Project Gutenberg's The Cathedrals of Northern France, by Francis Miltoun

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Title: The Cathedrals of Northern France

Author: Francis Miltoun

Illustrator: Blanche McManus

Release Date: August 27, 2009 [EBook #29820]

Language: English

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The Cathedral Series

The following, each 1 vol., library 12mo, cloth, gilt top profusely illustrated. $2.50

The Cathedrals of Northern France

The Cathedrals of Southern France

The Cathedrals of England

The following, each 1 vol., library 12mo, cloth, gilt top, profusely illustrated. Net, $2.00

The Cathedrals and Churches of the Rhine

The Cathedrals of Northern Spain

New England Building, Boston, Mass.



with eighty illustrations,
plans, and diagrams,


image not available

L. C. Page and Company

Copyright, 1903
By L. C. Page & Company
All rights reserved

Published October, 1903

Colonial Press
Electrotyped and Printed by C. H. Simonds & Co.
Boston, Mass., U. S. A.




"There are two ways of writing a book of travel: to recount the journey itself or the results of it." This is also the case with regard to any work which attempts to purvey topographical or historical information of a nature which is only to be gathered upon the spot; and, when an additional side-light is shown by reason of the inclusion, as in the present instance, of the artistic and religious element, it becomes more and more a question of judicious selection and arrangement of fact, rather than a mere hazarding of opinions, which, in many cases, can be naught but conjecture, and may, in spite of any good claim to authoritativeness, be misunderstood or perverted to an inutile end, or, what is worse, swallowed in that oblivion where lies so much excellent thought, which, lacking either balance or timeliness, has become stranded, wrecked, and practically lost to view because of its unappropriate and unattractive

To-day, the purely technical writer may have little hope of immortality unless he is broad-minded enough to take a cultivated interest in many matters outside the ken of his own particular sphere. The best-equipped person living could not produce a new "Dictionary of Architecture," and expect it to fill any niche that may be waiting for such a work, unless he brought to bear, in addition to his own special knowledge, something of the statistician, something of the professed compiler, and, if possible, a little of the not unimportant knowledge possessed by the maker and seller of books, meaning—the publisher. Given these qualifications, it is likely that he will then produce an ensemble as far in advance of what otherwise might have been as is the modern printing machine, as a factor in the dissemination of literature, as compared with the ancient scribes working to the same end.

The sentimentalist and rhapsodist in words and ideas is a dwindling factor at the present day, and a new presentation of fact is occasionally to be met with in the printed page. The best "book of travel" within the knowledge of the writer, and perhaps one of the slightest in bulk ever written in the English language, is Stevenson's "Inland Voyage"—herevii were imagination, appreciation, and a new way of seeing things, and, above all, enthusiasm; and this is the formula upon which doubtless many a future writer will build his reputation, though he may never reach the significant heights expressed by Stevenson in the picturesque wording of his wish to be made Bishop of Noyon.

This apparent digression into a critical estimate of the making of books is but another expression of the justification of the writer in the attempt herein made to set forth in attractive and enduring form certain facts and realities with regard to the grand and glorious group of cathedrals of Northern France.

They have appeared as demanding something more than the conventional guide-book, or even technical estimates as to their perfections, and the belief is that the gathering together, after this fashion, of the contemporary information not always to the hand of the general reader presents an attraction as appealing and deserving of a place on the book-shelf as would be an avowed reference work, or a volume made to sell on the strength of its bulk or ornateness, or, lacking these questionable attributes, presented in the guise of a whilom text-book, the sole province of viii which is to impart "knowledge" after a certain well recognized and set pattern.

It is believed that, regardless of much that has been said and written anent the subject, the fact remains that some considerable numbers of persons may be supposed to exist who would be glad of a further suggestion which would make possible an acquaintance with the cathedrals of France as a part of their own personal experience. To all such, then, it is to be hoped this book will appeal.

F. M.



Part I. Transition Examples
II.Notre Dame de Laon43
III.Notre Dame de Noyon49
IV.Notre Dame de Soissons54
Part II. the Grand Group
II.Notre Dame d'Amiens64
III.St. Pierre de Beauvais70
IV.Notre Dame de Rouen79
V.Basilique de St. Denis93
VI.Notre Dame de Paris101
VII.St. Julien; Le Mans113
VIII.Notre Dame de Chartres123
IX.Notre Dame de Reims132
Part III. the Cathedrals of the Loire
II.St. Croix d'Orleans150
III.St. Louis de Blois156
IV.St Gatien de Tours163
V.St. Maurice d'Angers173
VI.St. Pierre de Nantes183
Part IV. Central France
I.St. Etienne d'Auxerre191
II.St. Etienne de Bourges199
III.St. Cyr and St. Juliette de Nevers209
IV.St. Mammes de Langres218
V.Notre Dame d'Auxonne220
Part V. East of Paris
II.Notre Dame de Boulogne-sur-Mer231
III.Notre Dame de Cambrai234
IV.Notre Dame de St. Omer237
V.St. Vaast d'Arras242
VI.St. Etienne de Toul247
VII.St. Etienne, Châlons-sur-Marne251
VIII.St. Dié254
IX.St. Lazare d'Autun257
X.St. Bénigne de Dijon262
XI.Notre Dame de Senlis266
XII.St. Etienne de Meaux270
XIII.St. Pierre de Troyes274
XIV.St. Etienne de Sens279
Part VI. Western Normandy and Brittany
II.Notre Dame d'Evreux288
III.Notre Dame d'Alençon296
IV.St. Pierre de Lisieux301
V.Notre Dame de Séez305
VI.Notre Dame de Bayeux310
VII.Notre Dame de St. Lo315
VIII.Notre Dame de Coutances321
IX.St. Pierre d'Avranches326
X.St. Sol, Dol-de-Bretagne329
XI.St. Malo and St. Servan335
XIII.St. Brieuc342
XIV.St. Pol de Leon345
XV.St. Corentin de Quimper348
I.The Architectural Divisions of France353
II.A List of the Departments of France356
III.The Church in France359
IV.A List of the Larger French Churches Which Were at One Time Cathedrals    362
V.Chronology of the Chief Styles and Examples of Church Building365
VI.Dimensions and Chronology366
VII.The French Kings from Charlemagne Onward383
VIII.Measurements of the Cathedrals at Amiens and Salisbury384
IX.French Metres Reduced to English Feet385
X.A Brief Glossary of Architectural Terms386
Index391 xi


Notre Dame de NoyonFrontispiece
Notre Dame de Laon43
Notre Dame de Noyon47
Notre Dame d'Amiens64
St. Pierre de Beauvais70
Notre Dame de Rouen77
Basilique de St. Denis91
Oriflamme of St. Denis100
Notre Dame de Paris101
Notre Dame de Paris from the River107
St. Julien; Le Mans111
Notre Dame de Chartres123
Notre Dame de Reims132
St. Croix d'Orleans150
St. Louis de Blois156
St. Gatien de Tours161
Flying Buttress, St. Gatien de Tours170
St. Maurice d'Angers171
St. Pierre de Nantes183
St. Etienne d'Auxerre191
St. Etienne de Bourges197
St. Cyr and St. Juliette de Nevers209
xii St. Mammes de Langres218
Boulogne, St. Omer, Arras229
Notre Dame de Cambrai236
St. Etienne de Toul247
St. Etienne, Châlons-sur-Marne251
St. Dié254
St. Lazare d'Autun257
St. Bénigne de Dijon262
Notre Dame de Senlis266
St. Etienne de Meaux270
St. Pierre de Troyes274
St. Etienne de Sens279
Notre Dame d'Evreux289
Window Framing—Evreux295
Notre Dame d'Alençon296
St. Pierre de Lisieux299
Notre Dame de Séez305
Notre Dame de Bayeux310
Notre Dame de St. Lo315
Notre Dame de Coutances319
St. Pierre d'Avranches326
Column of St. Pierre d'Avranches328
St. Samson, Dol-de-Bretagne329
St. Malo and St. Servan.—Tréguier333
St. Brieuc342
St. Corentin de Quimper348
Notre Dame d'Amiens (diagram)366
Map of Angers367
St. Etienne de Bourges (diagram)370 xiii
Notre Dame de Laon (diagram)372
St. Julien, le Mans (diagram)373
Map of Nantes374
Notre Dame de Noyon (diagram)375
Notre Dame de Paris (diagram)376
Notre Dame de Reims (diagram)377
Flying Buttresses, Reims377
Notre Dame de Rouen (diagram)378
Basilique de St. Denis (diagrams)380
Map of Tours381
Charles VII.383
Ground Plan386
Cross Section387
Cross Section389


The Cathedrals
of Northern France


An attempt to enumerate the architectural monuments of France is not possible without due consideration being given to the topographical divisions of the country, which, so far as the early population and the expression of their arts and customs is concerned, naturally divides itself into two grand divisions of influences, widely dissimilar.

Historians, generally, agree that the country which embraces the Frankish influences in the north, as distinct from that where are spoken the romance languages, finds its partition somewhere about a line drawn from the mouth of the Loire to the Swiss lakes. Territorially, this approaches an equal division, with the characteristics of architectural forms well nigh as equally divided. Indeed, Fergusson,12 who in his general estimates and valuations is seldom at fault, thus divides it:—"on a line which follows the valley of the Loire to a point between Tours and Orleans, then southwesterly to Lyons, and thence along the valley of the Rhône to Geneva."

With such a justification, then, it is natural that some arbitrary division should be made in arranging the subject matter of a volume which treats, in part only, of a country or its memorials; even though the influences of one section may not only have lapped over into the other, but, as in certain instances, extended far beyond. As the peoples were divided in speech, so were they in their manner of building, and the most thoroughly consistent and individual types were in the main confined to the environment of their birth. A notable exception is found in Brittany, where is apparent a generous admixture of style which does not occur in the churches of the first rank; referring to the imposing structures of the Isle de France and its immediate vicinity. The "Grand Cathedrals" of this region are, perhaps, most strongly impressed upon the mind of whoever takes something more than a superficial interest in the subject as the type which embodies the loftiest 13principles of Gothic forms, and, as such, they are perhaps best remembered by that very considerable body of persons known as intelligent observers.

The strongest influences at work in the north from the twelfth century onward have been in favour of the Gothic or pointed styles, whilst, in the south, civic and ecclesiastical architecture alike were of a manifest Byzantine or Romanesque tendency. No better illustration of this is possible than to recall the fact that, when the builders of the fifteenth century undertook to complete that astoundingly impressive choir at Beauvais, they sought to rival in size and magnificence its namesake at Rome, which, under the care of the Pontiff himself, was then being projected. Thus it was that this thoroughly Gothic structure of the north was to stand forth as the indicator of local influences, as contrasted with the Italian design and plans of the St. Peter's of the south.

A discussion of the merits of any territorial claims as to the inception of what is commonly known as Gothic architecture, under which name, for the want of a more familiar term, it shall be referred to herein, is quite apart from the purport of this volume, and, as such, it were best ignored. The statement, 14however, may be made that it would seem clearly to be the development of a northern influence which first took shape after a definite form in a region safely comprehended as lying within the confines of northeastern France, the Netherlands, and the northern Rhine Provinces. Much has been written on this debatable subject and doubtless will continue to be, either as an arrow shot into the air by some wary pedant, or an equally unconvincing statement, without proof, of some mere follower in the footsteps of an illustrious, but behind the times, expert. It matters not, as a mere detail, whether it was brought from the East in imperfect form by the Crusaders, and only received its development at the hands of some ingenious northerner, or not. Its development was certainly rapid and sure in the great group which we know to-day in northern France, and, if proof were wanted, the existing records in stone ought to be sufficiently convincing to point out the fact that here Mediæval Gothic architecture received its first and most perfect development. The Primaire: the development of the style finding its best example at Paris. The Secondaire: the Perfectionnement at Reims, and its Apogee at Amiens. The Tertiaire: practically the 15beginning of the decadence, in St. Ouen at Rouen, only a shade removed from the debasement which soon followed. As to the merits or demerits of the contemporary structures of other nations, that also would be obviously of comparative unimportance herein except so far as a comparison might once and again be made to accentuate values.

The earliest art triumphs of the French may well be said to have been in the development and perfectionnement of Mediæval (Gothic) architecture. Its builders planned amply, wisely, and well, and in spite of the interruptions of wars, of invasions, and of revolutions, there is nowhere to be found upon the earth's surface so many characteristic attributes of Mediæval Gothic architecture as is to be observed in this land, extending from the Romanesque types of Fréjus, Périgueux and Angoulême to that classical degeneration commonly called the Renaissance, a more offensive example of which could hardly be found than in the conglomerate structure of St. Etienne du Mont at Paris, or the more modern and, if possible, even more ugly Cathedral Churches at Arras, Cambrai, or Rennes in the north.

There may be attractive Italian types in16 existence out of Italy; but the fact is that, unless they are undoubted copies of a thoroughly consistent style to the very end, they impress one as being out of place in a land where the heights of its own native style are so exalted.

Gothic, regardless of the fact as to whether it be the severe and unornamental varieties of the Low Countries or the exaggerations of the most ornately flamboyant style, appears not only to please the casual and average observer, but the thorough student of ecclesiastical architecture as well. It has come to be the accepted form throughout the world of what is best representative of the thought and purpose for which a great church should stand.

With the Renaissance we have not a little to do, when considering the cathedrals of France. Seldom, if ever, in the sixteenth century did the builder or even the restorer add aught but Italian accessories where any considerable work was to be accomplished. Why, or how, the Renaissance ever came into being it is quite impossible for any one to say, sans doubt, as is the first rudimentary invention of Gothic itself. Perhaps it was but the outcome of a desire for something different, if not new; but in the process the taste of the people fell to a low degree. Architecture may be said to17 have been all but divorced from life, and, while the fabric is a dead thing of itself, it is a very living and human expression of the tendencies of an era. The Renaissance sought to revive painting and sculpture and to incorporate them into architectural forms. Whether after a satisfactory manner or not appears to have been no concern with the revivers of a style which was entirely unsuited in its original form to a northern latitude. That which answered for the needs and desires of a southern race could not be boldly transplanted into another environment and live without undergoing an evolution which takes time, a fact not disproven by later events.

The Italians themselves were the undoubted cause of the debasement of the classical style, evidences having crept into that country nearly a hundred years before the least vestiges were known in either France or Germany, the Netherlands, or England, and which, though traceable, had left but slight impress in Spain. It is doubtless not far wrong to attribute its introduction into France as the outcome of the wanderings in Italy of Charles VIII., in the latter years of the XV. century. As a result of this it is popularly supposed that it was introduced into the domestic 18architecture of the nobles who had accompanied the king. Here it found perhaps its most satisfying expression; in those magnificent chateaux of the Loire, and the neighbourhood of Tours and Blois, ever a subject for sentimental praise. One would not seek to pass condemnation upon the application of revived classic features where they were but the expression of an individual taste, as in a chateau whose owner so chose to build and embellish it. Certainly no more splendid edifices of their kind are known than the magnificent establishments at Blois, Chenonceau, Chambord, or Chaumont. The style appears, however, out of place; an admixture meaningless in itself and in its application when, with a Gothic foundation bequeathed them, builders sought to incorporate into a cathedral such palpable inconsistencies as was frequently done.

The building of the chateaux was perhaps the first anti-Gothic step in France and proved to be an influence which spread not slowly, as to decorative detail at least, and soon of itself established a decided non-Gothic type.

It was but natural that the cathedral builders should have followed to some extent this new influence. The Church was ever seeking to strengthen its popularity, the bishops 19ensconced themselves in their cathedral cities as snugly as did a feudal lord in his castle, and their emulation of wealth outside of the Church was but an effort to keep their status on a plane with that of the other power which also demanded allegiance of the people. It is to be regretted that they did not pass this manifestation by, or at least not encumbered an otherwise consistent Gothic fabric with superimposed meaningless detail. Such decorative embellishments as are represented by the tomb of Louis XII. at St. Denis, and the tombs of the cardinals at Rouen, may be considered characteristic, though they bear earlier dates by some twenty years than the south portal of Beauvais, which is thoroughly the best of Gothic, or St. Maclou at Rouen, which, though highly florid, is without a trace of anti-Gothic. The extreme (though not a cathedral church) may be seen at St. Etienne du Mont, wherein the effort is made to incorporate large masses of pseudo-classical decoration with Gothic, and, alas, with sad effect.

For the most part, the Gothic cathedrals of France, as such, while closely related to each other in their design and arrangements, have little to do with those which lie without the confines of the country, either in general 20features or in detail. The type is distinctively one which stands by its own perfections. In size, while in many instances not having the length of nave of several in England, they have nearly always an equal, if not a greater, width and an almost invariably greater height, though not equal in superficial area to St. Peter's in Italy, the Dom at Cologne, or even the cathedral at Seville in Spain.

Such Romanesque types as are to be seen to the northward of the Loire are mostly found in the smaller churches of Brittany, while the early transition type, so familiar throughout the Netherlands, is, in France, usually seen in the neighbourhood of the frontiers of the Low Countries.

"Les Grandes Cathédrales" of the north are distinctly those of Paris, Amiens, Reims, Rouen, Beauvais, and Chartres; and it is to them that reference must continually be made; while the severely plain transitory types of Noyon or Soissons, or the more effective development of Laon, and the flamboyant structures of Troyes and Nantes, at least lean toward the decadence.

The difficulty of assigning ranks to these monumental cathedrals is made the greater by reason of the fact that to-day it is with but21 one people that we have to reckon, so far as their temperament and environment is concerned. Since feudal times the movement has ever been toward one nation, one people, and one view, different from that presented in the middle ages.

For centuries after the break of Roman power it had been mostly one local influence against another which prevented perfect cohesion to any national spirit, and thus it was that the tendencies of the cathedral builders, though Roman as to their teaching and religion, and doubtless, in many instances, with regard to their birth as well, followed no special style until the era of Gothic development. Unconsciously, transitory types crept in, until suddenly throughout northern Europe there bloomed forth within less than a century of time the so-called Gothic in all its splendour, and with scarce a century between the commencement and the completion of some of the most notable of the group. The Romanesque types which still lingered in Brittany, though well worthy of special consideration to-day, are unimportant and in a way insignificant when compared with the grand group.

To most of us it will be impossible to 22conjure up any more significant thought with regard to mediæval church architecture than that fostered by the memories of acquaintanceship with these examples of north France; an opinion which is further strengthened when it is also recalled that they are representative of the first really national artistic expression. For this reason alone, if for no other, the hasty critics who have so handily claimed precedence elsewhere, might profitably review the facts of the circumstance which led to so universal an adoption of the full-blown style in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

The Romanesque peoples were confined southwards of mid-France at the time of the withdrawal of the Roman legions, while, in the north, the conquering Franks sought to wipe out every vestige of their past influence; hence it may be considered that the new manner of building had everything in favour of its speedy growth. It was thus definitely assured of a warm welcome, and, following in the footsteps of Clovis himself, the rulers were more than willing to aid what they believed might be a strengthening influence, politically, as well as morally.

The style may be justly said to be a natural and growthful expression of a race, and more23 significant than all else is the fact that nowhere, not even on the Rhine, which with northern France claims the origin of the style, is to be found any single example equalling in any like measure the perfections of "Les Grandes Cathédrales Françaises," though it be recalled that in many instances the German buildings were planned and often erected by French architects and artisans.

Among the two thousand or more "Monuments Historiques" paternally cared for by the French government and under the direct control of the Ministry of Public Instruction and the Beaux Arts, none are of the relative importance, historically or artistically, of the Grand Cathedrals. Certain objects, classed as megalithic and antique remains, may be the connecting links between the past and the present by which the antiquarian weaves the threads of his historical lore; but neither these nor the reliques which have been dug from the ground or untombed from later constructive elements, all of which are generously included in the general scheme by the Department of Beaux Arts, which has provided a fund for their preservation and care, have one tithe of the appealing interest which these great churches bespeak on behalf of the 24contemporary life of the times in which they were built, reflecting as they do many correlated events, and forming, in the interweaving of the history of their inception and construction, an epitome of well-nigh all the contemporary events of their environment, as well as the greater parts which they may have played in general affairs of state.

The best example of a part so played is that of the cathedral at Reims, which saw the crowning within its walls of nearly every monarch of France from the time of Philippe Augustus (1173) to that of Charles X. (1823). The monarchs of France, a long and picturesque line, have ever sought to ally the Church on their side, and right well they have been served, not ignoring, of course, certain notable lapses. In the main, however, the rulers and the people alike, whatever may have been the periodical dissensions, combined the forces which made possible the projection and erection of these noble examples of an art which, in the Gothic forms at least, here came to its greatest and most interesting phase.

Invasion, revolution, and the stress of weather and time, all played their part in the general desecrations which sooner or later followed; far the most serious of these visible25 damages reflected upon us to-day being the malpractices occurring at the Revolution, whether at the hands of a sans culotte or of the most respectable of bourgeois, led away by the excitement of revolt. The depredations were irreparable; they razed, burned, or ruthlessly shattered shrines, statues, or even reliquaries, as at Reims, where the Sainted Ampulla, which contained the miraculous oil brought by a dove from heaven, now preserved in reconstructed fragments in the sacristy, was dashed to pieces in a fury of uncontrollable wrath.

