The Cathedral Saint-Caprais of Agen !

And let’s stayed in this wonderful area of my belle France, and the historical town of Agen. The town is famous for its canal (see post) and prunes. This time let me tell you a bit more on its main monument me think, the nice Saint Caprais’ Cathedral. 

The Cathedral Saint-Caprais is in city center of Agen , which is in the Department of Lot-et-Garonne,47 in the Nouvelle Aquitaine region. It was built in the 12C, and is the seat of the Diocese of Agen. It is time I give it credit in my blog, well worth a detour to this town and do not missed the Cathedral.

agen-cat-st-caprais-front

A bit of history I like

Saint Caprais was martyred shortly after Sainte Foy, in 303. They were allegedly buried at the site of the Church of Martrou. The tradition is that a Church in homage to Saint Caprais was built at the beginning of the 5C by Bishop Saint Dulcide, who would have transported the relics of the martyrs. A basilica dedicated to Saint Caprais existed in 580 because it was quoted by Gregory of Tours. The Saint-Caprais Cathedral was built in the 12C at the site of an Episcopal basilica built in the 6C, ransacked by the Normans. In 853 was renovated and ransacked again in 1561, during the Wars of Religion. The Collegiate Church of Saint-Caprais became in 1791 a fodder shop before being reopened in 1796 and becoming the official Cathedral of Agen, after the destruction of the ancient cathedral Saint-Étienne by the French revolution. It was raised to the rank of Cathedral in 1802. Again rebuilt, from 1838 to 1847, the south facade, the steeple and the interior floors.

A bit on the construction and architecture

The Cathedral of Saint-Caprais has several architectural features such as its Romanesque apse extended by a Gothic nave with a single aisle. Replacing an old wooden bell tower, the present bell tower was built in 1835, and presents the peculiarity of being composed of the three Gothic stylistic elements such as Gothic with lancets, radiant Gothic, and flamboyant Gothic  oddly presented in their inverse chronological order. One can still see, in an angle of the north brace of the Cathedral a cul-de-lamp composed according to this principle, and which, on its own, is a small monument receiving two large warhead arches.

agen-cat-st-caprais-back

The paintings on the walls and ceilings represent the history of the coming of Christianity in the region. A central place is given to the first local martyrs. Other paintings are presented in series such as The Evangelists, the Apostles, the patriarchs of the Jewish people (Abraham, Noë…), the great kings of Israel..etc..

In 1829, the Chapel of the Virgin was done, and work on decoration continue until 1869. The rest of the decoration such as the paintings mix local themes and Marian iconography, the great figures of the Old Testament Bible and the New Testament as well.

agen-cat-st-caprais-inside

The main organ built in 1855 for the Universal Exhibition of Paris.   According to the legend, it was offered by the Empress Eugénie in 1858 to the Cathedral St Caprais of Agen, which until then had no organ. It is the largest instrument in the  Lot-et-Garonne, with 45 games distributed on 3 keyboards and a pedal. The Choir organ was built in 1885.

Some webpages as usual from me to help you plan your visit are:

The Lot et Garonne dept 47 tourist office on the Cathedral: https://www.tourisme-lotetgaronne.com/culture-patrimoine/cathedrale-saint-caprais/

The city of Agen on its heritage: https://www.agen.fr/nous-connaitre/lidentite-agenaise/destination-agen-157.html

The diocese of the Lot et Garonne on the Cathedral: https://www.diocese47.fr/current/site/2065.html

There you go folks, another gem in my belle France, south and nice, this is Agen. The Cathedral of Saint Caprais is a must in town; hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

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