Travel in France, Bourges Cathedral

Day 2 of Travel in France ended in Bourges where, despite temperatures of c.30C, we embarked on a walk around the city, starting with the CathedralThe Cathedral of St Etienne, Bourges, is ‘buried’ amongst buildings but absolutely breathtaking. I could easily spend a month in Bourges, just looking at the Cathedral. 

The Cathedral of St Etienne, Bourges

There has been a Christian place of worship on the site since 3AD. A basilica was built in 11C, but burned down. In 1195 Archbishop Henri de Sully decided to rebuild the Cathedral of St Etienne (St Stephen), starting with the east end of the church. The plan, by an unknown master-builder was simple – a nave with two side aisles, a double ambulatory, and no transept.

Floor plan and explanation of Bourges Cathedral

The nave soars upwards – how did they manage this in the 12C?

The nave, the chathedral of St Etienne, Bourges

The cathedral of St Etienne, Bourges

The ambulatory, Bourges Cathedral

The stained glass windows in the ambulatory date from 1215 – that means they are 800 years old! (This site explains all the windows.)

Stained glass in Bourges Cathedral
The parable of Dives and Lazarus

The West Front has doorways which match the nave and double aisles inside the buildings, and is richly carved, with carvings which seem very contemporary.

West Front, Bourges Cathedral

Tympanum over the West Door, Judgement Day

Details on the North Door of the Cathedral.

And on the South Door.

Above the East Door, Bourges Cathedral

And these curious little carvings, high on the south side of the cathedral.

You may be interested in
The plans of the cathedral (photographs above)
The Mediaeval Stained Glass of Bourges Cathedral (marvellous site)
Bourges (the site for the City)
Abelard – an interesting series on Mediaeval Churches & stained glass

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