The paucity of sculptured decoration in certain places only too plainly designed for it is, too, frequently painfully apparent. Such sculptured decoration and glass as were easily to hand met with perhaps the most ready spoliation, while here and there, from some miraculous reason, a gem was left entire, though likely enough in a bruised and shattered setting.

This is what befell most of the great churches, and, for this reason, any work treating of these architectural glories of France must make due allowance in hazarding opinions as to the merit or lack of merit of any particular example as it now exists, as 26compared with what it may have been as it once was, or had it been completed in accordance with the original design.

In local and cathedral archives much valuable and interesting information exists, treating in this very manner such embellishments as may to-day be lacking; but unfortunately such facts are often buried in a mass of other irrelevant material which would make its discovery unusually difficult to any but a very learned local antiquarian. In this same connection, also, there is a dearth of illustrative material which can be depended upon as to minutiæ or accuracy of detail. Hence it is possible to deal only with such general facts as may be supported by the best contemporary information based upon the researches of others. It may be well to note here, however, a fact which is often overlooked, namely, that the written records of France are not only very complete and exhaustive, but, with respect to Paris itself, to cite an example, the documentary history, consecutive and exact, from the time of the decline of Roman power is preserved intact,—a record which is perhaps not so true of any other large city in Europe.

In dealing with the cathedrals of the north, territorially, we have to consider those 27examples which are generally accepted as being all that a cathedral church should be. Of the first rank are those gathered not far from the confines of the mediæval Isle of France. They too, are best representative of the true Gothic spirit, while the southernmost examples, those of Dijon and Besançon, are of manifest Romanesque or Byzantine conception. Each, too, is somewhat reminiscent of the early German manner of building, the latter in respect to the double apse, which is often found across the Rhine, but seldom seen in France. The most northerly of all is at St. Omer, where are the somewhat battered remains of a satisfactory Gothic cathedral, although Amiens, not far to the south, is perhaps the ideal cathedral when considered from a general point merely. For the western representative, a line running due west from Paris almost into the Atlantic finds at Quimper, a small port fifteen miles from the sea, the Cathedral of St. Corentin, which, though not as lofty, is more of the manner of building of the Isle of France than one might suppose would be the case here in this outpost of Brittany, where are found so many evidences of Romanesque influences, retained long after they had been given over elsewhere.28

Such, then, are the extremes of latitude and of architectural style which combine to give variety to the interest which is always aroused by the contemplation of the masterworks of any of the arts, where outside and contiguous influences have something in common therewith.

As a type to admire, there is no doubt but that the cathedral that possesses an apsidal termination of the easterly or choir end, as is nearly the universal custom in France, has charms and beauties which may be latent, but which are simply winning, when it comes to picturing the same structure with the squared-off ends so common in England.

It was Stevenson, was it not, who wrote of the satisfaction with which one always looks upon the east end of a French cathedral, "flanging out as it often does in sweeping terraces, and settling down broadly upon the earth as though it were meant to stay." Certainly nothing of the sort is to be more admired than the rare view of the choir buttresses of Notre Dame at Paris, likened unto "kneeling angels with half-spread wings;" the delicate and symmetrical choir buttresses of Amiens; the sheer fall of Beauvais; or the triply effective termination of the one-time cathedral of29 Noyon, which falls away in three gracefully gentle slopes to the ground. Again Stevenson's power as a descriptive writer lingers in our memory. He says, of no cathedral in particular, "where else is to be found so many elegant proportions growing one out of the other, and all together in one?... Though I have heard a considerable variety of sermons, I have never yet heard one that was so expressive as a cathedral. 'Tis the best preacher itself, preaches day and night, not only telling you of man's art and aspirations in the past, but convicting your own soul of ardent sympathies; or rather, like all good preachers, it sets you preaching to yourself,—and every man is his own doctor of divinity in the last resort."

To best estimate the charms and values of these architectural monuments one should consider; first, the history and topography of their environment,—i. e. as to why and when they may have been planned and built; secondly, their personality, as it were,—who were their founders, their patrons, their bishops; thirdly, the functions in which they may have partaken, any significant events which may have passed within their walls or centred within their sees; and fourthly, the artistic beauties of their fabric and its embellishments.30

In most cases all of these values are so interwoven and indissolubly linked with the growth of the structure itself from its very earliest foundations that it is hardly possible to detail this information in true chronological order. The picturesque and romantic elements, of which there is not a little; the sordid and baneful, of which we may wish there were less; and the splendid ceremonials of Church and State; all go to make up a chronicle which no account, of even a special nature, could afford to neglect.

The picturesque elements of the conversion and baptism of Clovis by St. Remi at Reims in 496, where, on the site of the present cathedral, he was adjured to "revere that which thou didst burn and burn that which thou didst revere," and the crowning on the same spot of Charles VII. in 1429 through the efforts of the Maid, well represent these phases. The meanness and the unjustness of her later trial and condemnation in the Abbey Church of St. Ouen at Rouen is another. The affairs of state consist chiefly of the coronation ceremonies which mostly took place at Reims, and present a splendid record. Of the monarchs from 1173 onwards who were not here crowned, Henry IV. was crowned at Chartres;31 Napoleon I., at Paris; Louis Philippe, Louis XVIII., and Napoleon III. were not crowned at all.

Throughout this continuity of state events these great churches were performing their natural functions of the dissemination of the Word. Jealousies and bickerings took place, to be sure, but in the main there was harmony, if rivalry did exist; else it were not possible that so many of these splendid monuments would have endured to remind us of their past as well as present existence.

Certain of the sees were merged into greater ones, and others were abandoned altogether. In this connection there is a curious circumstance with regard to the one-time Bishop of Bethléem, who, driven from the Holy Land, was given a see at Clamecy, which see comprehended only the village in which he resided. What remains of the former cathedral is now an adjunct to a hotel. The rearrangement of political divisions of France after the Revolution was the further excuse for establishing but one diocese to a department, until to-day there are but eighty-four sees, administered by sixty-seven bishops and seventeen archbishops.

The itinerary of the conventional tour of the32 Continent usually keeps well to the beaten track, and so does the conventional traveller. He does not always get over to Reims, and often does not stop en route at Amiens; seldom visits Beauvais, and, unless he specially sets out to "tour" Brittany, a popular enough amusement of the lean of purse in these days, knows little of the unique charms of Tréguier, Quimper, or even of Le Mans, with its sublime choir, or of Evreux. As for even a nodding acquaintance with Noyon or Soissons, two of the most convincingly beautiful and impressive transitory types, they might as well be in the wilds of Kamchatka, though they are both situated in a region well travelled on all sides; while Laon, not far distant, is hardly known at all, except as a way station en route to Switzerland. The cathedrals of mid-France are, it is to be feared, even less known than would on first thoughts seem probable. A certain amount of sentimentality attaches itself to the chateaux of the Loire, and some acquaintance with their undeniable pleasing attributes is the portion of most travellers; but, again, such cathedral cities as Besançon, Nantes, and Langres are off the well-worn road, and their cathedrals might be myths so far as a general acquaintance with them is33 concerned; while the splendid churches of Bourges, Nevers, and Autun are likewise practically unknown to the casual traveller.

Tours, Orleans, and Chartres alone appear to be the only recognized representatives of this section of France which have hitherto attracted due attention.

With the southland this volume does not deal; that is a subject to be considered quite by itself,—and significantly, more real interest has been shown with respect to the architectural monuments of Avignon, Arles, Nîmes, Le Puy, Périgueux, Carcassonne, and Poitiers than to those of the Midi. Is it that the days of cheap travel and specially conducted tours, when ten or fifteen guineas will take one to the Swiss or Italian lakes, or e'en to Rome and Florence, has caused this apparent neglect of the country lying between? Certainly our forefathers travelled more wisely, but then prices and means of locomotion were on quite a different scale in those days, and not infrequently they were obliged to confine their travels and observations to more restricted areas.

Perhaps the most lucid arrangement of architectural species is that given by De Caumont's "Abécêdaire d'Architecture," which34 divides the country ethnologically into Brittany; Normandy; Flanders, including Artois and Picardy; Central France (the Isle of France, Champagne, Orleanois, Main, Anjou, Touraine, and Berri); and Burgundy, comprehending the former divisions of Franche Comté, Lorraine, Alsace (now Belfort), Nivernois, Bourbonnois, and Lyonnois. Of the above divisions, only that of the Isle of France with La Brie was originally held by the Crown. The political divisions throughout France now number eighty-seven departments, taking their names from the principal topographical features, and replacing in 1790 the thirty-two mediæval provinces, each of which had their own characteristics of social and political life, and of which each in turn progressed, stagnated, or fell backward according to local or periodical conditions. Both the arts of peace and of war have left an ineradicable impress. In the thirteenth century the various provinces became welded together into one perfect whole under Philippe Augustus and the sainted Louis, but retained to no small extent, even as they do unto to-day, their distinctive local characteristics.

Because of its cathedrals alone, the Isle of France stands preëminent among the 35provinces for each of the thirteen provincial styles of architecture which are allocated by the Société des Monuments Historiques. A comparatively small and unified province, it comprehends within and contiguous to its borders more of the attributes and principles of a consistent Mediæval architectural style than is elsewhere to be observed. From Rouen on the west to Reims on the east, northward to Amiens and southwesterly to Chartres, are grouped the show pieces of the world's Gothic architecture. Not alone with the respect to the Grand Cathedrals is this region so richly endowed, but also because of the smaller and less important, but no less attractive or interesting examples of Noyon, Senlis, Laon, Soissons, with their one-time cathedral churches and other varied ecclesiastical and secular edifices.

Beauvais, Gisors, Gourney, Cires-les-Mello, Creil, Royamont, Nogent-les-Vierges, Villers-St.-Pol, indeed nearly every village and town within the royal domain, present values and comparisons which place nearly all of its contemporary structures, be they large or small, at a grand height above those of other less prolific sections. Lest it be thought that this statement is drawn largely, and that fineness36 and balance of estimate are lacking, it suffices to state that it is not alone from study and research, but from frequent personal intimacies that the region has ever proved an inexhaustible store of architectural values, and one which most well-known authorities, with one accord, place in the very first rank.

Arthur Young, than whom no more perspicuous observer has ever chronicled his impressions, wrote (1704) that to see the best of France, the part most varied in topography, and resourceful and attractive in its monuments, one should land at Havre and follow the sinuosity of the Seine to Paris, thence the highroad to Moulins and on to the Rhône at Valence, an outline which somewhat approaches the limitations of territory of which this book treats. To be sure, he wrote of economic and agricultural conditions, and he mostly made his pertinent observations on land holdings, stock keeping, and hedgerows, or rather that lack of them which is so apparent throughout France; but these details of themselves only suggest more complete evidences of the existing forces which indicate the growth of the wealth and power which has made this region so rich in its 37architectural memorials of the past, and which ought to more than compensate for any lack of scenic grandeur.

It is to be regretted, of course, that none of these larger cathedrals are to be seen to-day in their completely perfected forms. To what extent would not the glories of Reims, of Amiens, of Beauvais, or of Rouen, be enhanced, were it possible for us to even imagine their splendour, were they possessed of the symmetry and well-favoured situation of the Dom at Cologne? And so it is that we can but feel regret when we mentally note the lack of nave at Beauvais, of spires at Bourges, and, yet again, regret even with more pain the monstrousness of the cast-iron flêche which has been added to the central tower at Rouen. But these are after all minor imperfections—seldom, if ever, in aught but pleasurable anticipation, do we see in the masterpieces of art or nature a perfect unity; so why seek to negative their virtues by futile criticism? It would seem to be all-sufficient that such details, sins of omission or commission, should be noted merely, that we may pass on to other charms which must compel our allegiance.38

When we visit the cathedrals of the Isle of France, we are at once in the midst of the best examples of French Gothic architecture, or of French Mediæval architecture, if the phrase is to be preferred.39

Transition Examples





Soissons, with Noyon and Laon, all within perhaps thirty miles of one another, may be said to best represent the nurturing and development of the early Gothic of France. These simple and somewhat plain types exemplify the style which was in vogue at the same time in the Low Countries. It is good Gothic, to be sure,—at least, good as to its planning,—but without that ornateness or lightness known to-day as characteristic of the distinctive French type, which so early developed boldly and beautifully.

One observes the resemblances in style between the notable cathedral at Tournai, in Belgium, the neighbouring types of French Flanders, and the cathedrals of this trinity of French towns lying contiguous thereto, Noyon itself being for long interdependent with the see of Tournai. Nevertheless, it is a beautiful type which was cradled here in the42 country called, by Cæsar, Suessiones; and difficult it would be to attempt to assign preëminence to any one edifice.

Noyon, without a doubt, has the greatest charm of environment, and is of itself in every way a pleasing and satisfying example of what should most truly inspire and impress us in a cathedral. Stevenson describes it as being "the happiest inspiration of mankind, a thing as specious as a statue at the first glance, yet, on examination, as lively and interesting as a forest in detail. The height of its spires cannot be taken by trigonometry: they measure absurdly short, but how tall they are to the admiring eye.... I sat outside of my hotel and the sweet groaning thunder of the organ floated out of the church like a summons";—and much more of the same sort, all of which tells us that, once we find ourselves on a plane of intimacy with a great church, we continually receive new impressions and inspirations, and it is in this vein that one who has known this group of simple but fascinating churches on their own ground, so to put it, can but seek to convey the idea that it is good that we have such contrasting types as a relief and an antidote to an appetite which otherwise might become sated.43




For over twelve hundred years, until the see was abolished at the Revolution, Laon was the seat of a bishop who in point of rank was second only to the primate at Reims. Crowning the apex of a long isolated hill, upon which the entire town, now a fortress of the third class, is situated, the cathedral of Notre Dame de Laon, still so called locally, has endured since the beginning of the twelfth century, and may be considered a thoroughly representative transition example.

The present structure is on the site of one44 burned in 1112, and during comparatively recent years has been entirely restored.

Its crowning glory is in the disposition and number of its fine group of towers: two flank the western façade, and are rectangular at the base, dwindling to a smaller polygon, which is flanked with corner belfries and pierced by a tall lancet in the central structure, showing a wonderful lightness and open effect. A curious and unique feature of these towers is the addition of four oxen in carven stone perched high aloft in the belfries. These sculptured animals may be merely another expression of symbols of superstition, and if so are far more pleasing than some of the hideous and monstrous gargoyles ofttimes seen. Two other towers, each 190 feet in height, adjoin the transepts, to each of which is attached a double-storied, apsidal, ancient chapel. Two similarly projected towers are lacking. The lantern is square, with a shallow, conical, modern roof.

In the transition type Romanesque influences were evidently dying hard. The Gothic was seldom full blown, and at Laon shows but the merest trace of pointedness to the arches of the western façade, either in the portals or in the higher openings.45

The lack of a circular termination to the choir is but another indication of a link with a transitory past; an undeniably false note and one very unusual in France, the choir being of the squared-off variety so common in England. This may be coincident with the English custom of the time, or it may be directly due to a local English influence;—most probably the latter, inasmuch as an English prelate held the see for a time, and the city, in the early fifteenth century, was for a number of years in English hands. It is significant that in some of the smaller churches of the diocese is to be noted the same treatment.

The rose windows of both the eastern and western façades are Gothic in inception and treatment, and are unusually acceptable specimens of these supreme efforts of the French mediæval builders, the glass therein being distinctly good, though perhaps not remarkable.

The transepts are rectangular and, with the ensemble of the entire structure, were their towers completed, there would be produced, not only a unique example, but a towering effect only a degree less interesting than the perfectly proportioned pyramidal form so much admired in the perfectly developed Gothic.46

The interior is equally attractive with the exterior, and, though the church is not by any means of remarkable dimensions, it presents in its appropriate disposition of detail a far more roomy and pleasing arrangement than many a larger example.

The transepts are divided into a nave and side aisles, the columns which partition them, like those of the nave proper, being cylindrical and of massive proportions, which, however, lighten as they rise to the vaulting. They are unusually symmetrical when viewed together, the capitals of the lower series being ornately carved, each of a varying design.

Above the aisles are lofty galleries. The nave chapels were added in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The stained glass, like that of the rose windows, is in the nave distinctly good, particularly that of the lower range on the southerly side. The pulpit, of carved wood of the Renaissance period, is not of the importance and quality of this class of work to be seen across the Rhine border.

The former Bishop's palace, adjoining the left of the choir, is now the Palais de Justice. A few remains of a former Gothic cloister are to be remarked, surrounded by the later construction.47

Notre Dame de Noyon





In Notre Dame at Noyon, Notre Dame at Laon, and the cathedral at Tournai, is to be noted the very unusual division of the interior elevation into four ranges of openings, this effect being only seen at Paris and Rouen among the large cathedrals. Noyon and Laon borrowed, perhaps, from Tournai, where building was commenced at least a century before either of the French examples first took form. It is perhaps not essential that such an arrangement be made in order to give an effect of loftiness, which might not otherwise exist; indeed, it is a question if the reverse is not actually the case, though the effect is undeniably one of grandeur. Soissons, too, may rightly enough be included in the group, though the points of resemblance in this case are confined to the rising steps to either transept, coupled with the joint possession of circumambient aisles, and at least the suggested intent of 50circular apsidal terminations to the transepts; though it appears that here this plan was ultimately changed and one transept finished off with the usual rectangular ending.

In this Noyon plainly excels, and there is found nowhere else in France the perfect trefoil effect produced by the apsidal terminations of both transepts and choir. So far as the transepts are concerned, they are of the manner affected by the builders on the Rhine, notably in the Minster at Bonn, at Cologne, and again at Neuss in the neighbourhood of Cologne. With Noyon apparently nothing is lacking either in the perfections of its former cathedral or in its immediate environment. The country round about is thoroughly agricultural, and free from the soot and grime of a manufacturing community. Amid a setting at once historic and romantic, it has for neighbours the chateaux of Coucy and Perrifonds, with Compiègne and Chantilly not far distant. The town is unprogressive enough, and the vast barge traffic of the Oise sidles by, not a mile away, as if it were all unconscious of the existence of any signs of modern civilization. As a matter of fact, it hardly is modern. The accommodation for the weary traveller is of a satisfying and gratifying quality,51 as the comparatively few visitors to the place well know. The city is an ancient foundation, having been known as the Noviodunum of the Romans. Here Charlemagne was crowned King of the Franks in 768, and Hugh Capet elected king in 987; and here, in an important stronghold of Catholicism, as it had long been, Calvin was born in 1509.

Altogether there is much to be found here to charm and stimulate our imagination. As a type the cathedral stands preëminent. As to detail and state of preservation, they, too, leave little to be desired, though the appreciative author of a charming and valuable work treating of a good half hundred or more of the "architectural glories of France" bemoans the lack of a satisfying daily "Office." This may be a fault, possibly, if such be really the case. The fabric of the church has stood the wear and tear of time and stress exceeding well. Built in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, it is a thoroughly harmonious and pleasing whole, and we can well believe all that may have been said of it by the few able critics who have passed judgment upon its style, as well as the sentiment conveyed by the phrase that it is "one of the most graceful and lovable of all the cathedrals of France." The52 bishopric was suppressed after the Revolution, and the church is now a dependency of the Bishop of Beauvais.

The elongated belfry towers are perhaps the first and most noticeable feature; secondly, the overhanging porch with its supporting frontal buttresses; thirdly, the before-mentioned tri-apsidal effect of the easterly end; and, last but not least, the general grouping of the whole structure in combination with the buildings which are gathered about its haunches, though with no suspicion of a detracting element as in some sordid and crowded cities, where, in spite of undeniable picturesqueness, is presented a squalor and poverty not creditable either to the city of its habitation or to the cathedral authorities themselves. From every point of vantage the steeples of Notre Dame de Noyon add the one ingredient which makes a unity of the entire ensemble,—a true old-world atmosphere, a town seen in not too apparent a state of unrepair and certainly not a degenerate.

The interior presents no less striking or noble features. It is not stupendous or remarkably awesome; but it is grand, with a subtleness which is inexpressible. Round and pointed arches are intermixed, and there is a53 notable display of the round variety in the upper ranges of the quadrupled elevation of the nave, the lightness, which might otherwise have been marred, being preserved through the employment of a series of simple lancets in the clerestory of the choir. Rearward of the south transept are the chapter-house and the scanty remains of a Gothic cloister, where a somewhat careworn combination of the forces of nature and art have culminated in giving an unusually old-world charm to this apparently neglected gem, as well representative of early French Gothic as any in existence to-day.54



Soissons, the other primitive example, is at once a surprise and a disappointment. From the railway, on entering the town, one is highly impressed with the grouping of a sky-piercing, twin-spired structure of ample and symmetrical proportions; and at some distance therefrom is seen another building, possibly enough of less importance. Curiously, it is the cathedral which is the less imposing, and, until one is well up with the beautifully formed spires, he hardly realizes that they represent all that is left of the majestic Abbey of St. Jean des Vignes, where Becket spent nine long years. It is a mere bit of stage scenery, with height and breadth, but no thickness. It is a pity that such a charming structure as this noble building must once have been is now left to crumble. The magnificent rose window, or rather the circular opening which it once occupied, is now but a mere orifice, of great pro55portions, but destitute of glazing. The entire confines of the building, which crowns a slight eminence at the entrance of the town, are now given over to the use of the military authorities.

