Cathedral Saint Julien of Le Mans!!

And this is another dandy monument of my belle France. In my road warrior ways of course I have come to Le Mans and what a surprise to find this wonderful Cathedral Saint Julien. Let me update this older post on it and hope you enjoy as much as I

In my humble efforts to showcase the wonderful historical architecturally stunning places of my belle France, I come to you to a fabulous city and great Cathedral.  I admit that I came here for the 24hrs auto race and the museum, but once touch base with the city, I came back for more to see it up close and personal; it was fantastic.  I like to tell you about the Cathedral Saint Julien of Le Mans; it too, deserves a post of its own. The fortified city of Le Mans is in the Sarthe department 72 in the region of Pays de la Loire. The city has a great public transport system with bus, tramway, and a great train station direct with Paris which I have passed and do connections in it. By car, best underground parkings are Jacobins and pl de la République. The autoroute A11/A10 from Paris is the easiest if toll road or get on the A13 direction Rouen , go down on the A12 direction Rambouillet and there take the N12 direction Dreux continue until Alençon and there take the A28 to Le Mans for free.


The first Cathedral was built in the 6C and the very famous Gothic choir was begun around 1220.  Let me tell you more of this Romanesque Cathedral Saint Julien.  The nave has five double spans. The vault is Gothic the vaults of the collateral have been rebuilt. The pillars are composed of half columns engaged on a quadrangular nucleus with balusters. The elevation has three levels: the large arcades, the triforium with alternately open and blind arches, the high windows. The large arcades are in a broken arch but the archivolt is distinguished from the Romanesque nave of the early 12C. The walls of the collateral are Romanesque. The first level is decorated with blind arches. The tower of the southern end of the transept dates from the middle of the 12C. The gate of the knights, name due to the relief of Samson recessed above. The window pierced above the gate also had a defensive role. The West façade. completed around 1110-1115, the two large buttresses were built around 1160 to counter support the vaults of the nave that did not originally exist; the pediment is bicolored (rousers/limestone) The large window has decorated archivolts falling on balusters.   The South gate of the nave. Although it can be counted among the portals of the first Gothic art, it retains the traditions of the Romanesque sculpture the roman Christ of the Apocalypse of Saint John, a novel theme par excellence. These stained glass windows are from the 12C: 2nd and 3rd Quarter: The window of Ascension; the cycle of Saint Etienne ;Saint Etienne lead out of the city been stoned, and Saint Gervais flogging as well as the gorging of Saint Protais.


Moving on to the history and architecture.

The Cathedral of St. Julien is one of the largest buildings of the Gothic-Romanesque period of France and unique in the west of France. It is a medieval testament to the architectural style of the Gothic Angevin. Begun around 1060 by Bishop Wulgrin, it was completed in its current form around 1430. It houses the tombs of Saint Julien and Charles d’Anjou. Located on the Butte du Vieux-Mans( a hilly area of the city), the building has a tower culminating at 64 meters, making it the highest building in metropolitan area of Le Mans and dominating the country around Le Mans.  The Cathedral is located in the city center of Le Mans, on the Cité Plantagenet. It is surrounded by the Place de Cardenal Grente, the Place Saint-Michel , the Psalette and its gardens and below the Place du Jet d’Eau. It marks the end of the Grande Rue which is the main street of the Old Town.




The cathedral has on its western flank a rare piece attesting to the ancient presence of megaliths. It is a sandstone menhir (standing stone) with a height of 4.55 meters. This menhir dates from prehistoric times and was installed in the Place Saint Michel in 1778, following the destruction of the Dolmen de la pierre en lait ( dolmen of the Stone with milk).

The Cathedral’s architecture combines two major arts: Romanesque art for the nave and Gothic art for the choir and transept. The stained-glass windows that adorn it are the symbol of this fusion of genres. The exterior length is of 134 meters, and the interior nave is of 57 meters. It is a true museum of the art of stained glass, the cathedral is home to the oldest stained-glass window on site, the window of Ascension.




The large organs, located at the bottom of the south Cross of the transept, were carried out between 1529 and 1535 by the factor Pierre Bert in a Renaissance style buffet, designed and sculpted according to the instructions of Symon Hayeneufve. In 1634, the brothers Jean and François de Héman restored the organ, which then had 42 games. In 1848, the division of the narrative is enlarged and that of the crankset is reinforced by the brothers Claude who carry the number of games to 46. From 1959 to 1963, Pierre Chéron began a restoration the instrument was inaugurated by Gaston Litaize in 1974. It is again restored between 2016 and 2018.

It is well recommended to see it by yours truly and of course if in Le Mans impossible to missed it. Some of the webpages available to help you plan your trip here are:

The official Cathedral St Julien of Le Mans

The City of Le Mans on the Cathedral:

The Sarthe dept 72 tourist board on the Cathedral of Le Mans

The Pays de la Loire tourist board on the Cathedral of Le Mans

Yes, this is Le Mans at its best in the Cathedral Saint Julien! Hope you have enjoy the post as much as we did. And remember ,happy travels ,good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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