Experience the Loire Valley Home Page

Tours Saint-Gatien Cathedral

Tours cathedral

Cathédrale Saint-Gatien de Tours, is dedicated to the first bishop of the city and is a 'must-see' when visiting the Loire Valley. The current cathedral sits on the site of a number of predecessors all of which were damaged by fires. One in 1166 during the conflict between Louis VII of France and Henry II of England (who also ruled over the neighbouring region of Anjou at the time).


Construction proper on the existing cathedral began in 1270 but progress was slow and it was not completed until 1547, so what we have is a building made up of styles spanning a number of centuries, though the predominate 'style' is obviously 'Gothic'.


The nave was completed around 1450, in the flamboyant style we see today. Then, from 1450 to 1484, the facade is built in the same style on the foundations of a Gallo-Roman wall. The north tower was completed around 1507 while the south tower, in the same style, would not be completed  for another 40 years!. Both seem to have acquired renaissance caps.


 On approaching this great cathedral you are immediately struck by the detail of its exquisite  façade... amazing.



Once inside you cannot fail to be impressed...how did they build these buildings...could we do it now? Below are photographs showing the splendour of the nave...



and the beauty of the mainly 13th century stained glass windows of the choir.



 These windows are reminiscent of the glorious windows of the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris






There are also. examples from the famous 'Lobin' factory of Tours.


As you walk around the cathedral you view various tombs including that of the children of Charles VIII and Anne de Bretagne.

The north transept contains the St.Martin altar plus an impressive rose window.

The south transept contains the fabulous 16th century cathedral organ which has had major restoration worked carried out throughout the many centuries of its existence.

At the eastern end (farthest point from the front portal) there are a number of chapels, one dedicated to 'local hero' Joan of Arc. Joan had met here in Tours with Charles VII during her campaign to rid France of the English.


The outside of the cathedral is almost as impressive as the interior, with its Gothic windows and flying buttresses.


External links:


www.paroisse-cathedrale-tours     Website of cathedral




wiki/Tours_Cathedral                   Cathedral on Wikipedia




 flower-power at the cathedrall       From 'Loire Valley Experiences'




 saint-gatien-cathedral.html           From 'Loire Valley Experiences'