A little to the right lies the one-time cathedral of Notre Dame, Soissons being another of the ci-devant bishoprics suppressed after the Revolution by the redistribution which gave but one diocese to a Department. Though not unpleasing, its façade is marred by its lack of symmetry, while the tower, which rises on the right 215 feet, is not sufficiently striking to redeem what otherwise is an ordinary enough ensemble. The tower to the left was never raised above where it now ends, and the façade, lacking the charm which the edifice might otherwise have had, were the towers as complete and well proportioned as are those of a later date which grace the remains of the old abbey, will be for ever wanting until this completion be carried out.

Romanesque is plainly noticeable in mixture with the early Gothic. The three portals are not remarkable, or uniform, and are severely plain, and, though of a noticeable receding depth, are bare and unpeopled. A well-proportioned rose window, though not so large as56 many in the greater cathedrals, has graceful radiating spokes and good glass. This is flanked by two unpierced lancet-pointed window-frames which but accentuate the plainness of the entire façade. Above is an arcaded gallery which was intended to cross the entire front, but which now stops where the gable joins the northerly tower. Restoration has been carried on, not sparingly, but in good taste, with the result that, in spite of its newness at the present writing, it appears as a consistent and thoroughly conscientious piece of work, and not the mere patchwork that such repairs usually suggest.

The guide-books tell one that Soissons is famous for its trade in haricot beans, and incidentally for the beans themselves, and for the great number of sieges which it has undergone, the last being that conducted by the Germans, who took possession in October, 1870, after a bombardment of three days.

Fergusson makes the statement, which is well taken, that the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Soissons, while not in any sense meriting the term magnificent, presents, in its interior arrangements, at least, a most symmetrical and harmonious ensemble. A curious though not unpleasing effect is produced57 by the blackened pointing of the interior masonry, of piers, walls, and vaulting alike. An unusual feature is the circumambient aisles to the transepts and the suggestion that a trefoil apsidal termination was originally thought of, when the rebuilding was taken in hand in the twelfth century. The transept is so completed on the south side, which possesses also an ancient portal, and, with the two at Noyon so done, presents a feature which is as much a relief from the usual rectangle as are the rounded choirs of Continental churches a beauty in advance of the accepted English manner of treatment of this detail.

The choir rises loftily above the transepts and nave, and, while the general proportions are not such as to suggest undue narrowness, the effect is of much greater height than really exists. This, too, is apparent when viewing the abside itself.

The Chapel of the Rosary in the north transept is overtopped by an effective arrangement of perpendicular window-framing, supporting a beautiful rose window of the spoke variety. It is safe to say that, had the entire space provided been glazed, the effect of lighting would have been unique among the cathedrals of the world.58

The only other decorative embellishments are some tapestries, a few well-preserved tombs, and an "Adoration" supposed to be by Rubens, which is perhaps more likely to be genuine, because of the situation of the church near unto Flanders, than many other examples whose claims have even less to support them.


The Grand Group





Expert opinion, so called, may possibly differ as to just what, or what not, cathedrals of France should be included in this term. The French proverb known of all guide-book makers should give a clue as to those which at least may not be left out.

"Clocher de Chartres, Nef d'Amiens
Choeur de Beauvais et Portale de Reims."

Rouen, Paris, and Le Mans should be included, as well possibly as the smaller but no less convincing examples at Séez, Sens, Laon, and Troyes, as being of an analogous manner of building, and, by all that goes to make up the components of a really great church, Bourges might well be considered in the same group. For practical and divisional purposes it is perhaps well to compose an octette of the churches of the Isle of France and those lying contiguous thereto, Paris, Beauvais, St. Denis,62 Amiens, Reims, Rouen, Chartres, and Le Mans, which may be taken together as representative of the greatest art expression of the Gothic builders, as well as being those around which centred the most significant events of Church and State. To attempt to catalogue even briefly the charms and notable attributes of even the first four, would require more than the compass of several volumes the size of the present, whereas the attempt made herein is merely to lead with as little digression as possible up to the chief glories for which they are revered, and to suggest some of the many important and epoch-making events intimately associated therewith. More would be impossible, manifestly, unless the present work were to transcend the limitations which were originally planned for it, hence it is with no halting assertion that we enter boldly upon that chronology or résumé which, in a way, presents a marshalled array of correlated facts which the reader may care to follow in further detail in the list of bibliographical references included at the end of the volume.

Certain facts relating to the history and the architectural features generally of these great cathedrals are known to all, and are chronicled with more or less completeness in many 63valuable and authoritative works, ranging from the humble though necessary guide-book to the extensive if not exhaustive architectural work of reference. The facts given herein are such, then, as are often overlooked in the before-mentioned classes of works, and as such are presented, not so much with the avowed object of imparting information, as to remind the reader of the wealth of interest that exists with relation to these shrines of religious art. This seems to be the only preamble possible to the chapters which attempt to even classify these magnificent buildings, wherein much is attempted and so little accomplished in recounting their varied attractions. Let this explanation stand, therefore, for any seeming paucity of description which may exist.

Le Bon Dieu d'Amiens




The ever impressive Cathedral of Notre Dame d'Amiens is in most English minds the beau ideal of a French cathedral. It is contemporary with Salisbury in period, at least, but it has little to remind one of the actual features of this edifice. Often associated therewith, as a similar type, it has little in reality in common, except that each is representative of a supreme style. Beyond this it is hard to see how any expert, archæologist, antiquary, or what not, would seek to discover relationship between two such distinct types. Salisbury is the ideal English cathedral as to situation, surroundings, and general charm and grace. This no one would attempt to deny; but, in another environment, how different might it not appear,—as for instance placed beside Amiens, where in one particular alone, the mere height of nave and choir, it immediately dwindles into insignificance. Under



such conditions its graceful spire becomes dwarfed and attenuated. Need more be said?—The writer thinks not, since the present work does not deal with the comparative merits of any two cathedrals or of national types; but the suggestion should serve to demonstrate how impossible it is for any writer, however erudite he may be, to attempt to assign precedence, or even rank, among the really great architectural works of an era. This observation is true of many other examples of art expression.

The cathedral at Amiens is dedicated to the Virgin, and is built in the general form of a Latin cross. Over the principal doorway of the south portal, on one of the upper plinths, may be seen the inscription which places the date of the present edifice.

En l'an`que l'Incarnatio valait mcc
et xx., ifu:
rimisit: le première
piere: iasis,... le cors.... Robert...

The work was undertaken by one Robert de Luzarche, in the episcopate of Evrard de Fouilloy, the forty-fifth Bishop of Amiens, whose tomb may be seen just within the western doorway, and occupies the site of other66 structures which had been variously devastated by fire or invasion in 850, 1019, 1137, and 1218. For fifty years the work went on expeditiously under various bishops and their architects. "Saint" Louis, Blanche of Castille, Philippe the Hardy, and the city fathers all aided the work substantially, and the fabric speedily took on its finished form. Through the later centuries it still preserved its entity, and even during the Revolution its walls escaped destruction and defilement through the devotion of its adherents.

In later days important work and restoration has been carried out under the paternal care and at the expense of the state; and the city itself only recently contributed 45,000 francs for the clearing away of obstructing buildings.

A French writer has said, "It is only with the aid of a Bible and a history of theology that it is possible to elucidate the vast iconographic display of the marvellous west front of the cathedral at Amiens." Like Reims, its three portals of great size are peopled with a throng of statues. The central portal, known as the Porche du Souvenir, contains the statue of the Good God of Amiens; that on the right is called after the Mère de Dieu, and that on67 the left for St. Fermin the Martyr. Above the gables is the "Gallery of Kings," just below the enormous rose windows. Above rise the two towers of unequal loftiness, and lacking, be it said, thickness in its due proportion. The carven figures in general are not considered the equal in workmanship of those at Reims, though the effect and arrangement is similar. For a complete list of them, numbering some hundreds on this façade alone, the reader must refer to some local guide-book, of which several are issued in the city.

The south portal, the Portal de la Vierge dorée or Portal de Saint Honoré, shares company with the west façade in its richness of sculpture and its rose window and its gable. Here also are to be seen the supporting buttresses which spring laterally from the wall of the transept and cross with those which come from the choir.

The north portal, on the side of the Bishop's Palace, does not show the same richness as the others, though perhaps more than ordinarily ornate.

The spire above the transept crossing is a work of the sixteenth century, and is perhaps more remarkable than its rather diminutive68 appearance, in contrast with the huge bulk of the edifice, would indicate.

The extreme height of nave and choir (147 feet), adds immeasurably to the grand effect produced by the interior, a height in proportion to breadth nearly double that usual in the English cathedrals. The vaulting is borne aloft by over one hundred columns. The natural attribute of such great dimension is a superb series of windows, a promise more than fulfilled by the three great rose windows and the lofty clerestory of nave and choir. The sixteenth century glass is exceedingly profuse and brilliant.

The lateral chapels of the nave were added subsequent to the work of the early builders, all being of the sixteenth century, while the eleven choir chapels are of the thirteenth century, all with very ornate iron grilles, which are a feature only second to a remarkable series of "choir stalls," numbering over one hundred, showing a wonderful variety of delicate carved figures of the sixteenth century, the work of one Jean Turpin, the subjects being mainly Biblical.

A stone screen with elaborate sculptures in high relief surrounds the choir, that on the south representing the legend of St. Firmin,69 the patron of Picardy, and that on the north, scenes connected with the life of John the Baptist. In a side chapel dedicated to St. John reposes the alleged head of John the Baptist. Others have appeared elsewhere from time to time, but as they are not now recognized as being genuine, and the said apostle not being hydra-headed, it is possible that there will be those who will choose to throw the weight of their opinions in favour of the claim of Amiens.

The flying buttresses at Amiens are not of the singular lightness associated with this notably French characteristic; they are in the main, however, none the less effective for that, and assuredly, so far as the work which they have to perform is concerned, it was doubtless necessary that they should be of more than ordinary strength.

The view of the ensemble from the river shows the massiveness and general proportions in a unique and superb manner. Amiens is not otherwise an attractive city, a bustle of grand and cheap hotels, decidedly a place to be taken en route, not like Beauvais, where one may well remain as long as fancy wills and not feel the too strong hand of progress intruding upon his ruminations.




Beauvais is by no means an inaccessible place, though how often have we known one who could not tell in what part of France it was situated. Of course, being "off the line" is sufficient excuse for the majority of hurried travellers to pass it by, but, leaving this debatable point out of the question, let us admit, for the nonce, that it is admirably located if one only chooses to spend a half-day or more in visiting the charmingly interesting city and its cathedral, or what there is of it, for it exists only as a luminous height sans nave, sans tower, and sans nearly everything, except a choir of such immensity that to see it is to marvel if not to admire. It is indeed as Hope has said, "a miracle of loftiness and lightness; appearing as if about to soar into the air."

How many readers, who recognize the charms for which the cathedral is most revered, know that it was intended to rank as the



St. Peter's of the north, and like its Roman prototype, was to surpass all other contemporary structures in size and magnificence. This was marked out for it when, in the middle sixteenth century, the builders of its central spire, which fell shortly after, sought to rival the Italian church in a vast Gothic fabric which should be the dominant northern type in contra-distinction to that of the south. This of itself, were there no other contributory interests, which there are to a very great degree, should be all-sufficient to awaken the desire on the part of every one who journeys Parisward to obtain a more intimate acquaintance with this great work. Here was an instance of ambition overleaping itself,—exceeding by far the needs and conditions of its environment and like many another ill-planned venture, it fell to ruin through a lack of logic and mental balance. To-day we see a restored fabric, lacking all the attributes of a great church except that which is encompassed by that portion lying eastward of the nave proper, its frail buttresses knitted together by iron rods, its piers latterly doubled in number, and many more visible signs of an attempt to hold its walls and roofs up to the work they have to perform.72

The present structure, in so far as certain of its components go, was commenced within five years of Amiens (1225), which calls to mind the guide-book comparison, which seems so appropriate that it must really have previously originated from some other source,—Amiens, "a giant in repose;" Beauvais, "a Colossus on tiptoe."

Its designer built not wisely, nor in this case too well, for before the end of the century the roof had fallen, and this after repeated miscalculations and failures. At this time the intermediate piers of the choir were built and a general modified plan adopted.

Ruskin's favourite simile, with respect to St. Pierre de Beauvais, was that no Alpine precipice had the sheer fall of the walls of this choir,—or words to that effect, which is about as far-fetched as many other of his dictums, which have since been exploded by writers of every degree of optimism and pessimism. Certainly it is a great height to which this choir rises, one hundred and fifty-three feet it has been called, which probably exceeds that of Amiens by a dozen or more feet, though authorities (sic) vary with regard to these dimensions, as might be supposed; but73 it is no more like unto a wall of rock than it is to a lighthouse.

With the crumbling of the sixteenth-century spire on Ascension Day, 1573, restoration of the transepts was undertaken and work on the nave resumed, which only proceeded, however, to the extent of erecting one bay to the westward, which stands to this day, the open end filled in with scantling, weather proofing, and what not,—a bare, gaunt, ugly patch. Had it been possible to complete the work on its original magnificent lines, it would have been the most stupendous Gothic fabric the world has ever known.

Not entirely without beauty, in spite of its great proportions, it is more with wonder than admiration that one views both its details and proportions. Though it is perhaps unfair to condemn its style as unworthy of the Augustan age of French architecture, surely the ambition with which the work was undertaken was a laudable one enough, and it is only from the fact that it spells failure in the eyes of many who lack initiative in their own make-up, that it only qualifiedly may be called a great work.

The choir, which now dates from 1322, perforce looks unduly short, by reason of the74 absence of a nave to add to the effect of horizontal stability; and the great height of the adjoining transept; but the chevet and buttresses are certainly a marvel of grace and towering forms.

The portals of the transept are of the period of Francis I., with flowing lines and ornate decorations—"having passed the severity and ethical standards of maturity, and progressed well along the path to senility," as a vigorous Frenchman has put it. True enough in its application is this livid sentiment,—perhaps,—but its jewel-like south portal, like the "gemmed" west front of Tours, forms an attractive enough presentment to please most observers who do not delve too deeply into cause and effect. The north portal is less ornate, but its beautifully carved doors are by the same hand as that which worked the opposite portal. The ornamental stonework here is unusual, suggesting an arrangement which may or may not have been intended as a representation of the "Tree of Jesse." In any case it is a remarkable work of flowing Gothic "branches," which, though mainly lacking its intended interspersed figures, is not only unique among exterior decorations, but75 appears as a singularly appropriate treatment of a grand doorway.

Adjoining the choir on the right is a sacristy occupying a small structure, and to the westward is a fragmentary edifice known as the Basse Œuvre,—one of the oldest existing buildings in France; a Romano-Byzantine work, variously stated as of the sixth to eighth century and forming a portion of the original church which occupied the site of the present Cathedral.

The general impressiveness of this great church—the memory which most of us will carry away—is caused by its immensity, its loftiness, and the general effect of lightness. These form an irresistible galaxy of features which can hardly fail to produce a new and startling sensation upon any observer.

As to decorative embellishments, the church is by no means lacking. The coloured glass, typical of the best period of the art, is luxurious and extensive; that contained in the north and south transept rose windows being the exceedingly beautiful work of Le Prince, a celebrated sixteenth-century artist.

Numerous side chapels surround the ambulatory of the choir, and on the west wall of the transept are hung the eight tapestries76 after the sixteenth-century Raphael cartoons now at South Kensington. These tapestries are, it is to be presumed, late copies, since, of the two early sets woven at Arras, one is preserved in the Vatican and the other at the Museum at Berlin. A modern fresco of Jeanne Hachette, a local Amazon, adorns one of the choir chapels. A modern astronomical clock, with numerous dials, striking figures, and crowing cocks, is placed near the north transept. It might naturally be supposed that in our day the canons of good taste would plead against such a mere "curio" being housed in a noble church.

The former Bishop's Palace, dating from the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries, is now the Palace of Justice. The present episcopal residence is immediately to the north of the Cathedral and is modern.

As a tapestry-making centre Beauvais ranks with the famous Gobelin Manufactory at Paris.




Notre Dame de Rouen




Rouen, of all the mediæval cities of France, is ever to the fore in the memories of the mere traveller for pleasure. In no sense are its charms of a negative quality, or few in number. Quite the reverse is the case; but the city's apparent attraction is its extreme accessibility, and the glamours that a metropolis of rank throws over itself; for it must not be denied that a countrified environment has not, for all, the appealing interest of a great city. It is to this, then, that Rouen must accredit the throngs of strangers which continually flock to its doors from the Easter time to late autumn. In addition there are its three great churches, so conveniently and accessibly placed that the veriest tyro in travel can but come upon them whichever way he strolls. Other monuments of equal rank there are, too, and altogether, whether it be the mere hurried pecking of a bird of passage, or the more 80leisurely attack of the studiously inclined, Rouen offers perhaps much greater attractions than are possessed by any other French city of equal rank.

So closely, too, have certain events of English history been interwoven with scenes and incidents which have taken place here, that the wonder is that it is not known even more intimately by that huge number of persons who annually rush across France to Switzerland or Italy.

Chroniclers of the city's history, its churches, and its institutions have not been wanting, in either French or English; and even the guide-books enlarge (not unduly) upon its varied charms. Once possessing thirty-two churches, sixteen yet remain; quite one-half of which may be numbered to-day as of appealing interest. En passant, it may be stated that here at Rouen, in both Notre Dame and the Abbey Church of St. Ouen, is found that gorgeous functionary, commonly called "the Suisse," who seeks your gold or a portion thereof, in return for which he will favour you by opening an iron wicket into the choir, an incumbrance unnoticed elsewhere, except at Paris and St. Denis.

The late Gothic church of St. Ouen, where81 the Maid of Orleans received her fatal sentence, shows a wonderful unity of design even as to its modern western towers; a consistency not equally the possession of the neighbouring cathedral, or even of most great churches. Altogether, this grand building is regarded as an unparallelled example of the realization of much that is best of Gothic architecture at its greatest height. In its central tower alone—which may or may not be suggestive of a market-basket, accordingly as you will take Ruskin's opinion, or form one of your own—is the least evidence of the developed flamboyant found. Its interior is clean-cut and free of obstruction; the extreme length of its straight lines, both horizontal and perpendicular, entirely freed from chapel or choir screen, embrace and uphold its "walls of glass" in an unequalled manner.

In strong contrast to this expressively graceful style is the ultraflorid type of St. Maclou, the other of that trinity of architectural splendours, which, with the Cathedral of Notre Dame, form the chief ecclesiastical monuments of the city. St. Maclou, which dates from the early fifteenth century, though not of the grand proportions of either of the other great churches, being rather of the type of the82 large parish church as it is known in England, holds one spellbound by the very daring of its ornaments and tracery, but contains no trace of non-Gothic. The French passion for the curved line is nowhere more manifest than here (and in the west front of Notre Dame), where flowing tracery of window, doorway, portal, and, in general, all exterior ornament, is startling in its audacity. To view these two contrasting types before making acquaintance with the Cathedral of Notre Dame itself, is to prepare oneself for a consideration in some measure of a combination of the charms of both, woven into one fabric. Nowhere, at least in no provincial town of France, are to be found such a categorical display of ecclesiastical architectural details as here.

Rouen has from the second century been an important seat of Christianity. St. Nicaise, not to be confounded with him of the same name of Reims, first held a conversion here and was shortly followed by St. Mellor, who founded the city's first church, on the site of the present cathedral. In succeeding centuries this foundation gradually took shape and form until, with the occupation by the Norsemen under Rollo, was founded a dynasty which fostered the development of theology83 and the arts in a manner previously unknown. The cathedral was enlarged at this time, and upon his death in 930 Rollo was interred therein, as was also his son in 943. Richard the Fearless followed with further additions and enlargements, his son Richard being made its forty-third archbishop. From this time on, the great church-building era, Christian activities were notably at work, here as elsewhere, and during the prolific eleventh century great undertakings were in progress; so much so that what was practically a new church received its consecration, and dedication to Our Lady, in 1063, in the presence of him who later was to be known as the Conqueror. To-day it stands summed up thus—a grand building, rich, confused, and unequal in design and workmanship.

The lower portion of the northwest tower, called the Tour St. Romain, is all that is left of the eleventh-century building, the remainder of which was destroyed by fire in 1200. Rebuilding followed in succeeding years and shows work of many styles. Additions, repairs, and interpolations were incorporated with the fragment of the tower, so that the structure as we now know it stood complete with the early thirteenth century. Viollet-le-Duc84 is the authority for the statement that the apse and transept, chapels, choir, and two doorways of the west façade were quite complete before the influence of the perfected Gothic of the Isle of France was even felt. One Enguerrand was the chief designer of the new church, assisted by Jean d'Andeli as master mason. The early century saw the nave chapels built, having been preceded by the Portail aux Libraires, a sort of cloistered north entrance, still so referred to, one of the most charming and quiet old-world retreats to be found to-day even within the hallowed precincts of a cathedral. The Portail de la Calende did not follow until a century later, when the Tour St. Romain was completed to its roof; at which time was also added the screen or arcade which separates the Portail aux Libraires from the street.

