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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4 Responses to “Beauvais and St Peter’s Cathedral!”

  1. For a while I actually often went through the airport for low cost flights. From the shuttle bus I could see the city and its bell towers in the distance, telling myself that I should come back one day to revisit it. I kept in mind that it is the highest cathedral. Memories that it would be good to refresh. Thanks for the post.

    Liked by 1 person


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