Bordeuax Cathedral history
Bordeaux Cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral and the seat of the Archbishop of Bordeaux. The construction of Bordeaux Cathedral was an ongoing process between the 12th and 16th century. Thus, it took almost 400 years to fully complete it!
Some parts of the outer walls dates back to the earliest phase of the construction, but the majority of the cathedral was built between the 13th and 15th century.
Different colored walls
Visitors looking at Bordeaux Cathedral will be able to see that the color of the front façade differs. One reason for this is, as mentioned, that the church was built over a long period of time which means that the wear and tear of the walls is unevenly divided. Another reason is that some parts of the church have been cleaned more recently than others, which results in some parts being rather dark while others are whiter.
The nave of Bordeaux Cathedral is 124 meters long and 23 meters tall. The western wall of the cathedral is, in contrast to the opposite side, a rather flat and simple wall. This is not a coincidence, nor is it a conscious choice by the architect. This is simply due to the fact that the old city wall once stood here and Bordeaux Cathedral had its western side right next to it.
Tour Pey Berland
Behind Bordeaux Cathedral stands a tall tower. This tower is called “Tour Pey Berland” after the archbishop who ordered its construction. The tower was built between the years 1440-1500 and serves as the main bell-tower of Bordeaux’s cathedral. The tower is a fine example of the medieval gothic architecture which was dominating during the time.
On the top of the tower stands a gilded statue shining bright. This is a statue of a Virgin with a child, known as “Notre Dame-d’Aquitaine”. The statue is turned towards the region of Medoc, which was the region where the archbishop was born.
Why visit Bordeuax Cathedral ?
Many rate Bordeaux Cathedral as the number one landmark of Bordeaux. The magnificent structure, also known as Saint Andre’s Cathedral, is one of the best examples of the medieval gothic architecture in France.
The main façade
One thing that stands out is Bordeaux Cathedral’s brilliant main façade in general, and it’s amazing rose-window in particular. The window is one of the few rose-windows which actually almost look as beautiful from the outside as from the inside.
Another feature that stands out on the façade is of course the main gate. Above the main entrance, cathedral visitors can enjoy detailed sculptures showing important events in the Christian faith. The lowest part of the gate depicts the Last Supper, the one above shows the Ascension and at the top, Christ in triumph. This gate dates back to the 14th century. The smaller gate on the opposite side of the cathedral is around 100 years older, but is in rather poor shape.
While the outside of Bordeaux Cathedral has much to offer, the same is very much true for the inside. Travelers to Bordeaux Cathedral will not only find an amazing vault, but also other interesting objects.
Bordeaux Cathedral is, for example, home to an old astronomical clock as well as several paintings by Flemish and Italian artists. It also holds a collection of illuminated manuscripts from the Middle Ages and
Renaissance period as well as a set of splendid Flemish and Spanish vestments from the 15th to the 18th centuries. If you plan to visit Bordeaux and its great cathedral, make sure to take a look inside as well.
Visitors can not only enjoy the enchanting beauty of the cathedral, but also the beauty of the region. Anyone who wishes can climb the 232 steps of “Tour Pey Berland” to its observation point, around 50 meters above ground. While it is quite a tough climb, it will give a rewarding view over the area.
Today, Bordeaux Cathedral is a national monument of France and it is listed on the UNESCO world heritage list. It’s a testament to the historical and cultural value of this magnificent building.
Bordeuax Cathedral location
The cathedral is located in Bordeaux, in western France.The building is situated at the outskirts of Bordeaux’s Old Town. The cathedral, with its two mighty 81-meter-tall spires, has a commanding view over the city.
It is easily accessible by line A and line B of the tramway de Bordeaux at Station Hôtel de Ville. For the exact location of Bordeaux Cathedral, check out the Location Map to the right.