This century, too, saw the beginning of the famous Tour de Beurre, built mostly by the contributions of those who paid for the indulgence of being allowed to eat butter during Lent. Its foundation was laid in 1487 under Archbishop Robert de Croixmore, and it was completed under Cardinal d'Amboise in 1507. A chapel at the base of the tower is dedicated to St. Stephen. The ornate decorations of the85 west front, added by Georges d'Amboise, are mainly of the sixteenth century and form no part of the original plan or design. It borders upon the style we have since learned to decry, but it is, at least, marvellous as to the skill with which its foliaged and crocketed pinnacles and elaborate traceries are worked. Ruskin was probably right in this estimate at least,—"The central gable is the most exquisite piece of pure flamboyant style extant." At the present day this west front is undergoing such restoration and general repair that the entire gable, rose window, and part of the flanking towers are completely covered with a most hideous array of scaffolding.

The central spire as it exists to-day, in reality an abomination of abominations, is naturally enough admired by all when first viewed from afar. It certainly looks not dwarfed, or even fragile, but simply delicate, and withal graceful, an opinion which ultimate association therewith speedily dispels. It must be one of the very first examples of modern iron or steel erection in the world, dating from 1827, following three former spires, each of which was burned. The architect responsible for this monstrosity sought to combine two fabrics in incoherent 86proportions. More than one authority decries the use of iron as a constructive element, and Chaucer's description of the Temple of Mars in the Knight's Tale reads significantly:

"Wrought all of burned steel...
Was long and straight and ghastly for to see."

The great part of the exterior of this remarkable church is closely hidden by a rather squalid collection of buildings. Here and there they have been cleared away, but, like much of the process of restoration, where new fabric is let into the old, the incongruity is quite as objectionably apparent as the crumbling stones of another age. Notre Dame de Rouen is singularly confined, but there seems no help for it, and it is but another characteristic of the age in which it was built,—that the people either sought the shelter of churchly environment, or that the church was only too willing to stretch forth its sheltering arms to all and sundry who would lie in its shadow.

In an assignment of ranking beauty to its external features, the decorative west front must manifestly come first; next the Portail aux Libraires, with its arcaded gateway and the remains of the booksellers' stalls which still87 surround its miniature courtyard; then, perhaps, should follow the Tour St. Romain and the Portail de la Calende, with its charmingly recessed doorway and flanking lancet arches. The sculptured decorations of all are for the most part intact and undisfigured. The gable of the southern doorway rises pointedly until its apex centres with the radiated circular window above, which, by the way, is not of the exceeding great beauty of the other two rose windows, which rank with those at Reims and Chartres as the beaux ideals of these distinctly French achievements.

The interior, viewed down the nave, and showing its great length and that of the choir, impresses one with a graver sense of unity in the manner of building than is possible to conceive with regard to the exterior. The height and length both approximate that of St. Ouen, and, though the nave rises only to ninety-eight feet, an effect of greater loftiness is produced by the unusual quadripartite range of openings from pavement to vaulting: two rows of arches opening into the aisles before the triforium itself is reached. The lantern at the crossing supports the ironwork spire, and admits light to the centre of the church, only to a small degree, however. The south88 transept, like that of the north, with its ample double aisles, is of great width, and, were the framing of the great rose window of less angularity, it would indeed produce a remarkable effect of grandeur. The other windows, and the arcading of the triforium, are singularly graceful; not lacking either strength or firmness, though having no glass of great rarity or excellence. In this transept is the altar of St. Romain, a seventeenth-century work of little pretensions.

The north transept contains two features which give it immediate precedence over any other, when viewed from within: its gracefully traceried rose window and fine glass, and the delightful stone staircase leading to the chapter library. Mere description cannot do this stairway justice. Renaissance it certainly is, and where we might wish to find nothing but Gothic ornament, it may prove somewhat of a disappointment; but it is magnificent. Its white marble balustrading gleams in the strong light thrown from the western transept window and gives an unmistakable note of richness and sonority. It was built late in the fifteenth century under orders of Cardinal d'Estonteville. The upper doorway leads to the treasury, and that of89 the first landing to the chamber in which were formerly kept the bibliographical treasures, now housed in the special building which forms the western wall of the outside court.

The north and south aisles of the nave are broken into by a series of chapels, the chief of which are the Chapel to St. Stephen in the base of the Tour de Beurre and du Petit St. Romain, where an abbé or curé speaking the English tongue is often to be found. On the south side is a chapel containing the tomb of William Longsword, second Duke of Normandy, and son of Rollo.

The great attraction of the choir, far more than its beauties of architectural forms, shown in its graceful columns and deep graven capitals, will be, for most visitors, its array of elaborate monuments, including those of Pierre and Louis de Breze, of whom the former, the Grand Seneschal of Normandy under Charles VII., fell at Monthery, and was buried here in 1465. More pretentious is the tomb of Louis, his grandson, erected by his wife Diane de Poitiers, with a significant inscription which the curious may be pleased to figure out for themselves. This noble monument is one of those examples hesitatingly attributed to Jean Goujon. The pièce de résistance is the Renaissance tomb of the Cardinals d'Amboise. Georges I. was memorialized in 901556 by his nephew Georges II., who in turn came to share the same tomb. Both their kneeling figures are beautifully chiselled, and the whole erection is gorgeously representative of the late sixteenth-century monumental work, little in keeping with the Gothic fabric which houses it, but characteristic of the changing thought and influence of its time. Six symbolical figures of the virtues form a lower course, while the canopy is surmounted by nineteen figures of apostles, saints, etc. In 1793 the ashes of these great prelates were scattered to the winds, but the effigies and their setting fortunately remained uninjured. Other archbishops of the cathedral are buried in the choir, and the heart of Richard Cœur de Lion once rested here, as did also the bodies of his brother Henry, and John, Duke of Bedford.

The choir stalls, mostly the work of Flemish wood-carvers, are notable examples.


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Basilique de St. Denis




The Basilica of St. Denis, so-called to-day, built over the remains of the martyred St. Denis, is in a way the counterpart of the Cathedral of Reims, in that it also is intimately associated with the Kings of France. In the former they were, almost without exception, crowned; and here, at St. Denis, are the memorials of their greatness, and in many cases their actual tombs. Thus far and no farther may the similarity be said to exist. The old Abbey of St. Denis has little in common, architecturally, with the grand Cathedral of Notre Dame de Reims. Of the two, St. Denis is much the older foundation, and from the point of view of romance and sentiment holds perhaps the premier place, as well.

The history of the city is one of the most interesting and diversified of all in the domain of the Kings of France. A Benedictine abbey was founded here in the reign of Dagobert I.,94 and, under the Carlovingian dynasty, immediately took on political as well as devout significance. The Abbot of St. Denis journeyed to Rome in 751 A. D. and secured for Pepin the papal confirmation of his kingship. Pope Stephen took refuge here from the Lombards in 754 A. D., during which time he anointed the king's sons, Charles and Charlemagne; upon the consecration of which act Pepin handed over to his sons the right and title to his dominions.

Upon the advice of the Abbot Suger, Louis VI. adopted the Oriflamme, or standard of St. Denis, as the banner of the Kings of France, and, for long after, its red and gold colourings hung above the altar,—only to be removed when the king should take the field in person.

Abélard, of famed romance, was a monk of the abbey in the twelfth century; and, in the absence of the sovereign (Louis VII.) in the Holy Land during the mid-century, the Abbé Suger administered full well the affairs of the kingdom. This renowned abbot and true lover of art died in 1151 at St. Denis.

In 1429 "the Maid of Orleans" here delivered up her arms; and a century and a half later that sturdy Protestant, Henry, abjured95 the faith to which he had hitherto so tenaciously clung. In this church, too, the great Napoleon married Marie Louise in 1810; and his later namesake, some fifty years after, erected a mausoleum in the crypt, known as the Caveau Imperial, the burial vault of his dynasty, which, however, has never been so used.

Such in brief is the record of some of the more important affairs of church and state, which are identified with this fine old cathedral. The usual books of reference give lengthy lists of the various tombs and monuments which exist. It is a pity, however, that, in spite of the laudable ambition of preserving here, in a sort of kingly Valhalla, the memory of the rulers of a past age, it has degenerated, in turn, to a mere show-place, with little enough of the real sentiment remaining to satisfy the seriously inclined, who perforce would wish to be reminded in some more subtle way than by a mere "rush around the exhibits," which is about all the half-hourly, personally conducted excursions, with appropriate fees to be delivered up here and there, amounts to. But for this, there would still be some of the charm and reverence which such a noble memorial should inspire, in spite96 of the fact that revolution and desecration have played more than a usual share in the general derangement of the original plans.

Up to the time of Henry IV., the monarchs were mostly interred in separate tombs, but, following him, his immediate successors were buried in a common vault. During the Revolution, the Convention decreed that the royal tombs should be destroyed, and so they mostly were,—the bodies dug up and interred, if so the process can be called, in a common grave. In 1817 Louis XVIII. caused the remains of his ancestors, as well as Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette, to be transferred here from the Madeleine, and in turn he himself was buried here, as well as the Duc de Berry and several of his children. The preservation of such of the tombs as survived the many vicissitudes to which they were put, is due to the fact that many of them were at one time removed to the Musée des Petits-Augustines, now the Palace des Beaux Arts, at Paris; but in 1817 Louis XVIII. ordered them to be replaced in the crypt of St. Denis; not, however, on the sites which they formerly occupied, but in an arbitrary manner which only the great abilities of M. Viollet-le-Duc, who undertook their rearrangement and restoration, were able to 97present in some coherent manner for the marvel of future generations. There are now therein over fifty monuments and tombs, besides various statues, medallions, and other memorials.

From an architectural point of view, we have to consider the Basilique de St. Denis no longer a cathedral, as one of the earliest Gothic examples in France, though at first glance little enough of the true Gothic feeling is apparent. About the year 275 a chapel was built here above the grave of St. Dionysius, the first Bishop of Paris. This was followed by a large basilica, ultimately given over to the uses of monks of the Benedictine order. Evidences of this former construction are supposed by archæologists to still remain, but little, earlier than the structure of the Abbé Suger, meets the eye to-day. Strong is the trace of the development from the Romanesque façade, completed in 1140, to pure Gothic construction of a century later. In this church is commonly supposed to be exhibited for the first time, bearing in mind that the date of its consecration was 1144, a complete system of buttresses accompanying the pointed arch of the vaulting, though in conjunction with semicircular vaulting in the choir aisles.98

The west façade is the most notable part of Suger's building. It contains three deeply recessed round arched portals, decorated with sculpture, but so disfigured, or at least modified from their original forms in an attempt to replace the ravages of time and spoliation, that one can not well judge of their original merit. The south portal shows symbolical figures of the months and of "St. Dionysius in Prison;" the central doorway a "Last Judgment," and the "Wise and Foolish Virgins;" while the north portal depicts "St. Dionysius on His Way to Martyrdom," and "The Signs of the Zodiac."

A curious and unusual effect of the upper portion of this grim façade, like a similar work at Dol-de-Bretagne, is a range of battlements which were erected for defensive purposes in the fourteenth century. The nave rises high above this, surmounted by a statue of St. Denis. Above the lateral portals of the façade are two towers, that on the right rising two stages above the embattled crest, while that on the left stops at that level. The spire with which it was formerly surmounted was ruined by lightning early in the nineteenth century.

The choir, with its radiating chapels, is of a Romanesque order, with the Gothic 99attribute of the flying buttress in a high degree of development.

A general restoration was carried out in the thirteenth century by the successors of Suger, the Abbés Eudes Clement and Matthieu de Vendôme, in the best Gothic of the time; and it is to their excellently planned work that the general fine effect of the present interior arrangements may properly enough be accredited, though for a fact it seldom is so. A later restoration, the removing of the ruin wrought by the Revolution, did not succeed so well. It was not until the really great work of Viollet-le-Duc, under Napoleon III., that this grand building finally took on again an acceptable form.

The general interior arrangements, though to-day apparently subservient to the common attributes of a show-house with its innumerable guides, functionaries, and fees, are simple and impressive so far as structural elements are concerned. As for decorations, they are mostly to be found in that gorgeous array of monuments and tombs before mentioned. The entrance proper, or vestibule, is of Suger's era and is gloomy and dull, in strong contrast with the noble and impressive nave, which contains thirty-seven enormously high100 windows and a handsome triforium gallery. This portion dates from the thirteenth century, or immediately following Suger's régime. The excellent stained glass is modern. The transepts are mere rudimentary elements, suggested only by the interior arrangement of the piers, and are simple and impressive.

Oriflamme of St. Denis




Of all the cathedrals of France, Notre Dame de Paris is most firmly impressed on the minds of English speaking people. At least, it is more familiarly known by all who visit that delectable land, and perhaps rightly so. Poets have sung its praises, and writers of all ranks have used it in well-nigh every possible fashion as an accessory; indeed, books almost without number have been written about it, and around it. This is as it should be, for perhaps no great church is more worthy, or more prolific in material. For those who would probe deeply into its story, there is but one way to acquire an intimate knowledge thereof,—to undertake a course of reading and study in some such way as a lawyer sets about reading up on a great case. By no other method could be acquired a tithe of the commonly known facts regarding its past history; hence the impossibility of attempting to deal102 fully in a few pages with this great church, even in a perfunctory manner. The most that can be safely ventured upon, is to recount some of the facts.

How many have really noticed that none of the diagrams, which show the ground-plan of this cathedral, indicate the existence of any transepts? Take, for instance, that which accompanies this volume, which, it may be said, is drawn correctly,—beyond the omission of a couple of pillars on either side of the nave, there is nothing to break into the long parallelogram-like structure, with an apsidal termination. As a matter of fact, there are a pair of very beautiful transepts, as most photographs of the exterior, and drawings of the interior, show. They are, too, in no way attenuated, and are only lost in the ground-plan by reason of the fact that they follow the very unusual arrangement of not extending laterally beyond the ample width of the nave and its chapelled aisles. The south transept façade, with the portal dedicated to St. Stephen, and two magnificent rose windows, is unquestionably more pleasing than the west façade itself as to design and arrangement.

Begun in 1163 and consecrated in 1182, the church has undergone many vicissitudes,103 changes, and restorations. It has fared ill on many occasions; perhaps the greatest defilement being that which befell it during the Revolution, when it was not only foully desecrated, its statues and other imagery despoiled, but the edifice was actually doomed to destruction. This fortunately was spared to it, but in the same year (1793) it became a "Temple of Reason," one of those fanatical exploits of a set of madmen who are periodically let loose upon the world. Mysticism, palaverings, and orgies unspeakable took place between its walls, and it only became sanctified again when Napoleon caused it to be reopened as a place of divine worship. Again, three-quarters of a century later, it fell into evil times—when it was turned into a military rendezvous by the Communards of '71. In turn, they too retreated, leaving the church, as they supposed, to the mercy of the flames which they had kindled. Fortunately these were extinguished and the building again rescued from an untoward fate.

The thirteenth-century façade is usually accredited the finest part of the church. It comes upon one as rather plain and bare after the luxuriance of Amiens, Reims, or Rouen. As a model and design, however, it has served104 its purpose well, if other examples, variously distributed throughout England and France, are considered. Its lines, in fact, are superb and vary little in proportion or extent from what must perforce be accepted as ideal. Its portals are of good design, and so also is such sculpture as survived the ravages of the past, though the outlines of the doorways are severely plain. A series of modern sculptured effigies of the kings, replacing those destroyed at the Revolution, forms a plain horizontal band across the entire front; a none too graceful or pleasing arrangement of itself. A rose window forty-two feet in width occupies the centre of the next stage, flanked by two blunt-pointed windows rather bare of glass. Above is an arcaded gallery of small pointed arches in pairs, also extending across the entire front. The balustrade, above, holds a number of grotesque creatures carved in stone. They may be gargoyles, but are not, however, in this case, of the spout variety, being some of those erections of a superstitious age which were so frequently added to a mediæval building; though whether as a mere decoration, or with greater significance, authorities do not seem to agree. The two uncompleted square towers overtop all, pierced by the two great lancets, which,105 with respect to mere proportions, are unusual if not unique.

The spire above the crossing is a wooden structure covered with lead, and dates only from the middle of the nineteenth century. Both the north and south transepts contain magnificent rose windows of even larger dimensions than that of the west façade. The doorway of the south transept is ornamented with effective ironwork, but otherwise the exterior presents no remarkable features.

To the artist's eye the gem of the building is undoubtedly the fine grouping and ensemble of the flying buttresses at the rear of the choir. Most persons, so gifted, have tried their prentice, or their master, hands at depicting this grand marshalled array of "folded wings," and, but for the gruesome morgue at its foot, which ever intrudes into the view, one might almost say it is the most idyllic and most specious view of a great cathedral that it were possible to have. Were it not for this charming view of these buttressed walls, with the river flowing at their feet, the Isle de la Cité would be indeed a gloomy spot, with its lurid historical past, and its present gruesome association with the "house of the dead." Indeed, it has been questioned as to whether the choir106 and chevet of Notre Dame de Paris is not the most beautiful extant. The Isle de la Cité was the ancient island village of the Parisii.

A sixteenth-century Dutch writer (De Sauteuil) has delivered himself of these few lines concerning the Seine at this point:

"When first it enters the metropolis it ambitiously stays its rapid course, and, being truly enamoured with the place, forgets its way, is uncertain whither to flow, and winds in sweet meanders through the town; thence filling the pipes with its waters. That which was once a river, joys to become a fountain."

To carry the suggestion of contrast still farther one should read Hugo's "Notre Dame" on the spot. It will give a wonderful and whimsical conception of those weird gargoyles and devils, which have only to be seen to awaken a new interest in what this great writer has put forth. For another sensation, pleasant or otherwise, one might look up a copy of Méyron's wonderful etching of the same subject, or refer to a most excellent monograph, written not many years since, entitled "The Devils of Notre Dame." The interior shows the earliest example wherein the double aisles of the nave are continued around the choir, and the first introduction of107 the quadruple range of openings from the pavement to the vaulting. The aisles and nave are of almost equal height.

The choir, besides being merely apsided, is, in fact, a true semicircle, a sufficiently unusual arrangement in an early Gothic church to be remarked; and, in addition, is exceedingly narrow and lofty. The glass of the rose windows is of old and gorgeous quality, it having escaped destruction in Revolutionary times, whereas that of the lower range of windows was mostly destroyed.

The choir stalls are of excellent wooden carving, but the high altar is modern, dating only from 1874. The choir screen, of the fourteenth century, shows twenty-three reliefs in stone, once richly gilded, but now tarnished and dull.

Notre Dame de Paris from the River



Allied with the see whose jurisdiction includes the Diocese of the Department of the Seine, should be considered that of Seine and Oise, which has its bishop's throne esconced in the Cathedral of St. Louis at Versailles. To all intents and purposes the town is one of those conglomerate units which go to make up the "traveller's Paris." More can hardly be said with due regard to the magnificent edifices with which this cathedral must naturally be classed. The other attractions of this "court suburb" are so appealing to the sentimentally inclined that it is to be feared that such will have little eye for the very minor attractions of the cathedral. The Trianons, the "Grandes Eaux" and the "Petites Eaux" are all in all to the visitor to Versailles.

As a matter of fact and record, the Cathedral of St. Louis must be mentioned, if only to be dismissed in a word. Bourasée refers to it as "a thing cold, unfeeling, and without life." Truthfully, it is a remarkably ugly building of the middle eighteenth century, with no details of note and no memorials worthy of even a passing regard, except a monument to the109 Duc de Berry, who died in 1820. What embellishment is given to the interior, is accounted for by the exceeding ruddy glow shed by the contemporary coloured glass of the none too numerous windows.110


St. Julien; Le Mans





Le Mans, like Chartres, sprang from an ancient Celtic hill fort, and, through successive stages, has since grown to a Roman, a mediæval, and finally a modern city. It crowns the top of a very considerable eminence, the like of which, says Professor Freeman, does not exist in England. Like Chartres, too, it has always retained the balance of power which has made it the local civil and ecclesiastical capital of its province. It is, too, more closely associated in English minds than is Chartres, forming as it did a part of the dominion of a common sovereign; also by reason of being the birthplace of Henry II., and the burial-place of Queen Berengaria, the wife of Richard Cœur-de-Lion.

Le Mans stands, without doubt, in advance of Chartres in the importance and number of its secondary churches, as well as its ecclesiastical, civil, and military establishments in114 general. In spite of all this, the city has never ranked as of supreme importance as a European city; nor did it ever attain the rank in Gallic times, that the events which have been woven around it would seem to augur. To-day it is a truly characteristic, large, provincial town of little or no importance to the outside world. Self-sufficient as to its own importance, and the events around which its local life circles, it gives little indication of ever becoming more of a metropolis than it now is; indeed the census figures would indicate that the department, of which it is the capital, has remained stationary as to the numbers of its population, since the Revolution.

Writers have endeavoured to carry the similarity to English interests and conditions still farther than the events of history really go to prove, and have declared that Maine and England should have united in repelling their common invader. Endeavour has also been made to trace similarity between the communistic principles of days gone by, which took form here and at Exeter across the Channel, and have even remarked the similarity of the topographical features of the surrounding landscape, wherein the country round about differs so from other parts of France, being115 here rolling, hilly, and wooded, as in certain parts of England; and even stretching a point to include the hedgerows, which, it must be admitted, are more in evidence in Maine than elsewhere in France. But these observations apparently prove nothing except that the majority of persons probably know very little of the real conditions which exist in the provinces of France, preferring rather that their journeyings afield should follow more the well-worn road of their compatriots.

