saint-Paul chapel. Like the transept, arches run in the basement and have a passage at the base of the bays that retain the 13C stained glass. The ambulatory houses tombs with recumbents, each with an epitaph, from the south to the north. that of Rollon (a 19C copy) is empty. That of Richard the Lion Heart contained his heart, whose reliquary of lead is preserved with the treasure of the Cathedral; That of Henri the Younger, elder brother of Richard the Lion Heart. That of William I of Normandy, son of Rollon.. Access to the crypt is from the Chapel of Saint Jeanne D’Arc, in the south brace.

The chapel of the Virgin or axial chapel of the cathedral is dedicated to the Virgin. It is made up of three straight spans and a five-sided apse. It was completed between 1305 and 1311 At its apse is an altar and an altarpiece in carved and gilded wood by Jean Racine offered by the Brotherhood of the Blessed Virgin to adorn the axial chapel. They are embellished with an oil on canvas by Philippe de Champaigne (1629), the Adoration of the Shepherds the bays which have stained-glass windows from the 14-15C are punctuated by bundles of fine columns that support the arches The stained-glass windows of the bedside come from of the Saint-Vincent church destroyed in 1944 (WWII), to replace those of the apse of the chapel which disappeared in the 19C consacred at the Nativity and at the coronation of the Virgin The north and south stained glass windows, representing the holy bishops of Rouen To the north, are presented in the first window Saint Marcellin, Saint Maurice, Saint Silvestre and Saint Eusebius The second window welcomes Saint Ouen, Saint Ansbert, Saint Godard and Saint Godard The windows to the south represent in the first Saint Roman, Saint Evodus, Saint Victrice and Saint Innocent and in the second saint Prétextate, saint Maurille, saint Rémi and saint Hugues.


Many tombs adorn the Chapelle de la Vierge, the monumental mausoleum of the cardinals of Amboise, The recumbent figure of the cardinal prince de Croy, archbishop of Rouen, sculpted in 1856. The tomb of Louis de Brézé (d 1531), seneschal of Normandy, in alabaster, black and white marble this tomb made between 1536 and 1544 on the order of Diane de Poitiers his wife, l’Enfeu de Pierre de Brézé and his wife Jeanne du Bec-Crespin, in a flamboyant style from the end of the 15C.

The official webpage of the Cathedral of Rouen

The tourist office of Rouen on the Cathedral

The city of Rouen on the Cathedral:

The Seine Maritime dept 76 on the Cathedral of Rouen

This is a city to walk in its history and architecture superbe examples of my belle France over the centuries. The Notre Dame Cathedral of Rouen is awesome, a must just to see it alone. Hope you enjoy this update on one of the emblematic monument of my France at Rouen in Normandie.

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

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