The Cathédrale Sainte-Croix of Orléans!!!

Again, spent time by the magnificent cathedral of Orléans; we have been here before and now new text and pictures from our newest trip to the city.  The Cathédrale Sainte Croix d’Orléans or Holy Cross Cathedral,is located at  place Sainte-Croix, and is the cathedral of the diocese of Orleans; Gothic style with baroque ornamentation of which partly rebuilt in the 17C, it is dedicated to the Holy Cross (Sainte Croix)  (see previous post).

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We came to Orléans again after several years and the first thing to see was the Cathedral of course; a must to see. It rank as one of the best in my opinion in all of France. The area surrounding the cathedral is great for ambiance and sights, a good way we were just 14 minutes away walking from it; which for us is a piece of cake walk!

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I have another post most on history and architecture, but will give you some more facts on the Cathédrale Sainte Croix d’Orléans! Hope you enjoy the post as we did!

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It is one of the most beautiful cathedrals of the Loire Valley, the Cathédrale Sainte-Croix of Orleans is a must-see monument during a visit to the “Johannine” city!  (Joan of Arc). The Gothic cathedral has seen its construction cross the centuries , for nearly 600 years. It takes its name from the relics of the Holy Cross on which Jesus Christ died.

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Construction began in 1287 and the plan included nine apsidal chapels. But the wars of religion will cause the destruction of a large part of the church in 1567. The work of the cathedral that we know today resumed at the very beginning of the 17C. In 1601, Henri IV and Marie de Médicis laid the first stone. Work continued until the French revolution with the north and south transepts and the western portal, and the two towers which replaced the Romanesque facade. On May 8, 1829, 400 years after the lifting of the siege of Orleans by Joan of Arc (Jeanne d’Arc), King Charles X inaugurated the Cathédrale Sainte-Croix. In 1855, the cathedral of Orleans was erected as a basilica by Pope Pius IX.

It is the western facade that is the most interesting feature of the cathedral, with its ornate stones, 88 meters high towers and three rose windows. The highest point of the cathedral, the bell tower, reaches a height of 114 meters and contains five bells ranging in weight from 600 kg to 6000 kg. Inside, the cathedral follows a classical design with a main nave that is 140 meters long, four side naves, a transept and the choir section.  Look up to discover at the top of the towers, eight angels who carry the instruments of the Passion of Christ.

You are about to enter one of the five largest cathedrals in France. Admire the nave, from the pillars reaching up to the vaults which culminate at 32 meters high. Walking through the nave, you will be able to see the great organ, impressive with its 3,760 pipes and its 54 entirely manual stops. In the transepts, you can see two altarpieces dedicated to the Virgin Mary and the Sacred Heart. Since the 7C, the cathedral has had the relics of the cross on which Christ was crucified, making the monument a high place of pilgrimage, especially on the road to St-Jacques-de-Compostelle (Santiago de Compostela/St James).

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On May 8, 1429, after having defeated the English and lifting the siege of Orleans, Joan of Arc came to meditate in the Cathédrale Sainte-Croix. Canonized on May 16, 1920 by Pope Benedict XV, Saint Joan of Arc has been intimately linked to the city of Orleans since 1429. In the cathedral, don’t hesitate to look up at the stained-glass windows of the lower naves, its story is told to you! of Jeanne D’Arc.

The Cathédrale Sainte-Croix d’Orléans was also the scene of coronations. Charles II “Le Chauve”, June 6, 848 .Robert “Le Pieux” December 25, 970 ,and Louis VI August 3, 1118 were crowned kings of France in Orleans.

The wonderful Chemin de Croix or Way of the Cross are canvases mounted on the side walls of the aisle chapels. They form trompe-l’oeil and are painted in grisaille. Completed in 1873, this very beautiful Way of the Cross runs along the nave, under the stained glass windows of Joan of Arc. A Stations of the Cross has 14 stations and reminds Christians of the painful Calvary accepted by Jesus Christ to offer people eternal life out of love. It is especially prayed during Lent.

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Some of the most interesting chapels me think are:

Chapelle des Fonts and of Sainte Teresa of the Enfant Jesus, Left enclosure Henri IV visiting the ruins of the Cathedral 1599, Right enclosure presentation plans of the chapel in 1575, pilier entrance to chapel Virgin and Child in stone from the 14C, Interior neo gothic baptismal fonts with statues of St John the Baptist and Sainte Colombe and to the left relics of the 20C.

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Chapelle de l’Ecce Homo or Saint Thorns, with relics of the holy thorns taken to the Cathedral from the Middle Ages, Show stained glass of this thorns and mural portraits of the 19C.

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Chapelle Saint Louis, initially under name of Notre Dame la Blanche founded by the Duke of Orléans with armories and shield of the duke, and France, and the duchy, The Stained glass shows a young Louis IX, future Saint Louis.

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Chapelle St Michel, shows portrait of the Arch Angel Michael copy of original done by Raphaël and conserve in the Louvre offered to the Cathedral in 1820 on the occasion of the birth of the Duke of Bordeaux future Count of Chambord, Portrait and stained glass as well .

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Wooden model of the Cathédrale Sainte Croix done by first architect of the King Jacques V Gabriel, done in Versailles from 1737-40, it was presented for approval to king Louix XV to be put in the Cathedral, This was not follow up and left undone after Gabriel’s death in 1742, It was transfer after the French revolution to the honor stairs of the episcopal palace where it stayed until 2001! The model is again shown in the Cathedral since May 2011 after an exhaustive restoration.

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And, of course, the Chapelle Jeanne d’Arc! with the standard of France protected by two lions with the bishop of Orléans, Msgr Toucher in praying position. A wonderful spot to see and think.

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Some webpages to help you plan your trip and it is a must are:

The official Cathédrale Ste Croix of Orléans

The city of Orléans on the cathedral

The Dept 45 Loiret tourist office on the Cathedral

The Catholic parish of Orleans on the Cathedral in French :

There you folks, a beautiful must see Holy Cross Cathedral of Orleans! It represent well the history of France as it was written by the elders, get to know the soul of France a bit better coming here. There is no words and pictures are not enough, you need to see it in person. Hope it helps convince you of visiting it.

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

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