The Cathedral of St. Julien well represents the two distinct epochs in which church architecture, as it remains to us to-day, was practised here, and shows, to well-nigh the fullest expression possible, the two principal transformations of Christian architecture.

As the Angevin style partakes so closely of northern and southern types intermixed, so the distinctive architectures of Maine, if such there be, may be said to favour the styles of both Normandy and Anjou; at least so far as the cathedral at Le Mans shows a combination of Angevin and Norman detail. The really distinctive southern influence is to be noted in the Romano-Byzantine nave, the exterior of which, so far as the western front is concerned, is far more notable in the rigidness and 116austerity of its lines, than by any richness of ornamentation or decoration. Nothing could be more simply plain than this portal, and the wall and gable which surmount it. A large bare window, of the variety of that at Angers, stands above the doorway, which, itself, lacks all attempt at embellishment. What decoration the façade bears is after the true Byzantine manner, of the nature of brickwork displayed and set into the wall in geometrically angular fashion. What sculpture there is, two grotesque animals on either of the buttresses which flank the façade, is of minor account. This, then, is the extent of the detail of this severe western façade, the grand portal of the usually accepted great church being entirely lacking and evidently not thought of as a desirable detail when this portion of the structure was erected. It has nothing of the prodigious art expression of the frontispieces of the grand Gothic churches of the north, or of the less poverty-stricken Byzantine decoration of its own Meridional portal, which, in so far as the style can be said to take on richness of form, shows the transition tendencies of the early twelfth century. This doorway is surmounted by a tympanum, ornamented by a figure of the Saviour surrounded by the four117 Evangelists, a subject which has always proved itself a highly successful and popular ecclesiastical symbol, and one which in this case, as in most others, is well made use of. All the figures have suffered considerably from the ravages of time, but retain much of their interest and charm in spite of such mutilation. A tower of Romanesque foundation, but of fifteenth and sixteenth century completion, flanks this south transept.

The ranking portion of this interesting church is its choir, larger in superficial area than the entire cathedrals of Noyon or Soissons. Both from inside and out, it is all that one's imagination could possibly invent. Its great proportions are as harmonious and graceful as the lines of a willow-tree; in fact, as to general effect, it may be set down as a thing of extraordinary grandeur, worthy to rank with Beauvais or Amiens, and yet different from either, of a quality its very own. At the commencement of the thirteenth century the canons obtained, from Philip Augustus, permission to extend their church beyond the city walls in an easterly direction, and then it was that this wonderful choir took shape. The work was undertaken in 1217 and was completed soon after the middle of the same 118century, and the body of St. Julien, the first apostle to Le Mans, for whom the church was named, was placed therein by Geoffroy de Loudon, then bishop, who decorated the windows of the choir with the magnificent glass with which they are still set.

From a certain distance to the eastward the cathedral at Le Mans presents a view of the choir, unique in all the world. Other greater ones there are, if mere height be concerned, and others with more perfect appendages; but none give the far-spreading effect of encircling chapels, or are possessed of high springing buttresses of more grace or beauty than are seen here. He was a rash man who ranked the flying buttresses as a sign of defective construction, indicating structural weakness, meaningless and undecorative ornament, and what not. Few have agreed with this dictum, and few ever will after they have seen Paris, Beauvais, and Le Mans.

The interior is one of great interest; the nave, even in its early forms, is none the less attractive because of its austerity. It is, as a matter of fact, far more interesting here than in its exterior, the swarthy circular pillars holding aloft arches with just a suspicion of the ogival style, with narrow, low, and 119disproportionately small windows in the aisles, where are also a series of strengthening pillars of black and white stone, presenting again a reminiscence of the southern manner, or at least recalling the slate and stone of Angers. In the choir, with its girdling chapels and double ambulatory, we come upon the most impressive portion of all. Slightly orientated from the east and west, it presents by itself, like Beauvais, nearly all of the attributes of a great church. The columns, arcades, and windows throughout are all of an unusual elegance and grace, the vaulting rising with much daring to a remarkable height, which must approach one hundred and ten or more feet, and the equal of certain other "popularly notable" buildings.

The rose window of the south of the transept is a remarkable example of these masterpieces of the French builder. The framing and the glass with which it is set is of the richest quality, though it dates only from the fifteenth century. The organ case is here found in the south transept, an unusual arrangement in a French church, where it is usually placed over the western doorway. The vaulting, too, is much loftier here than in the nave. The aisles of this remarkable choir120 have the further unusual attribute of three ranges of openings, while the clerestory, only, rises above, but with great and imposing beauty. There are a few funeral monuments of more than ordinary interest, including that of Queen Berengaria, wife of Richard, the Lion-Hearted, brought from the Abbey de l'Epau in 1821; a sarcophagus and statue in white marble of Charles of Anjou, Count of Maine, King of Jerusalem and Sicily (d. 1472), and the mausoleum of Langey du Bellay. In the north aisle are a number of fifteenth or sixteenth century tapestries. The former bishop's palace was burned by the Germans in 1871.


Notre Dame de Chartres.





Aside from their wonderful, though non-similar, cathedrals, Chartres and Le Mans, its neighbour, have much in common. Both have been possessed of a brilliant array of counts and prelates, both grew from a Celtic village to their present grand proportions through a series of vicissitudes, wars, and conquests, until to-day each is preëminent within its own sphere, and has become not only a centre of ecclesiastical affairs, but of civil life as well.

The Counts of Chartres and of Blois, in the middle ages, were a powerful race of men, and should ever be associated with profound respect in English minds by the fact that here was the birthplace of Adela, the mother of King Stephen of Blois, and of Henry, Bishop of Winchester.

As for local conditions to-day, Chartres, while having grown to the state which it now occupies through events which have made it124 a city of mark, remains a somnolescent, sparsely built town, with little suggestion of the progress of modernity. More frequently mentioned in the note-books of the traveller than Le Mans, it offers perhaps no greater charms. To be sure, its cathedral, by reason of its open situation and the charming quality and effect produced by its spires and its one hundred and thirty windows of coloured glass, at once places it at the very head amongst the great "show pieces" of France; but it is in connection with Le Mans, scarcely eighty miles away and so little known, that it ought really to be studied and considered; which as a matter of fact it seldom is. The city is hardly in keeping with what we are wont to associate with the environment of a great cathedral, though this of itself in no way detracts from its charms. The weekly cattle-market takes place almost before its very doors, and the battery of hotels which flank the open square present the air of catering more to the need of the husbandman than to the tourist;—not a wholly objectionable feature, either.

Beyond such evidences as an occasional sign-board announcing the fact that the hostelry possesses a garage, fosse, or what not for125 the necessitous requirements of the automobilist, the inns remain much as they always were, mere bourgeoise caravansaries.

The Cathedral of Notre Dame de Chartres jumps full into view immediately on leaving the railway station, though here it is to be noted that no delineation has ever been made by modern hand which shows its façade in its entirety. The roofs of the houses and shops around its base indicate no special squalor or poverty, as is the case with regard to some Continental churches, and there is a picturesque grouping of firs and poplars to the left which adds considerably to an already pleasing prospect. The whole grouping is, perhaps, none the less attractive than if the façade, with those extraordinarily beautiful non-contemporary spires, stood quite unobstructed. In fact, it is doubtful if many a monumental shrine might not lose considerably, were it taken from its environment and placed in another which might not suit its graces so well.

These really fascinating spires, famed of all writers, archæologists, and painters alike, are the clef by which the whole harmony is sounded. One cannot but echo, and reëcho, all that has been said of them, though in a126 quandary as to which of the two is the more beautiful: the plain, simple, symmetrical, older spire, or that wonderful work of Texier's, replacing another burned in 1506, which rises in gently sculptured and tapered ranges to a height which exceeds its companion by some twenty-five feet. No more appropriate or convincing wording could be given of it than by quoting Fergusson's estimate, which sums it up as being "the most beautifully designed spire in Europe, surpassing even Strasburg and Antwerp."

It is rather a pity that from no suitably near-by point can one obtain a full view of the effect of the western façade. One poor little house seems ever to thrust itself into the ensemble, though it is to-day apparent that certain others, which must have cut into the front still more, have been cleared away. Clearly, with all its charm and beauty of detail, it is for its great and general excellencies that the cathedral at Chartres most impresses itself upon the memory.

Visitors to-day will have no easy task in locating Lowell's "little pea-green inn," in which he indited the lines, "A Day in Chartres;" as appreciative and graceful an 127estimate of an inanimate thing as ever was made in verse:

"The Grecian gluts me with its perfectness
Unanswerable as Euclid, self-contained,
The one thing finished in this hasty world.
But ah! this other, this that never ends,
Still climbing, luring fancy still to climb,
As full of morals, half divined, as life,
Graceful, grotesque, with ever new surprise
Of hazardous caprices, sure to please,
Heavy as nightmare, airy light as fern,
Imagination's very self in stone."

Among the other attractions of the west façade is the Porte Royale, so called, the central doorway which was only opened for the entrance of the sovereign. It is decorated with the "signs of the zodiac" and "symbols of the months." Next in point of richness are the grandly effective north and south porches, with their triple doorways or portals, setting back some twenty feet from their jambs, which, as at Noyon, and in the smaller church at Louviers, are pierced with a transverse passage.

The north porch, with its range of three open-sided and deeply recessed doorways, has unmistakably debased tendencies, but is filled with sculptured statuary of more than 128ordinarily effective disposition, more remarkable for magnitude and ornateness than for finesse of skill and workmanship, or even as a detail of good taste.

The life-size statues of all three recesses are held aloft by pedestals, on pillars of twisted and of spiralled trunks, a formation reviled by Ruskin, but producing an effect much more pleasing than some galleries of effigies we have seen, where the figures appear as if hung up by the hair of their heads, or are clinging to the walls by invisible spurs at their heels, or, as is not infrequently the case, are standing or hung on nothing, as though they were graven of some bewitched magnetic stone. Here for the first time is seen, in the sculptured figures of the three great portals, the plastic forms which were to add so greatly to the Gothic architecture: male and female saints, Evangelists, and Apostles in great array, all somewhat more than life-size. Only one adverse impression is cast: that of petrifaction. The figures, almost without exception, appear as integral parts of the architectural fabric, rather than as added ornament. They are most ungainly, tall, stiff, and column-like, much more so than similar works at Reims,129 or at Amiens, where the sculpture has something of the vigour and warmth of life.

The south porch, erected in the reign of Henry I. by Jean Cormier, partly from donations of Matilda, queen of the Norman Conqueror, contains a series of basso relievos,—seen also in the arches of the choir,—manifestly not of good Gothic principle, and one which is the very antithesis of the northern spirit, as the name itself implies.

The earliest portion of the existing church, the crypt, is that of a timber-roofed structure burned in 1020. It was erected early in the eleventh century by Fulbert, the famous Bishop of Chartres, also remembered—possibly revered—as being the prolific letter-writer of his time.

John of Salisbury was bishop in the next century, and under him were built the lower stages of the western façade and towers. In this church Edward III. called for the help of Heaven to aid his plans, and here Henry of Navarre was crowned King of France, a change of venue from Reims, where so many previous and subsequent coronations were held.

The interior gives a deal of the thrill for which one should always be prepared. The130 gloom, so apparent at first, slowly brightens as the eye becomes accustomed to the finely filtered light, which penetrates through the gorgeous coloured glass, a feature which ranks with the spires as a vivid impression to be carried away. Nearly all of this glass is of equal worth and attractiveness, being, with the exception of three windows of a late date, and a few uncoloured ones, all of the gorgeous thirteenth-century variety.

The whole mass of the clerestory throughout gives the effect of windows heavily hung with tapestries through which the outside light pierces in minute rays. This comparison is made advisedly, inasmuch as, regardless of the quality and value of the glass, it is composed mainly of those minute and fragmentary particles often more rich in colour than design.

There is little doubt but that the result of the deep rich blue, claret, and orange gives a first effect of insufficient lighting which would try an artist or photographer sorely, though not a detracting element in churches which would often appear cold and unconvincing were such an attribute lacking. There are also three magnificent rose windows of great size (thirty to forty feet), containing equally good glass.131

A double ambulatory surrounds the seven-chapeled choir, which is further enclosed by a magnificent sculptured stone screen begun in the sixteenth century by Texier, who designed the marvellous north spire. The Vierge du Pilier of the north choir aisle, a fifteenth-century shrine, is the subject of great local veneration. The treasury contains a relique in the form of the veil of the Virgin, supposed to have been presented by Charlemagne to Princess Irene.

Other interior details of note are an eleventh-century font; the large crypt beneath the choir; the unequal level of the pavement of nave and choir; and the maze, which still exists in the nave. This last feature is a winding circular path some forty odd feet in diameter, and, in all, perhaps a thousand feet long. As a penance in place of a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, "the journey of the maze" was performed by the penitent on his knees—taking perhaps an hour or more, according to the size and length of the path, which varied with different churches where they formerly existed. The other most notable example in France is at St. Quentin, northeast of Paris.132



The very ancient city of Reims, now the capital of the Department of the Marne, was a large centre of population when it first fell under the sway of the Romans. During Cæsar's occupation it was known as Duroctorum, in the Præfecture of the Gauls.

A powerful metropolis and a faithful adherent of the Romans, the city early attained prominence as a centre of Christianity. St. Sixte preached the word here shortly after the first bishopric was founded, after capture by the Vandals in 406 A. D. The city was practically razed by Attila, who afterward met defeat at Chalons. During the Roman Empire it was the most important town of the Province of Belgica Secunda, later becoming known as the capital of the Remi, the name given to the people inhabiting the country round about.

In 508 A. D. the Franks under Childeric captured the city, and in 720 A. D. Charles



Martel captured it from Bishop Rigobert. Here, too, Pope Stephen had his famous interview with Pepin, and attended the crowning of Louis le Débonnaire in 816 A. D. In 744 it was made an archbishop's see, with suffragans at Amiens, Beauvais, Chalons, and Soissons. It is to-day the ecclesiastical capital of France—the Archbishop of Reims being the metropolitan prelate.

Clovis, son of Childeric, King of the Ripuarian Franks, in 496 A. D. conquered the last Roman stronghold at Soissons, and, having married a Burgundian princess, Clotilda, was induced to accept Christianity. He was accordingly baptized here by St. Remi on Christmas Day, 496 A. D.

Leo III. met Charlemagne here; a council was held in 1119 A. D. by Calixtus II. in an attempt to reconcile Henry I. and Louis le Gros; and, later, another, to excommunicate another Henry.

Succeeding years saw a continuity of archbishops, who achieved by their religious works a world-wide fame and glory. In these early days they held the temporal as well as spiritual power of the cities, and in some instances even coined their own specie.

In spite of the changes of the times and 134conditions of life, the ancient capital of Belgica Secunda still remains the chief city of the Departments of the Marne, Ardennes, and Aisne. Its ecclesiastical and secular monuments, headed by the grand Cathedral of Notre Dame, form an array which is well worthy of such extended consideration as the traveller or student can give. The Benedictine Abbey, the Church of St. Remi, is likewise notable in all of its dimensions and details. Its construction dates from 1162-1506, though the remains of a former tenth-century structure are made use of therein. Its chief treasure is the tomb of St. Remi, a wonderful Renaissance funeral monument of imposing proportions. Another monumental feature of more than unusual note, is the magnificent Roman arch of the former fortress of Porte Mars. This truly majestic specimen of the work of the Roman builder is supposed to have been erected by Agrippa in 25 B. C., in honour of Augustus, although another authority puts it as late as the period of Julian, 361 A. D. At any rate, it has stood the rigours of a northern clime as well as any Roman memorial extant; indeed, has seen fall all its contemporaries of the city, for at one time Reims was possessed of no less than three135 other gateways, bearing the pagan nomenclature of Ceres, Mars, and Venus.

The various other memorials of the city are on a no less grand scale, but the average person will hardly have eyes and ears for more than a contemplation of the wealth of splendour to be seen in its overpowering cathedral. Of the glorious group of monumental churches of northern France, the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Reims, if not admittedly the most beautiful and memorable Gothic edifice in all France, needs but little qualifying comment. It has a preëminence which has been generally conceded, and even elaborately endorsed, by most observers qualified to pass opinion hereon. Contemplation of the wealth of detail, and of the disposition of its wonderful west front, no less than of its general excellencies, can but compel the decision that in its exterior, at least, the Cathedral of Reims is the peer of any existing Gothic fabric. Though less huge than Strasburg or Cologne, and lacking the doubled tier of flying buttresses of the latter, it is altogether the most splendid and well-proportioned Gothic mass extant. The diminishing or pyramidal effect of the towers and gable of this west façade is an exemplification of the true symmetry of136 Gothic form. Lofty, and not closely hemmed in by surrounding structures, it looms, from any adjacent view-point, fully two-thirds of its decorated splendour above the general skyline round about. Aside from modern adulation we have the praise of an early historian, who delivers himself thus:

"Decor et majestes praeclarissime hugus structurae omnem scribendi peritiam longe superat, ob elegantum omnibus est admirationi, at que sibi similem non habet in tota Gallia."—Met. Rememsis Hist. Dom. Guliol. Marlot S. Nicasii Rem. Prioris, Tom ii. p. 470.

Following the preaching of St. Remi, and the murder of St. Nicaise, who founded a church on this site in 400 A. D., Ebo, bishop in 818 A. D., laid the foundations of a new church, Louis I. granting that such material as might be needed be taken from the city wall. To assist, the sovereign also sent his architect, Rumaldi. In 847 A. D. Archbishop Nicman secured a renewal of the privileges, and in the presence of the king the building was consecrated in 862 A. D. The western entrance was ornamented with graven statues of Louis I., the patron, Pope Stephen, and the archbishop himself.137

This entire fabric succumbed to fire on the 6th of May, 1210, and the present structure rests merely on the remains of the ancient crypt, which in a measure survived. Few visible remains of this ancient foundation are to-day visible. The new church reared itself rapidly under the immediate supervision of the Archbishop Alberic de Humbert. The choir, begun within two years of the fire, made such progress as to allow of the high altar being ceremoniously dedicated within three years; and, before the middle of the century, the records tell us that the main body of the church was entirely completed. The right tower was uncompleted at this time, but was finished by Cardinal Philastre in 1430, up to which time intermittent labour had evolved a superlative combination of constructive and decorative excellencies. The extreme lightness of the west front is brought more and more to impress itself upon one by reason of the consistent disposition of the excellency and delicacy of its sculptured ornament.

This western front, from the grand portals upward, is the apogee of French Gothic ornament,—at once the admiration and boast of all France. Here is no mixture or confusion of style, in design or decoration. The pointed138 arches of window and doorway are of the accepted "best manner," the heavy detail is placed low and rises gracefully to the "Gallery of Kings," a grand succession of stone effigies of royalties from Clovis to Charles VII., a decorative arrangement not made use of elsewhere to anything like a similar extent, a fact which of itself stamps the cathedral as the royal church of France. Conceived by one Gaucher, the portals are not only superior to all others in richness, depth, and quality of the sculpture shown in the hundreds of figures with which they are peopled, but are of exceedingly true and appropriate dimensions, taken in relation with the other parts of their setting. Immediately above the gable of the central portal is a wonderful rose window, of the spoke variety, containing thirty-four sections,—of immense size and nearly forty feet across. This "most perfect rose," designed by Bernard de Soissons, may well be credited as one of the masterworks of architectural decoration in all the world. Flanking this great window on either side are two open lancet arches, while above is the "Gallery of Kings" before mentioned. The twin mullioned towers on either side rise for two hundred and sixty-seven feet. Light and airy,139 they depend for their effect of grace and symmetry entirely upon structural design, lacking sculptured ornament of any kind. Formerly they possessed spires of a great height, which, however, were destroyed by fire in the fifteenth century.

"Were all its original attributes complete," says Fergusson, "we should have the beau ideal, externally, of a cathedral." This is probably an adaptation of Viollet-le-Duc's estimate, which he expresses thus: "This west façade is the most splendid conception of the thirteenth century,—Paris, like Laon, being really a transition example, Amiens representative of different epochs, Chartres a mere reunion of fragments, and Bourges and Rouen a mélange of three centuries."

The south transept portal, which is of great breadth, contains statues of the Archbishops of Reims, and one of Clovis. A similar doorway on the north side, though now walled up, contains, in the tympanum, a fine sculptured "Last Judgment," while the transept itself houses one of those great clocks so frequently met with in Continental churches,—in this instance said to be the oldest running time-piece in existence.

Seven flying buttresses, between the 140transept and the west front, flank the nave, each holding aloft an elegantly canopied niche containing a full-length winged figure, a further unique arrangement being a similar figure which caps or pinnacles the outer piers, from which the buttresses spring. Above the point of contact of the buttresses with the main body, runs an effective balustrade of small pointed arches, while the abside shows, again, a wonderful combination of the buttress as a decorative and utile feature, combined.

The exterior may be summed up briefly as being the most gorgeously peopled and decorated structure of its age—as though it were expressly designed to show off this great throng of statues to the best possible advantage. Taken collectively, the series forms, says one writer, "the most complete and magnificent collection of mediæval iconography extant." The figures were originally perhaps as many as five thousand, representing nearly all the families of mankind.

In size the Cathedral of Reims ranks third among the four largest in France, being exceeded only by Amiens and Chartres, while Paris is slightly smaller.

