Saint Louis Cathedral of Versailles!

And another dandy spot of my beloved Versailles. This is a bit of anecdote for me, I saw later while living there, in another district (Saint Louis) is like another town, and there is a revolutionary veil behind it . Maybe one reason not taken time to take pictures here, the one shown the front is from my sons school hangout restaurant!!! I lived at Notre Dame district !!!I came eventually as my sons gathered around a resto near it while lunch or even after school and needed to get them there, but did finally saw the theme of this post. The Saint Louis Cathedral of Versailles. Another of the most see while in Versailles and to get away from just the palace/museum; as said, Versailles has a lot more to offer; its like coming to Paris and not seeing Notre Dame Cathedral!

versailles cat-st-louis-side

The Cathédrale de Saint Louis is a rock-style church built by the architect Jacques Hardouin-Mansart de Sagonne. It was blessed on August 25, 1754, Saint Louis Day, and chosen as a Cathedral for the creation of the Bishopric of Versailles in 1802, (as the French revolution Concordia did not want to name the Royal Notre Dame Collegiate Church (see post), but was consecrated only in 1843. The facade, adorned with Corinthian and Doric columns is flanked by two lateral towers for the bells, capped with bulbs characteristic of the rock-style, gilded. A dome topped by a baluster-shaped arrow, also gilded in the past, is arranged over the cross-aisle.

A bit of history I like

The church of the village of Versailles, before the construction of the castle, was dedicated to Saint Julien de Brioude. This church was demolished in 1681. On its site was built the grand commun (see post). The Church of St. Julien was rebuilt in the new city, and it ,also had a fleeting existence. In 1684, Louis XIV laid the first stone of a new building: the parish of Notre-Dame (the Royal historical Church that should be the Cathedral) which gave its name to the district (my district).

From 1725, at the corner of the rue de Satory and rue d’Anjou, near the Potager du roi (see post), a temporary chapel of about thirty meters, flanked by a collateral and surrounded by a cemetery, was built. It began to buried folks there in April 1727, and was baptized on May 1728. The foundations were started in June 1742. The first stone was solemnly laid by the Archbishop of Paris on June 12, 1743. Louis XV placed himself in a cavity dug for this purpose a gold medal and four silver medals, then proceeded to the sealing of the stone of Assisi. The Church of St. Louis was indeed completed only twelve years later. The inauguration passed without fanfare on August 24, 1754, without the presence of the Royal family because the Dauphine, Marie-Joséphe de Saxe, had given birth on the eve of a son (the future Louis XVI!!).

The St. Louis Church underwent few transformations until the French revolution and its history was devoid of major events, the Royal Parish remaining at the Church of Notre-Dame. However, when the general states of 1789 were opened, it was in Saint-Louis that the solemn procession (departing from Notre-Dame Church) surrendered and it was from the pulpit of the church that the Bishop of Nancy denounced the abuses of the court. Several meetings of the States General also were held in Saint-Louis during the month of June 1789. On the 22nd, the oath of the jeu de Paume was renewed.

In 1790, Versailles became the seat of a bishopric. The first constitutional bishop, chose Notre-Dame for Cathedral. Subsequently, the Church of St. Louis was closed and, most of the objects of worship having been confiscated, turned into a temple of abundance. It was given the attributes; on the façade a ploughman was even painted on the front facade of the church. As soon as the Catholic cult was restored (after 1802), the constitutional (revolutionary) bishop who had succeeded preferred St. Louis to Notre-Dame (of course the Royal pantheon) and thus this church finally became the Cathedral. On January 3, 1805, Pope Pius VII, who came to Paris for the coronation of Emperor Napoleon I, was welcomed into St. Louis Cathedral by the first Bishop of the Cathedral.

The architecture of it on the exterior:

The Cathedral Saint Louis is done in a traditional Latin cross plan of Gothic style with a central nave, collateral flanked by chapels, protruding transept, choir surrounded by an ambulatory interrupted by the axial chapel dedicated to the Virgin.The Cathedral is oriented north-south, in the meantime to that of Notre-Dame, since the Council of Trent no longer imposed the traditional east-west orientation. The master altar was once placed at the back of the choir, constituting the sanctuary. The current location is more in line with the Council of Vatican II, the priest officiating against the faithful and not his back turned. The façade is located on an eight-degree step and has two levels. Three doors pierce the lower level. Six Doric columns flank the main; The two side doors of two columns of the same order. The second level, which reigns only on the central part, repeats exactly the layout of the ground floor. It opens on a full-hanger bay in the upper part of which a clock was placed. Above, the façade is crowned with a triangular pediment enthroned with a golden cross. It is adorned with a winged royal crest whose lilies were hammered at the time of the French revolution.   The two lateral towers are punctuated with Doric pilasters forming protruding, surmounted by stone vases. They are capped with bulbs according to the Rococo tradition to cover the steeples.

The architecture on the Interior we have in brief:

It reflects this somewhat cold nobility, softened by the delicacy of style in honor under Louis XV. The nave, with five spans, is chanted with pilasters engaged in a rather thin relief, cushioned by Corinthian capitals. They are framed with garlands of roses. On the other side of the façade, the stone tribune is supported by a large bow that is leaning on both sides on a console. It gets up in brace to wear the organ buffet of Clicquot. Above the large arcades, the Cathedral is illuminated by spectacular bays whose vaults penetrate the nave, according to the usual process used at that time. 93 meters high, the nave is covered with a penetrating vault.

versailles cat-st-louis-chapel

The square of the transept is covered with a dome on carved pendants. It is itself surmounted by a second cap with a low dome, the sculptures of which were never finished, as the presence of the stones shows. The choir, circular, has three bays and an apse.The ambulatory that surrounds the choir stops at the height of the axial chapel. The chapels that flank the collateral and the ambulatory are dedicated, on the left side, to Saint Julien, to the Departed, to Sainte Geneviève and to Saint Peter. Beyond the left arm of the transept is the Ecce Homo Chapel, those of Saint Francis, Saint Vincent de Paul, the Sacred Heart and Saint Joseph. On the right side, the Chapel of the baptismal fonts is first presented, followed by the presentation of the Most Holy Virgin and Saint Charles. Beyond the transept, the three chapels that surround the choir are dedicated to the Good Shepherd, Saint Louis, and Saint John the Baptist.  The chapel of Providence adjoins, on the left, the chapels of Ecce Homo and Saint Francis. We penetrate them from the inside.

versailles cat-st-louis-chapel-2

The great historical organ commissioned in 1759 on the order of Louis XV to Louis-Alexandre Clicquot was completed in 1761 by François-Henri Clicquot (his son). Blessed on the eve of Toussaint 1761, it will cross unscathed the revolutionary period, not undergoing, thanks to the intelligence of the lord of the city of Versailles, that the removal of three large flowers of wooden lilies on the buffet.   On 4 May 1789 the organ participated in the mass of the States General convened by Louis XVI.

This is one of the marvels of Versailles still pretty much remaining in the off the beaten path level. The city of Versailles did a study where 98% of visitors only come to the palace/museum! what a pity, there is so much more to show you; do some walking. Enjoy my Versailles!

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The official St Louis Cathedral webpage:

The city of Versailles tourist office on the cathedral

There you go folks, another dandy in the Cathedral Saint Louis of Versailles. Hope you enjoy it as much as I.  And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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