The interior presents by no means the awe-inspiring grandeur of the exterior mass, and141 is possibly inferior to both Amiens and Chartres, and though well disposed, lacks the lightness of Cologne or Beauvais. A first impression rather indicates large proportions of length, breadth, and height in the nave, though these dimensions are not actually of the greatest. The transepts, including their aisles, are, however, of an extreme width, but very short; and the absence of side chapels, either here or in the nave, produces a regularity of outline unusually convincing.

The nave piers, of which there are ten on either side, with two window piercings, are of a manifestly heavy order, the capitals unusually so, being very deep and weighty with carving in high relief. The triforium is severely plain, being a mere shallow gallery of small pointed arches. The nave itself is, moreover, somewhat gloomy, when contrasted with the brilliant lighting of the aisles, caused by the peculiar arrangement of plain and coloured glass, the former filling the windows of the clerestory and the latter those of the aisles, the reverse being the case with the opposite ranges. The aisles have no chapels between the rather low windows, but groups of clustered columns against the walls. The vaulting is deep, with simple ribs, coloured142 with a blue ground spangled with stars and fleurs-de-lys. The choir is surrounded by seven chapels.

There are ten columns in the choir, all with beautifully wrought capitals. The pavement here is composed of marble taken from Libergier's abbey church of St. Nicaise, from which edifice, since destroyed, was transferred the tomb of Jovinus, the Roman prefect of Reims, who became converted in 366 A. D. The sarcophagus consists of a huge block of marble, nine feet by four, with a figure of Jovinus, "lion hunting on horseback," carved in high relief. The roof of the choir is curiously constructed of wood, of chestnut, say the authorities, as no spiders are found. The high altar, as reconstructed by Poncelet Paroissien in 1550, was a very beautiful affair if old prints, usually none too reliable as to detail, are regarded. It was, however, destroyed during the middle of the eighteenth century.

The glass of the rose window dates in part from the period of the greatest richness (thirteenth century).

The sepulchral monuments, aside from the sarcophagus of Jovinus, are to-day practically nil, having been swept away during the terrors of the Revolution. Two interesting effigies143 still remain, however, near the western doorway, a figure of a mailed knight and an abbess.

Among the real riches of the Cathedral are the remarkable and unique tapestries; well preserved, and of the finest quality of design and texture. Fourteen, by Lenoncourt, date from 1530-70; those in the south aisle, the Pepersacks, the gift of Abbé Lorraine, from 1640; and the modern Gobelins of the nineteenth century, the gift of the government. The "Tresor," which includes the church plate, most of which appears to have endured the ravages of invasion and wars, is truly magnificent and intrinsically of great value. The chief of these are: the chalice of St. Remi, of the eleventh century; a reliquary containing a thorn from the Holy Crown; the marble font in which Clovis was baptized in 496 A. D.; the chasuble of Louis XIII., and the Sainte Ampoule, which contained the holy oil brought by a dove from heaven for use at the conversion of Clovis, now a mere fragment enclosed in a modern setting, after having been ruthlessly shattered by a sans-culotte in 1793.

Adjoining the Cathedral, on the right, is the Episcopal Palace, which, with its dependencies, occupies a hectare or more of ground.144 In the first courtyard is the modern library building, which houses the cathedral's rich bibliographical treasures. Further, through a gateway, is a structure, in itself a grand building, of the time of Louis XIV. The right wing was constructed by Le Tellier in 1690. This portion is now occupied as a dwelling by the archbishop. At the end of the furthest courtyard is "The House of the Kings," a truly grand establishment, so called in the official documents because it was the logement of the monarchs who visited the city on affairs of state. This recalls to mind not the least notable of the functions performed by the great cathedral itself.

With four exceptions all the Kings of France, from Clovis to Charles X., here first entered into their kingly state. The monarchs of France were a long and picturesque line, and the ceremonies attendant upon their coronations were accordingly imposing and magnificent. The culmination, for theatrical splendour and effect, was doubtless that of Charles VII., who, through the efforts of the "Maid," here came into his own. It was a splendid, if gaudy, pageant, and the most memorable event among that long series which only ended with the coronation of Charles X. in 1823.145

The Cathedrals of the Loire





The Loire Valley for its whole length may, in every sense, be well considered the dividing-line between northern and southern influences. The romance and sentiment which cradled itself here could only have emanated from the more languid south, and from vastly differing conditions to those of the colder north. The admiration usually bestowed upon the attractions of its domestic architectural forms is, no doubt, fully merited; albeit that the cathedrals of these wealthy and powerful communities are, no one can possibly deny, if not of a mongrel type, at least of a degenerate one. It is perhaps hardly fair to note such an expression without qualification where it is applied to St. Gatien at Tours, which is really a delightfully picturesque structure; or to St. Maurice, at Angers, which is unique as to its charm of situation, and one of the most interesting churches anywhere to be found.148 But the fact is that the general plan and design is not only open here to much just criticism, but is not of the order of consistency which alone entitles an architectural monument to rank as truly great. In no instance, from Orleans to Nantes, are the cathedrals of these cities possessed of the consistent array of charms which would entitle them to a proportionate share of the admiration which is usually accorded to the great domestic establishments, the Chateaux of Blois, Chenonceau, Chambord, Langeais, or Loches.

The climatic conditions of this region hardly more than intimate the suggestion of the southland, but there is to be seen in the vineyards, and indeed in things that grow, generally, a notable tendency toward a luxuriance that is not found northward of this valley. Productive, prosperous, influential, and possessed of historical and sentimental associations as a touring ground far beyond any other section of France, the Valley of the Loire at once takes rank as the land par excellence where the traveller can be sure of a maximum of pleasure and profit; and one worthy in every way of as prolonged study and sojourn as one's possibilities and circumstances will allow.149

The towns group themselves naturally en suite in the following order: Orleans, Blois, Tours, Angers, and Nantes, and are so considered in the pages that follow.150




The association of Orleans, in English minds, mostly rests upon the events connected with the siege. Its history in the past has been mainly that of bloody warfare and massacre. As the Genabum of Gallia, it was burned by Cæsar in 52 B. C. in revenge for a previous massacre of the Romans. By Aurelian it was rebuilt and named Aurelianum, the progenitor of its present nomenclature. St. Aignan in 451 secured the safety of the city to the cause of Christianity by warding off Attila's attack.151 Clovis captured it in 498, but at his death it became the capital of an independent kingdom which was afterward, in 613, united with that of Paris. Activities no less extensive or vivid followed, till the English besieged the city in 1429, only retiring before the conquering hosts led by the Maid of Orleans on the 7th of May; the Huguenots held it as a stronghold under Coligny; and latterly the Germans occupied it, were driven out, and again reoccupied it as a base in 1870-71. Such, in brief, is a partial record of its troubles and trials, with scarce a reference to a Christian or religious motive, if we except Attila's unsuccessful attack and Coligny's Protestant fervour.

The almost legendary part played by Jeanne d'Arc should suffice to impress indelibly upon the mind the chief event in connection with any city with which her name and fame were associated.

In the third century seven bishops were sent out from Rome, to extend the influence of the Church, to Tours, Orleans, Toulouse, Narbonne, Paris, Limoges, and Auvergne; though, in spite of the success with which they met, and the zeal with which they worked, their meetings were chiefly held in the houses of152 their more opulent converts, and church building at the time appears not to have been so much desired as the dissemination of the Word itself. Since its occupation by the Germans in "'71," great contrasting elements have sprung up. Nowhere, not even in the "up-to-date" Rhine cities of Germany, is better exemplified the trend of the age in which we live. There are notable indications of its modernity in the architecture of public and private buildings, many streets and boulevards of the city being laid out anew and bisecting the older portions.

The Cathedral of St. Croix, of widely contrasting styles and eras, forms a pleasing enough key-note to it all, in spite of its garish crudities. At its best, when viewed from the bridge which spans the well-nigh dry bed of the Loire, it composes well with what is at all times a pleasing prospect, and is set off to great advantage by the fringe of green boulevard along the river bank,—a fine enough setting for an architectural monument of whatever rank, be it new or old, consistent or conglomerate. As for the classification of the architectural style of the cathedral itself, it is an unprincipled mixture of components, but little related to each other. The southern 153influence is apparent, alike in the scanty remains of the Romanesque, and the restored Renaissance portions, while Gothic peeps out here and there, in no mean proportions, as though it were misplaced and out of its true environment. The cathedral, which was destroyed in 1567 by the Huguenots, in spite of the admonitions of the Condés, is still visible in the fragments of the choir aisles, the fourteenth-century chapels appearing to have been uninjured. This much remains of the Gothic of Henry IV.'s time. The late seventeenth-century work is a manifest expression of the debasement of Gothic, and such other additions as were made in the reigns of the Louis carry the vulgarities still further, the acme being reached in the pseudo-classical north and south porches, which are sepulchral-looking of themselves, and not even of the most admired variety of the species. The most that can be remarked, considering all the distinctive features, is the fact that this cathedral is the only Gothic church, so ranking, that is not of Mediæval growth, a fact which may well account for its unsatisfactory style.

The façade follows the usual enough arrangement of three portals, though very ugly ones, flanked by rising towers on either side.154 In this case these doorways are of the nondescript variety commonly accepted as base Gothic, but hardly warranting even such a term of endearment. They are in fact flamboyant as to their lines, though of a remarkable poverty as to further embellishment, if we bar a series of misplaced armorial blazonings.

Topping the gables of the portals are a series of circular apertures, with framing of a sort, but without glass,—a poor imitation of what a rose window might be at its worst. Above is an arcaded gallery of nine graceful arches, the first really attractive ornament of this debased façade. The towers, finished so late as 1789 by M. Paris, the king's architect, rise loftily some two hundred and eighty feet, with ranges of slight columns and perpendicular lines, which give the grand and imposing effect of height of which the cathedral is undeniably possessed, and which, when viewed from down the Rue Jeanne d'Arc, is without doubt impressive,—far more so than greater intimacy will sustain.

The nave, of a height of one hundred feet, is flanked by double aisles, and in appearance is every way superior to the exterior.155

No remarkable art treasures are to be seen, if we except a series of sculptured Stations of the Cross beneath the windows, and the Gothic altars of the transepts.156




Regardless of the sentiment which attaches itself to Blois by reason of its magnificent chateau, and in spite of its undeniably picturesque and interesting environment, it hardly takes sufficient rank as a cathedral city to warrant more than a passing consideration. As it is, one cannot get from under the shadow of its overpowering attraction, and, in spite of the poverty and depressing qualities of the Cathedral of St. Louis, perhaps no place in the Loire valley has more claim upon the attention of the enthusiastic tourist. The wonderful157 chateau is all that has been said of it, and more. The picturesqueness of the city's streets of stairs, and its general up and down hill situation, offering charming vistas, unique in a city of the north, are, except for its size, really more suggestive of Genoa or Naples. In the general ensemble of the city, the Loire is an attraction of itself, when viewed from across that wonderful stone bridge, the first public work endowed by Louis XV. But even then, the awkward and uninteresting cathedral does not enter into the view with that liveliness and impressiveness which we are wont to associate with such an environment. In short, it must be set down that in the lack of pleasing qualities in its cathedral, is found Blois' greatest disappointment.

The tourist pur sang will care little about this. He usually rushes in and out during the daylight, and recalls but little except the fascinating staircase of the chateau attributed, as to its spiral formation, to Da Vinci; the ornamental chimney-pieces; and the fact that historical events of the past have intermingled inextricably the gruesome stories of the royal houses which bore respectively the arms of hedgehog and salamander. This only, with perhaps the memory that at one time or 158another a certain event took place involving the use of some forty odd daggers.

Perhaps, after all, it would be an embarrassment of riches did the town possess a cathedral, or even other monuments, to vie with this spectacular attraction which, from every view-point realizes the ideal of our imagination, as to just what a chateau and its history might be.

From near or far the cathedral shows no charm of outline. Its ridgepole is marred by three unusually obtrusive "lightning conductors," which could hardly have been more offensive had they been turned into those lath-like crosses which are seen elsewhere. Its tower is a monstrosity, with an egg-shaped protuberance which is neither shapely nor impressive, while the southern range of the nave and aisle, when viewed laterally, shows a bareness and poverty of design unusual and painful. The ensemble, from this point, is one of a certain impressiveness. It could hardly be otherwise, with the situation which it commands, even were it the grossest thing that ever took shape in architecture. Its irregularities and inconsistencies, and the great variety of outline shown by the roof-tops of the town, perhaps, make up in a measure for159 the lack of individual beauties in the church itself.

There is this much to be said, however, for the functions which this church performs. If all were as much made use of by the market-day peasants, streaming in from the surrounding country, who, with their jugs, market-baskets, and what not, in their hands, enter the building, say a short prayer or two, and toddle out again, there would doubtless be fewer churches with a poverty-stricken air and more of a better and more prosperous class.

The greater part of the cathedral which originally stood on this site was destroyed during the Revolution, and that which was afterward reared here was merely a restoration by Mansard, who, it is to be presumed, made such use as was possible of what remained.

The interior, most will agree, is no more remarkable than the exterior adornments; in fact the same paucity of plan and of detail appears from one end to the other, inside and out. The aisles are astonishingly low; the choir and nave, each unusually short. There are no transepts, and there is no triforium whatever, no chapels of any remarkable beauty, and little glass that is even passable. On the walls of the nave, beneath the low160 clerestory windows, are a series of four carven Renaissance marble panels, with other blanks suggesting the ultimate addition of similar sepulchral-looking ornaments. Such, in brief, is a résumé of the attractions, or rather the lack of them, as it will strike the average person. It is perhaps no small wonder that the traveller who desires to study architectural forms, or to sketch them, should prefer the less holy precincts of the chateau, where every facility is offered for the pursuance thereof, to that more "blessed ground," covered by the cathedral, which offers little enough in itself, and that little under a surveillance which makes one regret that the feudal times are not still with us,—when we might vent our spleen and anger upon any who offend us.161




St. Gatien de Tours





The soi-disant provincial metropolis of Mr. James' appreciative favour, the capital of old Touraine, is possessed of great and many charms for the seeker after new things. He may be passionately fond of churches; if so, the trinity here to be seen, and the history of their founders and prelates, and the important part which they played in church affairs, will edify him greatly. If romance fills his or her mind, there is no more convenient centre than Tours from which to "do" the chateaux of the Loire. If it be French history, or the study of modern economic or commercial conditions, the past activities and present prosperity of the city will give much food for thought. If to literature one's mind turns, there is the association with Balzac's birth in the Rue Royale, and his delightful picturings of the city's environment in the "Curé de Tours," "Le Lys dans la Vallée," and "La164 Grenadière." Says Balzac of the habitant: "...He is a listless and unobliging individual." But the sojourner for a day will probably not notice this, and, if he should, must simply make allowance, and think with Henry James of the other memories of "this land of Rabelais, Descartes, and Balzac; of good dinners, good company, and good houses." To link the city still closer with letters, the first printing-press in Touraine was set up here in 1496. Nicolas Jensen, famed as the foremost Venetian printer of his time, was born in the neighbourhood and was at one time "Master of the Mint" at Tours. Christopher Plantin, the head of the famous Antwerp family of printers, likewise was born in the near-by suburb of St. Avertin près Tours.

Climatically, Touraine appears to linger between the rigours of the north and the mildness of the southland; at least we are conscious of another atmosphere, made apparent by such evidences as palms and prunes growing in the open.

Tours, says her historian, has ever employed the pure French in her spoken and written word; "patois and provincialisms have no place here."165

St. Martin of Tours erected a church here, in honour of St. Peter and Paul, as a sort of antidote to the many pagan temples which he had caused to be destroyed. His successors built several others round about the city, but they appear to have been all of small size until, in the fifth century, Perpetus, Bishop of Tours in the reign of Childeric, caused to be built a more splendid church to replace that which Briceius had erected over the tomb of St. Martin. This, in turn, was rebuilt by the celebrated Gregory of Tours, or so ordered by him; until finally in the seventh century the abbey church of St. Martin of Tours became a place of pilgrimage for all the Turones. To-day, nought remains of this great church but the two towers, which have been bisected by the running of a street throughout the old nave of the church; and thus they stand as silent sentinels of the means through which Tours arose to its ecclesiastical dignity. The Tour St. Martin or "de l'Horloge" is of the twelfth century, and the other, called the Tour de Charlemagne, being the burial-place of his wife Luitgarde, is, in its lower portions, of the eleventh century.

The Cathedral of St. Gatien, which should be greatly endeared to the English people, was166 commenced by Henry II. in 1170, the choir being the earliest portion. The transepts followed in the next century, and the façade as late as the fifteenth, or the beginning of the sixteenth, century. Of manifestly Renaissance tendency, this façade for sheer charm and picturesqueness must rank with the best, with the qualifying statement added that it offends against many consistent artistic and architectural principles. It is certainly an effective type, although perhaps not warranting the statement of a certain monarch, whose art training may to some degree have been wanting, that it was a "jewel in a gemmed setting." An exceedingly picturesque and attractive pair of towers rise, through no less than three different styles, to the inverted egg-cups, which in a purer example might perhaps prove less pleasing, but which in the present case seem at least to be imbued with something of the Oriental or Mediterranean influence, not yet fallen before the actual decadence. Another peculiarity of this charmingly toned west front is that the rose window is of a peculiar lozenge shape, "neither square nor round," as one authority puts it. This, of itself, is decidedly not a graceful arrangement; but the proportions are ample and the glass is good, so its167 deficiencies may in a measure be said to be overbalanced by its merits; and, for that matter, as it is only seen in its minutia of detail from the inside, where the excellent coloured glass is seen at its best, it hardly detracts from the general fine effect of the exterior façade. The western doorways are thoroughly Renaissance, both inside and out, while the portals themselves offer a livid suggestion as to what they might have been, were all the bare niches and blocks filled and mounted with worthy statues. The effect would have been an undeniable approach to the best matured Gothic, and would have enhanced greatly this already highly interesting façade. The buttresses of the choir follow the accepted forms of grace and effectiveness, and, while not numerous or remarkable as to size, each springs to a supporting pier gracefully pinnacled and gargoyled. One instance of the functions of this valuable adjunct to the towering forms taken by most Gothic structures, is a buttress which springs, unsymmetrically enough, from the north transept. This rather ungainly limb flies out like the tentacles of an octopus, grasps a small building on the opposite side of a narrow roadway, and forms a support to the irregular construction of the168 north transept. This was perhaps necessary as a means of bracing the transept wall, which it might not have been possible to accomplish otherwise.

The interior presents the unusual feature of the omission of the organ case from over the western doorway, the organ being in this instance in the south transept, as at Le Mans. The wall space centered upon the nave proper is entirely given over to the lozenge-shaped "rose," which, in spite of its rather heavy framing and kaleidoscopic and patchworky glass, is withal effective beyond many more gracefully formed openings, where the glass is either too severely plain, or worked into a supposed design, which, by reason of its minute particles, is undecipherable. The design and arrangement of a series of lancets supporting the lozenge would be remarkable, were it in company with the best glass of the middle ages. It depicts an "Adoration" in which kings, saints, and bishops are modelled brilliantly, and with evidence of much good drawing, a detail often wanting in old, or, for that matter, modern glass.

The glass of the choir, on the other hand, is far better in arrangement, and shows deep, rich particles which are only at their best in169 the work of the early period here shown. In this glass are depicted the arms of St. Louis, Blanche of Castile, and of the City of Tours. The choir itself widens out from the crossing of the transept, causing that deviation between the piers of nave and choir which made necessary the ungainly flying buttress of the north wall.

The aisles of the nave are of no great width and are fringed with a series of chapels of which only one, that of the Sacred Heart, is in any way remarkable. The radiating chapels of the choir are more interesting, notably the lady-chapel, which contains old glass removed thither from the church of St. Julien, the subject of one of Turner's rhapsodies in his "Seine and Loire."

The clerestory of the nave consists of plain glass only; and on the triforium alone, of exceedingly graceful arcaded columns, depends the beauty of the upper ranges.

The chief treasure of artistic value and moment is unquestionably the tomb of the children of Charles VIII. and Anne of Brittany, by whose early deaths the throne passed to the Valois branch of the Orleans family. This remarkable monument is of the early sixteenth century and, according to the report of the170 Commission des Monuments Historiques, is the work of Guillaume Regnault, a statement which is much more likely to be correct than the usual guide-book information, which in some instances credits it to Goujon, and in others to a local apprentice of his, named Juste. On a Renaissance sarcophagus lie the two tiny effigies, in white marble, surrounded by guardian angels and other symbolical figures. The base bears escutcheons of the Dauphins of France, the arms and two inscriptions referring to the princes and their birth.

Flying Buttress, St. Gatien de Tours


St. Maurice d'Angers






Historically and romantically, Angers, the former capital of Anjou, is possessed of a past (which may be said to have actively commenced in 989) that cannot fail to arrest and hold one's attention. Capital of the Dukes of Anjou, and the home of Margaret of Anjou, daughter of René, who married Henry VI. of England; likewise the cradle of the first Plantagenets; and immortalized by Shakespeare's King John, who soliloquizes anent "The flinty ribs of this contemptuous town." With all this, Angers has perhaps a supreme claim for English consideration. In spite of all this, and the added attraction of a "real castle," such as is seldom found outside the children's fairy-tale books, not to mention the Cathedral of St. Maurice,—of which more anon,—Angers leaves one with the impression that very much is wanting in order to merit preëminence in the classification of those174 memories which a traveller is wont to store up as a result of his travels and observations. Perhaps it is the city's pitiful attempt to be gay, to be modern, to undertake pretentious improvements,—all of which appear to fail utterly in their purpose. These things cannot be unless they are of a spontaneous growth, which here they apparently are not. Not that the city still merits the opprobrious (sic) term of "Black Angers" with which most writers and all makers of guide-books are pleased to refer to it,—it hardly does. In fact it is doubtful as to just what the term originally meant. Perhaps it was merely a reference to the gloom caused by the extensive use in the construction of its buildings of the black slate in which the neighbourhood abounds;—at any rate the expression is one of undoubted antiquity.

The two chief attractions are the cathedral and the castle, both "historical monuments." The latter, as before noted, is the ideal military stronghold of our early imagination; and if age, magnitude, and the general air of good preservation, count for anything, it must be one of the most impressive monuments of its class still to be seen. Originally its wall, now minus battlements, fronted close upon the175 river. It is surrounded by a dry yawning fosse, formerly a moat, and possesses no less than seventeen enormous and perfectly formed towers, each perhaps eighty feet in height, banded near the top in white and black stripes. Hardly more than a circling wall to-day, it has stood well the test of time since it was erected by Philip Augustus and completed under St. Louis in 1180. Little remains of the Renaissance portion originally occupied by the Counts of Anjou. Its charm lies rather in its exterior, the interior confines resembling more a lumber-yard than anything else,—not worth spending one's time upon, under the present facilities which are offered for its inspection. One small structure within the walls is notable as being that in which King René was born. It is recorded that Wellington received a part of his military education in Angers. If so, it is probable that he studied this military defence with some care and minuteness. To us, at least, who have not been educated with respect to military fortification, it seems to fill all demands that are likely to be made upon a building of its class. Doubtless it could have been besieged successfully, and even battered through to the extent of allowing the outside foe to enter, but it would176 probably have been at a fearful cost, and it is possible that the attempt would be given up before any surrender took place. Such would appear to an outsider to be the lines on which these magnificent works of feudal times were built.

One should not speak slightingly of the Cathedral of St. Maurice, though it comes upon one who journeys from the north, as a thing apart from anything he has met before; so much so that he is hardly likely to be able to judge it dispassionately until he has turned his impressions of it many times over in his mind.

The Angevine style, seen here, is representative of but a very restricted area. The Société des Monuments Historiques defined it as "a small district on both sides of the Loire between Normandy and Acquitaine." It is suggestive of the Roman manner, far more than the Gothic; though the primitiveness shown in the long, upright lines of the west front of this cathedral marks it at once as something different from either Romanesque or Transition,—though Transition it must be, unless we delimit the confines of that useful term. In any case, it points unto heaven in a truly devout manner, is not debased in any 177particular, and, if not a consistent style, has many of the good qualities of both. The Cathedral of St. Maurice is best seen from a point of view which will exaggerate its height, its slimness, and its straight and upright lines; but even this does not appear to work out to its disadvantage, in spite of the new note it strikes. It is an interesting work when viewed from any distance sufficient to throw its outline well into the air. From across the Maine, it is charming; from the foot of the stairwayed street which runs downwards from its western portal, it is picturesque and irresistible, while from any other view-point in the town, it is grand.

The easterly end is dwarfed by close-lying houses, picturesque enough in themselves; but the gracefulness of the buttress is wanting. The south side is, here and there, broken into by additions and interpolations, none apparently of a contemporary era. It offers a grand effect for an artist who would study gray walls and crumbling roofs, but the lack of uniformity will offend most people.

The façade of the west is the most effective feature, so far as genuineness is concerned. It towers to the sky, its needle-pointed spires overtopping a crooked street which rises178 sharply from the river. There is but one portal, and that is centred with a curious Romanesque arch half-way across its height, above which is a bas-relief of great size. The sculpture of this portal, while not as excellent as that seen in the Isle of France, is of an unusual richness and execution. The next range is unique among west fronts, being a large central window, but slightly pointed and little removed from the Romanesque. It is bare of coloured glass, and is decidedly not an attractive feature. On each side of this great window are a series of blunt pointed lancets, which form a sort of arcade which otherwise relieves the bareness which would exist. Immediately above is a row of niches which hold eight armour-clad knights of the fifteenth century, inferior perhaps, in execution, to the sculpture of the portal, but producing an effect, when viewed from the ground, undeniably fine. It is a detail as interesting, in its way, as the long "Gallery of the Kings" at Reims. Above rise the slim spires, with an octagonal cupola superimposed over a central structure, which looks to this day as though it were originally intended as one of a battery of three uniform spires. The general plan of this façade is the masterpiece of design of the building,179 and, except for the ludicrously diminutive clock-face, could withstand nobly the cavil of the most exacting pedant who ever read or studied architectural forms, solely out of books. In the immediate foreground falls the before mentioned street of steps. Many old tumble-down houses have recently been cleared away, and, at the present writing, the view from this point is one which has apparently not previously existed, and one which it is to be hoped will not be marred by the erection of any so-called modern improvements.

The interior fills no accepted formula of architectural expression, save that it is of the manner common to Anjou, the borderland between the Gothic aisled and the great and aisle-less southern naves, but it holds one's interest none the less. Perhaps, after all, it is the quality to interest, quite as much as that to please, which is the standard by which one makes estimates and forms opinions. There is a not very long nor very wide nave and choir, neither with aisles, and both with a vaulting which gives the appearance of being much lower than it really is, quite the contrary impression to that received from contemplation of the exterior. The bishop's throne sets 180midway on the right of the nave. Each bay of the side walls of the nave is composed of a wide pointed arch resting immediately upon the ground and filled with stone instead of glass; reminiscent of a similar effect in the Church of Notre Dame de la Cloture at Le Mans. The true windows of the nave rise in pairs above this arch, and contain rich, though somewhat fragmentary, glass of the thirteenth century. As characteristic of the Angevine style, there is no triforium or clerestory, and hence, it is claimed, no necessity for flying buttresses, the support being accomplished by less graceful, if as effective, heavy square piers built into the outer wall.

The transepts are not pronounced as to length or breadth, their chief beauty being their rose windows.

The choir, of the twelfth century, shows an interpolated and elaborately flamboyant doorway of a much later period.

An ornate oaken pulpit of none too good Renaissance carving is in the nave, and the organ case over the western doorway is supported on the shoulders of a series of huge, grotesque, but monstrously human, wooden caryatides. This, with the gigantic, high canopied carven wood pulpit, one of the most181 extraordinary in the country, forms a relief to coldly chiselled stone, certainly;—but few will consider their charms such as would warrant counting them amongst ecclesiastical treasures.

The fourteenth-century tapestries from Arras (or Paris) were made for King René and by him given to the cathedral. They represent scenes from the Apocalypse, and, though having suffered somewhat from the depredations of the Revolution, still exhibit evidences of rare qualities of workmanship in their design and colouring.

The bénitier of verd-antico marble supported by figures of lions is a Byzantine work of the eastern empire, given to the cathedral by King René.

The Dukes of Anjou and Margaret of Anjou were buried here, but the tomb of the latter was desecrated and destroyed during the Revolution. Aside from these, no other monuments of note are to be seen.

The Bishop's Palace, of the twelfth century, standing high beside the cathedral, was restored by Viollet-le-Duc and reflects a mediæval splendour unseen elsewhere in the city, with respect to any great or small domestic establishment.182

The Maison Barrault in the Logis Barrault, built by a former mayor of the city, one time Chancellor of Brittany, was the scene of the magnificent entertainment offered Cæsar Borgia in 1497. Afterwards it became the residence of Marie de Medicis; later, a monastic establishment, then a seminary, and lately simply an ordinary private school. Says one writer, "No wonder its remains should be so scanty and ill preserved."183




As a city of commercial and strategic importance, no one will deny that Nantes is supreme in the Loire valley; that its relations with the affairs of Church and State are equally important, is a debatable point. True, the edict in favour of Protestant worship, fathered by Henry IV., was a momentous and significant event; but the revocation, and the subsequent massacres of the rascally Carrier, well-nigh wiped that out. The history of the city is one long record of warfare and bloodshed. Though holding the command of the184 Loire, the city has ever been more closely identified with Brittany. Here, in its frowning tenth-century castle, which fronts upon the river immediately in the foreground of the Cathedral of St. Pierre, with which it forms an unusual grouping of ecclesiastical and military architecture (M. H.), lived at one time or another, most of the Kings of France, from Charles VIII. downward. Here, too, Anne of Brittany was born, and here she married Charles VIII., thus uniting the Duchy of Brittany with the crown of France. Her subsequent marriage, in the chapel of the castle, with Louis XII., made for ever impossible the future independence of the city.

Following the edict came the Revolution; and, as if the preliminary horrors of massacres and atrocities, which spread to Orange in Vaucluse and to Arras in Picardy, were not of sufficient stringency, the "Noyades," or drownings, carried off the poor unfortunates, a boatload at a time, until it is estimated that perhaps nine thousand were thus cruelly murdered,—women, children, royalty, and the clergy alike. The wrath which spent itself seemed to know no rank. The guillotine, disease, and famine finished the work, so that the population of the city was, at the beginning of185 the nineteenth century, immeasurably inferior in numbers to what it had been a decade before. The details of these significant events are recounted quite fully enough by historians generally; but, in reality, it has little to do with the aspect of the city as it exists to-day, which, if not one of great splendour, partakes in no small measure of the attributes of a large metropolis, amply planned, beautifully laid out, and possessing, in addition to the characteristics of Brittany with which it has been so long identified, not a little of the influences and attributes of the south.

Immediately to the rear of the chateau is the Cathedral of St. Pierre, ancient as to its foundation, and grand as to its general effect, both inside and out, though its exterior is marred by its uncompleted towers. Lofty, but of heavy proportions, St. Pierre de Nantes would, at first sight, appear to offer much that goes to make a satisfying ecclesiastical building. As a matter of fact, it fails in many particulars to realize any ideal which we have come to admire. The western façade is more indebted to the rich and reasonably ornate portals for its undeniable impressiveness, than to the gable of towers, which have crumbled exceedingly from the effects of wind and186 weather, rather than of great age, since they date only from the fifteenth century.

The choir rests on the remains of an older church, hardly to be seen to-day in any appreciable evidence, in that restoration and rebuilding have been so extensively carried on.

The windows throughout are but weak decorative elements, and lack tracery and glass of a decorative quality, an obvious detraction in any great architectural work. The south transept shows indications of four successive periods of construction, and contains the best glass in the church; otherwise it is severely plain.

The interior is by no means as incoherent as the exterior, the height of the nave, one hundred and thirty feet, giving an otherwise unapproachable grandeur; though this admirable dimension is qualified to no small degree by a triforium of a luxurious florid growth, little in keeping with the other attributes of firmness and strength.

The chapels throughout are bare and uninteresting so far as their altars or decorative embellishments are concerned,—what they may be at some future time, if the Art Nouveau gets a foothold in church decoration, is fearful to contemplate. Paintings, none too187 common in French churches, are here somewhat in excess of customary numbers, though, as to quality or interest, in no church in France can they vie with those of the great churches of Italy or Flanders.

Like the neighbouring city of Tours, Nantes has in its cathedral, for its pièce de résistance, a magnificent sepulchral monument, the tomb of François II., the last Duc de Bretagne, and Marguerite de Foix, his second wife, erected to their memory by their daughter Anne. This remarkable mausoleum was executed in 1502-07, after designs of Jehan Perréal, by Michel Colomb and his pupils, Regnault and Jean de Chartres, with the assistance of Jérôme de Fiesole, who contributed the ornamental portion. It fortunately escaped demolition at the Revolution, and was brought hither and placed in the south transept from the Eglise des Carmes in 1817. It is a wonderful exemplification of the very best quality of Renaissance. The main portion of the tomb is of marble, with black mouldings somewhat shattered in places, but not so much so as to affect the contour or design. The effigies lie recumbent upon a slab, their feet resting on a lion and a greyhound, upheld by a series of miniature figures of the188 twelve apostles in niches of red marble. At the corners are four nearly life-size figures, depicting Justice, with sword and scales, said to be a portrait of the Duchess Anne; Power, strangling the dragon of Heresy; Prudence, a double face, showing also Wisdom, with mirror and compass; and Temperance, bearing a curb-bit and a lantern. A tablet at the head bears the figures of St. Louis and Charlemagne, and one at the foot, those of St. Francis of Assisi and Ste. Marguerite, the patrons of the duke and duchess.


Central France


St. Etienne d'AUXERRE




The entrance to the Burgundian city of Auxerre is more or less confused if one would, at the first glance, attempt to recognize its cathedral from among the three fine churches which in true mediæval fashion loom up over the river Yonne; not that the entrance is not pleasing: the reverse is actually the case, though one's way into the town lies through newly made roads. However, upon contemplation of the pleasant prospect of town and river, he would be an uninspired person indeed who would not be able to pick out the Cathedral of St. Etienne, with its singular reddish brown roof, from among its less imposing neighbours. It is the central building of the three, and it rises majestically above all, enhanced by the fine grouping of its one lone tower.

As a type to admire, the cathedral, be it said, is not of a superlative quality; but as a thing of beauty in many of its details and192 because of its aforesaid commanding situation, it is one not to be ignored when the really fine gems of mediæval treasures are catalogued. It is another of those types, so far as its choir is concerned, which rise to a loftiness of soaring height, which, in later days, degenerated, or were lost altogether in the fabric of the transepts and nave. The height of the choir is perhaps not so great as it really appears, when gauged by its sheer rise from the river level; but such is the suggestion, at least, which, after all, is what the eye and certain other of our senses admire, quite as much as a professed expert classification.

The western front is of unusual appearance in that the southern tower glances off into the angle of the gable in most curious fashion; not beautiful, nor as originally intended to remain, but so it is, and offers at least a comparison of how a lofty gable looks when it lacks towers of an appropriate height. At the right of this low tower of the façade, hidden behind a wall, is a thoroughly Pagan doorway, which might well pass unobserved, did one not actually stumble upon it unawares. It is a curious reminder of other days and other ways, and how it became an adjunct of this mediæval church the local records fail to193 state. The three main portals of the façade, as that of the transept, are somewhat bare of ornament, though the main tympanum and the spring of the arch are fairly filled. These portals are of the late thirteenth century, and exhibit no traces of the debasement which subsequently entered into the upper ranges of the tower and lateral portals.

Both the transepts and the west front contain rose windows of good, though not remarkable design, and each is exceedingly generous in size. The interior, generally, does not give the effect of the great height suggested from the rear view of the choir overhanging the river front; but both nave and choir are of unusual width, and so also is the clerestory, which is lofty, and set with rare old glass of the most splendid and valuable quality, in the main the gift of Bishop de Villeneuve in 1220.

The choir terminates with the usual apse, which is further elongated by the far-reaching lady-chapel, which adjoins the main fabric in a graceful and unusual manner. The north tower was completed as late as the sixteenth century, and that of the south was left unfinished,—as it is to-day. The gable and its portals are highly decorated with statues, niches, and crockets.194

Around the aisles of nave and choir is a curiously suggested arcade with an overhanging balustrade ornamented with a series of indifferently sculptured heads. The bosses of many of the intersecting groins of the vaults are coloured with questionable effect. There are also many visible evidences of coloured wall decorations, which might perhaps as well have been left covered, inasmuch as they have suffered exceedingly in the attempted restoration; so much so, that it is impossible to say whether they ever approached acceptable perfection; possibly not, as they are supposed to date only from the period when much of this class of work was of none too good a quality.

The triforium of the nave is gracefully balustraded, and the choir stands apart from the nave, separated by an elaborate eighteenth century iron grille. The ambulatory of the choir sets three steps lower than the nave, though the platform is on the same level. The crypt beneath the choir, so often the only existing remains of an earlier church, is here grandly in evidence, and dates from the eleventh century at least.

There are a few interesting tombs of former Bishops of Auxerre and others of local celebrity.195

On the whole the charm of Auxerre and its cathedral must be admitted to lie in its general surroundings and immediate environment, quite as much as because of any remarkably distinctive features of a superlative quality in the cathedral itself, though an undeniable wealth of picturesque detail exists.

The conventional guides speak of it as "highly interesting," and so it is, with its Romanesque remains, its ungainly façade, its three fine but weather-worn doorways, and its charming river view.

Beside the cathedral stands the old-time Episcopal Palace with its fine arcaded Romanesque gallery overlooking the river, where the prelates took their "constitutionals," safely guarded from wind and weather. To-day this grand building represents the officialdom of the local Préfecture.

Two other noble ecclesiastical monuments are to be seen here, the Church of St. Germain, or rather, the fragment which was spared by the Huguenots, now being used as an adjunct to a hospital; and the Church of St. Pierre. The latter is the most appalling example of a Renaissance building which one is likely to meet with, and shows in its remarkable façade, in sheer perversion of misdirected labour, the196 grossness of pseudo-classicism, which quite entitles it to rank with that other equally abominable example in Paris, St. Eustache.

The portail of this remarkable church, locally so called, though in reality it is only a detached gateway, far from the church building itself, is a wonderful Italian suggestion, now mellowed and weathered and undeniably charming in colour in spite of its being so manifestly out of its environment.


St. Etienne de Bourges





The Cathedral of St. Etienne de Bourges partakes of the same honours which are accorded to the premier quartette of the Isle of France. Nearly contemporary with Paris and Laon, this cathedral steps into its rank with a grandeur and firmness that in a less stolid or more ornate edifice is often wanting. It retains certain of its Romanesque features, perhaps unduly pronounced; likewise it has certain attributes of Burgundian luxuriance; but withal it presents the highly developed Gothic tendency to a far greater degree than either. Although not far to the south of Paris, Bourges is thoroughly of another climatic environment, which not only shows itself in the changed conditions of life, but in the manner of building as well.

The great transeptless church of St. Etienne is another of those soaring monuments which rise skyward and hold the eye whenever one is in its vicinity. Standing on an eminence of200 not very great height, it dominates, from every point of view, the plain which surrounds the city and reminds one of Noyon or Laon in its comparative isolation. Not because its domicile is not a place of some magnitude, but rather because the neighbouring houses lie so huddled in a valley or plain, does the city give the impression of being of less size than it really is.

The view from the railway on entering the town is, as it has been called by some imaginative Frenchman, "but the hors d'oeuvre of the architectural feast to follow," and on drawing still closer, it composes grandly with the swift-flowing little river lined with the tall slim trees which are so distinguished a feature of a French landscape.

Like Beauvais, Amiens, and, in only a slightly lesser degree, Le Mans, the sheer fall of the nave and choir from ridge to ground startles one by its exaggeration of perpendicular lines. Though by no means of the great height of these other examples, its great size first impresses one as its distinguishing feature. It sits, too, on the edge of a beautiful wooded park which, in conjunction with the modern Episcopal Palace, forms an ensemble of stone and verdure not often to be seen as the environment201 of a French cathedral. The gardens are quite open to the public and are set forth with clipped hedges, trees, and monumental stone work of no mean order.

Bourges is another of those ancient foundations of mid-France where Romish influences died hard, and Gothic, as a perfected type, never, as it were, attained its majority. Here, the mixture of style is notable; pointed and rounded arches intermingled, apparently indiscriminately, with thoroughly Gothic supports, mullions, and piers. These, with the characteristically Renaissance north and south porches, with their carven doorways, all go to complete a series of typically fashioned details, each true to its own age. Such a combination of varying virtues should give the student, or the seeker after new sensations, something more to think about than a mere catalogue of consistent charms; for it cannot be denied that this church, standing aloof from any other single type, is a marvel of grandeur and impressiveness, whatever may be its failings when dessicated by the theorist or the archæologist.

It is unlikely that Saracen or even Moorish influences were ever at work so far north as this; but there is an unquestionable tendency202 in much of the debased decoration of this church to more than suggest a similarity to both. It is, of course, not Gothic, as we know it, nor Byzantine, pur sang, and it is certainly not Italian, but something quite different. It is, perhaps, worthy of record that the inverted horseshoe arch more nearly approximates what is commonly considered the Moorish form; or, to give it a wider locale, Mediterranean, at least. The polygonal turrets which flank the towers and the chapels of the abside look, too, not unlike a sub-tropical feature, possibly Saracen. Such details are markedly noticeable here, and it is because of features such as these that one is minded to consider the church as something quite different from anything seen elsewhere.

To carry the argument still farther, if these details are to be considered in any sense Gothic, or any outgrowth thereof, it certainly augurs much for the possibility of this style having come originally from the East, or at least the Mediterranean countries. It has been claimed before now by English and French writers alike, that it may have developed from the arts of the Moors of Spain, or that it may have grown up from a primitive style in vogue in the Far East. The comment is given without203 further elaboration; but here, at least, we see some basis for the claim that Gothic is but a transplanted flower after all, and that it developed so boldly only from the seed's having been blown hither from some other land, and finding a favourable soil in which to take root and flourish.

Without transepts, the long flank of the nave and choir is singularly beautiful, broken into at regular intervals by buttresses which, if not remarkable examples, are at least graceful, though so light that they have been visibly stayed by iron rods, as is frequently the case elsewhere, at Beauvais particularly, where the whole fabric appears to be hung together by wires.

The actual inception of the cathedral is attributed to Rudolphe de Turenne, forty-sixth Archbishop of Bourges. Of his known work only the round-arched crypt remains, upon which foundation the present grand pile was reared.

The west front possesses a quintette of portals, deeply recessed, but of a decidedly mixed Gothic and Renaissance treatment as to decoration. Such a range of elaborated doorways is hardly to be found in such luxuriance elsewhere, though the fact that there are five204 in all, standing grandly in a row, is perhaps not unique of itself. They are profusely decorated with sculptured forms of angels, saints, and kings. The tympanum of the central portal contains a "Last Judgment," remarkable alike for its magnitude and workmanship. Throughout, these portals vary in date of their construction, their treatment, and their excellencies, but in general they are homogeneous and convincing. In the gables of three are circular piercings which open into a sort of vestibule or porch; but these are entirely without glass. Another unique feature of this western front is a curious lofty double-storied structure, a chapel-like building, of whose functions most will remain in ignorance. It is connected with the main body of the church by a long tentacle-like ligature through which, says Henry James, "the groaning of the organ or the pealing of bells must be transmitted with distressing clearness."

The hybrid tower on the extreme left, with many round-arched windows and much florid ornament, is familiarly called the "Tour de Beurre," and, as its compeer at Rouen, was built from the contributions of those who were willing to forego themselves the luxury of205 butter. To the right is a much less imposing tower, but one that is much more true as to its style. It rises scarcely above the central gable, and helps to exaggerate the lack of uniformity of the façade, a condition much deplored by the true Gothic builder, though whether such varying detail does not after all make a more interesting, and perhaps as edifying a work for pleasurable contemplation, is an open question. There is, in any event, a marvellous power in this massive west front to confirm one's opinion that it is a comprehensive and yet varied thing. Another curious feature of this front is a pair of overlying buttresses of no apparent purpose as to staying power, since the wall space which they flank is of no inordinate height. The window space, though, is ample; and, though mostly in blank to-day, at a future time those blanks might be broken out; hence the necessity for these extra props.

The interior gives, likewise, a grand impression, one of vaster magnitude than in reality exists. The length is probably exaggerated by reason of the lack of transepts; but its breadth, including nave and aisle, is unusually great, and the height is further magnified by the fact that the aisles themselves have206 three ranges of openings, above which, in the nave, rise the triforium and clerestory,—surely alone a sufficiently unusual arrangement to account the church as of remarkable planning. Its great beauty may be said to be the magnificent proportions throughout, rather than the preëminent intrinsic value of any specific detail.

The rose window of the west end, though of grand proportions, appears to fail utterly as a supreme effort because of the flatness and depression given to its circumferential outline. Like that of St. Gatien at Tours it is of an uncertain lozenge shape, while the effect is further lessened by the mediocrity of its glass and framing.

The general appearance of the interior is one of symmetrical grandeur, wherein the effect of each dimension is probably enlarged, but with a fine and consistent proportion. Its conventional embellishments are not unduly ornate; though, for that matter, they do not give the impression of being wanting to any great degree either in quality or quantity. In no particular, however, is the sculptured form of figure or foliage of that excellence and magnitude of that of the cathedral at Reims or at Amiens.207

The magnificent proportions of the choir well merit the term of "Burgundian opulence." Its termination opens with an amplitude often wanting in even a larger building, the piers being wide apart, without screening, which heightens still more its generous proportions.

The two picturesque cardinal's hats, with cord and tassels, have long been pendant from the vault of the choir, and are now dimmed in colour and thick deep with dust, seemingly destined to fall of sheer old age and decrepitude. Further particulars concerning this picturesque detail are wanting only from the lack of any one in attendance from whom one might get this information,—perhaps some reader of these lines may be more fortunate.

On the pavement of the nave is a brass rule, inlaid diagonally from the north to the south wall. Its original use appears to be clothed in some obscurity, one informative person stating that it is the line of departmental division, and another that it marks the meridian of Paris, which is shown on all French navigation charts. Its real purpose is evidently topographical rather than of religious or symbolical significance.

An ardent French writer deplores the fact208 that there is no monument here to show respect for Louis XI., who was born at Bourges and baptized in the cathedral; a pity, perhaps, and certainly a subject worthy of the consideration of "the powers that be."





A unique experience is one's first contemplation of the "gay little city of Nevers" from the Pont du Loire, with the none too large Cathedral of St. Cyr and St. Juliette crowning, as it were, the apex of a series of steep rises from the Loire, which, even at this distance from the sea, still retains its ample breadth. Said Arthur Young in his plain and bald phraseology, "Nevers makes a fine appearance." Here, on the very threshold of the southland, it is something of a shock to be210 brought at once into intimate association with Italian influences and types of architecture; for, be it recalled, Nevers has been truly "an Italian stronghold in the midst of France," with little to remind one, but its speech, that it is merely a provincial French market-town. Nevers was the seat of the Italian Dukes and Counts of Nièvre, who built the ducal palace, the ci-devant chateau, now the Palace of Justice. Here, later, dwelt the nephew of the great Mazarin, who said his king "had a heart more French than his speech." Through his efforts the Nivernais was incorporated with the French crown in 1669.

This fine turreted, towered, and decorated building, with its sculpture attributed to Goujon, is to-day, in appearance at least, what it was in the past,—the typical urban domestic establishment of grand proportions and splendid appointments; though it may hardly be said to vie with such masterpieces as Chambord, Chenonceau, or Blois. Nor, for that matter, is the town itself entitled to rank, as to its events of historical importance or the fame or personality of its bishops or counts, with either Chartres or Le Mans, both of which it somewhat approaches in point of size.

Aside from its many and varied charms,211 which have been duly set forth by most writers on the French provinces who have had anything whatever to say about it, Nevers should be doubly endeared to all makers of guide-books and students of ecclesiastical architecture, from the fact that the Abbé Bourassé, Honorary Canon of Nevers, here wrote and dedicated to his bishop, Mgr. Dufêtre, a work treating of the French cathedrals which will ever rank as one of the most delightfully written and useful books of its class. This fact perhaps is hardly to be reckoned as of historical moment, but pertinent to the plan of the present work nevertheless.

Nowhere, not even in Provence or Acquitaine, are to be noted more significant tendencies toward a southern influence in the matter of civil and ecclesiastical building. True, many of the minor structures have to-day descended unto base uses, and many of their perfections and beauties are therefore sunk below the surface. For instance, where a palace has become a warehouse, or a church been turned into a stable, or been given over to the uses of a wine factor.

Before even considering the cathedral itself,—dedicated to the hero of the legendary tale concerning St. Cyrus, who, depicted as a212 naked child riding astride a wild boar, was able to turn the infuriated beast from a certain King Charles (further designation not given) and preserve him from danger,—it is well to know that most authorities agree in giving habitation here to one of the most perfect Romanesque churches in all northern Europe, that of St. Etienne, built in 1063-96, and consecrated in the latter year by Ivor, Bishop of Chartres. Of the century contemporary with this fine work, as yet hardly spoiled by any offensive restorations, are two columns, in the easterly portion of the Cathedral of St. Cyr, which bear the date of 1024. From this foundation the lover of churches will rear for himself an exceedingly interesting and uncommon type.

Not of the first rank, St. Cyr has the power to hold one's attention far more closely and interestingly than many of greater worth and magnitude; and its environment, from every point of view, composes itself into a picture which it would be hard to duplicate. The grouping of the chevet of the choir with the low roofs of the town lying at its base, and the gardens of the ducal chateau in the immediate foreground, forms an unusually varied combination of the picturesque.213

The wealth of Nevers in architectural monuments would be notable in a town many times its size. The Port de Paris, a not especially attractive Renaissance gateway, guards the northerly, and the Port du Croux the westerly, end of the town. This latter groups nobly with the west end and tower of the cathedral, and is of itself a monument of the first rank, being so designated by the Commission des Monumentes Historiques. A feudal defence, square, broad-based, turreted, flanked with circular watch-towers, and still further strengthened by a barbican which once held a portcullis, this wonderfully effective barrier more than suggests the mediæval stronghold. Two other towers of the ancient enceinte still remain, the Tour Gougin, and the Tour St. Eloi.

Intimate acquaintance with the cathedral shows a blending, not offensive, but in no slight manner, of the Romanesque, early and late Gothic, and finally Renaissance styles. Nevertheless there is an apparent cohesiveness often lacking in a larger work, or in one built within a shorter period of time. One distinctly northern feature there is; namely, the singular effect given by the double apse of the nave and choir, reminiscent mainly of the214 Rhine builders, that of the eastern end being much the older. The half-obliterated frescoes of the domed vaulting of the western apse indicate that it was completed after the pure Italian manner at a considerably later time than the opposite end. It is hardly a beautiful or even a necessary feature to either the exterior or interior of a great church, and, fortunately, is unusual in France, though common enough in Germany, notably at Mainz, Worms, and Treves. The most remarkable interior effect, aside from this western apse, is that of the lofty Gothic arches, springing high above the Romanesque arches of the nave, and naturally of a much later date. Certainly this must be, so far as the respective proportions of each are concerned, an entirely unique feature. Notable evidences are to be seen of frescoes, probably the work of some Italian hand, both on the screen and in the domed apse. They have apparently been whitewashed over many times, but remorse, if tardily, has evidently come lately, and such restoration or renovation as has been possible, has been undertaken.

A dainty and diminutive spiral stairway, suggestive of having been modelled on the lines of the grand spirals at Chambord or215 Blois, and half enclosed in the surrounding wall, leads to the Chapter Room above. The eastern apse, and the crypt beneath, are the earliest parts readily to be observed and are probably the remains of the Romanesque structure built by Hugh II. early in the eleventh century, after the common type of the Auvergnat and Angevine churches.

Perhaps the best workmanship to be noted is that of the thirteenth-century chapels surrounding the choir. Reclus, a French authority, has declared that the ornamental foliage here is not only really admirable as to itself, but is the "perfection of imitation," and extends this commendation also to the work on the pillars and capitals of the north doorway by which the church is usually entered.

The interior generally is brilliant and pleasing, though good glass is mostly wanting, and the uninterrupted flood of light detracts measurably from the warmth and geniality suggested by the memory of Bourges, Chartres, or Auxerre. The rose window over the western apse is pitifully weak and quite lacking in effectiveness.

A canopied baldacchino rises above the altar and, being of stone treated in a graceful Gothic manner, is an ornament much more in216 good taste than the hideous mahogany or oaken serpentine atrocities which are often erected.

It is impossible to come into close contact with the exterior of this cathedral except by approaching it from the eastern end. West front there is none. As one has said, "It possesses merely a western end." The western tower, of two non-contemporary orders of Gothic (fourteenth and fifteenth centuries), whether viewed from near or far, is far more pleasing than any other general exterior feature. The chevet of the choir extends, as it were, well into the nave, there being no transepts. This is evidently a local custom, recalling the neighbouring cathedrals at Bourges and Auxerre.

The sculptured decoration of the later portion is exceedingly well disposed, and of such magnitude and numbers as to lack that poverty in the ensemble often apparent in a more pretentious work.

The Church of St. Etienne in Nevers, so thoroughly Roman in inception of design and execution of detail, indicates more vividly than any other example that might possibly be taken, the shortness of time in which the Gothic development actually took place.217 With Notre Dame at Paris full in mind, it is well to recall that these accepted perfect examples of two contrasting types are scarce a hundred and fifty miles apart, and, in point of time, but sixty years. What an exemplification this surely is of the transition which came to the art of church building in the twelfth century; what extraordinary rapidity of conception and development, and how narrow were the confines of the true Gothic spirit, indigenous only to the royal domain, which alone produced the churches which fully merit the concisely expressed definition of Gothic: "A manner of building maintained (sustained) by a system of thrust and counter thrust."





Langres is reminiscent of but one other cathedral city in the north of France; like Laon, it occupies and fortifies the crest of a long drawn out hill, or, to give it dignity, it had perhaps best be called in the language of the native "de la montagne de Langres," since from its apex, it is truly dominant of a wide expanse of horizon.

Of the Burgundian transition type, the Cathedral at Langres, dedicated to St. Jean the Evangel and St. Mammes, is in many ways a remarkable architectural work, but contaminated219 beyond cure by two overbearing Greco-Roman towers and a portal of the mid-eighteenth century. As a relief, there adjoins the main body of the church, on the southeast, one of those masterworks of the supreme Gothic era,—a canon's cloister of an exceeding thirteenth-century beauty. In other respects, the exterior is of little note except as to its wonderful degree of prominence in the general grouping of the roofs of the town, when the city is viewed from below.

The interior spreads itself out in severe and imposing lines with hardly a remarkable feature in either transepts or nave. The organ-loft, a Calvary, and a marble statue of the Virgin, by Lescornel, a sculptor of Langres, and a few modern sculptured monuments, are the only decorative attributes to be seen, if we except the Renaissance Chapelle des Fonts Baptismaux with its sculptured vaulting on the left.

The symmetrical choir is in itself the true charm of St. Mammes. It has a fine ambulatory, and a range of eight monolithic columns, removed, says tradition, from an ancient Pagan temple. Their capitals are ornamented with carven foliage, grimacing heads, and fantastic animals.220

A sixteenth-century screen surrounds the choir, but is more like unto a triumphal arch than a churchly accessory.

The high altar is a comparatively modern work, as may be supposed, and dates only from 1810.

On the right of the choir is an elaborate Roman doorway, and preserved in the Chapter Room are five paintings depicting the "Chaste Susanne." A remarkable collection of reliques is shown by the sacristan, in the Chapelle des Reliques.



The small town of Auxonne, lying between Dijon and Besançon, is seldom thought of in connection with a cathedral church. There is little there to compel one's attention beyond the fact that the Church of Notre Dame, of the fourteenth-sixteenth century, is an interesting enough example of a minor edifice which at one time was classed as a cathedral.

The church is mainly Gothic and has the unusual arrangement of a Romanesque tower rising above the transept.221


East of Paris




No arbitrary territorial arrangement can be made to include with exactness each and every ecclesiastical division, but, since the Royal Domain and the immediately adjacent territory includes the major portion of what are commonly accepted as the Grand Cathedrals, it has been thought permissible, in the present case, to make a further subdivision which shall include Boulogne and St. Omer, north of Paris; eastward to the Rhine and southward to include Dijon and Besançon. A topographer might not make such a division or arrangement of territory; but no other seems possible which shall include the region lying between the extremes of Besançon and Boulogne.

The local characteristics or architectural types differ widely within these limits, both as to style and excellence. In one way, only, have they advanced under conditions of unity,224 that of the establishment of a Christian church, but, otherwise, now favouring the northern influence and now the southern. The frontier provinces have, as a natural course, been subject to many retarding influences which have been wanting elsewhere; for invasion from without may be depended upon to be as baneful for the preservation of a nation's art treasures as a revolution from within. The Christian element early forced its way among the Franks, and Clovis, at the solicitation of his Christian queen and her bishop, was not averse to adopting what he might otherwise have regarded as a superstition. His conversion at Reims not only fostered and propagated Christianity, but gave an impetus to the foundation and building of churches in a most generous fashion.

The region to the eastward of Paris, which has played no unimportant part in the history of France, while prolific as to varied types of church building, possesses but one example of the very first rank,—and that, as a style which typifies Gothic art, may be said to rank supreme over all others,—Notre Dame de Reims. As the seat of the Metropolitain, and the City of Coronations, it was allied closely with early affairs of Church and State.225

The principles and manner adopted by Guillaume of Sens in his great works early affected the style here, as seen by the many transition examples, just as the influence of the Monk of St. Bénigne of Dijon caused the round-arched species of the west of France. At all events the primitive Gothic influences were early at work and in a measure absorbed the Romanesque tendencies which had flourished previously.

The most notable exception, an example of the distinctly southern type, is at Besançon, which has a remarkable array of contrasting style, with the Romanesque, though not of the best, predominating.

With the cathedrals in the extreme northerly section we have little to do,—in fact there is little that can be said. St. Omer is possessed of a wonderful old church which at one time ranked as a cathedral, and which has glimpses here and there of very good Gothic. There are also, in this otherwise not very interesting city, two other church buildings worthy of more than an ordinary amount of attention, the ruins of the Abbey of St. Bertin and the Church of St. Denis.

Boulogne-sur-Mer has a modern pseudo-classical structure built well into the 226nineteenth century. It is more notable as a monument to the industry of the man who brought about its erection, taking the place of a former structure burnt during the Revolution, than as a satisfactory example of a great church. The same may be said with equal truth of the atrocious Renaissance and Pagan structures to be seen at Cambrai and Arras, though the conditions under which they were built differ. At Cambrai, however, the present building replaces a former structure levelled by fire.

Châlons-sur-Marne,—dear to every French patriot as being renowned for the manufacture of flags, a suffragan of Reims, has a remarkable cathedral of Romanesque foundation of the fifth to the seventh centuries. Its warlike record, from 273 A. D., when Aurelian vanquished Tetricus, to the occupation by the Germans in 1871, is one long succession of military affairs. To-day the city is the domicile of the most important army corps of France.

These towns, with Nancy, Toul, and St. Dié in the valley of the Moselle, complete the list of those cities which by any stretch of territorial boundaries could be classed under the head of "East of Paris."

It may be a debatable point as to whether227 Strasbourg and Metz might not have been included; the writer is inclined to think that they might have been, though their interests and influences have always been more Teutonic than Gallic,—still, they are thoroughly Germanized to-day, and, as we cannot interrupt the march of time, and the present volume will otherwise approach the limits originally set out for it, they must perforce be omitted.









Boulogne-sur-mer is one of those neglected tourist points through which the much travelled person usually rushes en route to some other place. It perhaps hardly warrants further consideration except for the history of its past, and its intimate association with certain events which might seriously have affected the history of England. It is, however, an interesting enough place to-day, if one cares for the bustle and rush of a seaport and fishing town,—not very cleanly, and overrun with tea-shops and various establishments which cater only to the cockney abroad, who gathers here in shoals during the summer months. There is, too, a large colony of resident English, probably attracted by its nearness to London, and possibly for purposes of retrenchment, for there is no question but that the franc, of twenty per cent. less value than the shilling, accomplishes quite as much as232 a purchasing power. This must be quite a consideration with pater-familias with a limited income derived from Consols or some other traditionally "excellent investment."

Most travellers are familiar with what attractions Boulogne really does offer, but few if any would consider its very modern and ugly cathedral one of them.

Perched in the centre of the Haute-Ville, overlooking the city and port, the Cathedral of Notre Dame exists to-day more as a monument to the energy and devotion of its founder than as a notable architectural work. It follows no particular style, except that it is Italian of the most debased general type, though no doubt parts of it meet the dimensions and formulas laid down by accepted good examples in its native land. There is no doubt but that its domed cupola is manifestly out of place, though this detail is the only feature which gives the cathedral any distinction.

A Gothic church stood here up to the Revolution, and the building of the present structure was devotedly undertaken to replace its loss by a doubtless earnest man, who, in his zeal, sought to build after what he considered a newer if not a better style. Parts of the233 crypt are of the ancient twelfth century church; but the structure above dates from 1827-66.

Its façade, of a poor classical order, is flanked by two slight cupola towers equally meaningless and insignificant. Surmounting the central dome is a colossal statue of the Virgin.

The interior is in no way remarkable or interesting. There are a few monuments and a gorgeous high altar of precious marbles, mosaic, and bronze, the gift of Prince Alex Torlonia. The lady-chapel is still resorted to as a place of pilgrimage by the seafaring and fisher folk of the neighbourhood.

A modern reproduction of a sarcophagus from the catacombs at Rome forms the tomb of Mgr. Haffreingue (1871).234



Cambrai is one of that quartette of cathedral cities of northern France which in no sense take rank as ecclesiastical shrines of even ordinarily interesting, much less beautiful, attributes. Of the other three, Arras, St. Omer, and Boulogne, St. Omer alone is possessed to-day of anything approaching the great Gothic churches which were spread broadcast throughout France during the five centuries of church building in the middle ages.

In manners and customs, and indeed in speech to some extent, these cities all partake somewhat of the locale of those of the Low Countries. These attributes, which have retained their original identities across the borders, were for many centuries, and even so late as the seventeenth century, existent in French Flanders. Curiously enough, in none of these cities are any of the primitive Gothic types to be noted in the cathedral churches, though235 many possess their olden-time belfries and watch towers, preserved to-day with something of the local pride which evinces itself elsewhere with respect to cathedrals. It is possible that this is due to the fact that this great industrial centre of northern France is more given to the arts of manufacture than to the devotion of church-going or even of church building. Another notable and almost universal feature of these cities are the Renaissance or Romanesque gateways,—silent reminders to-day of the mediæval communities which they once protected, and of the warlike invasions of the past.

The Cathedral of Notre Dame de Cambrai is on the site of an older abbey church, which was of the same ugly style as the present edifice itself, but which dated, however, only from the early eighteenth century. The present building is said to furnish a replica, of the vintage of 1859, of the tasteless and crude style of the earlier building. There are statues therein of Fenelon, Bishop Belmas, by David d'Angers, and of Cardinal Regnier; and a series of grisaille windows, after originals by Rubens, by Geeraerts of Anvers.

The chimes of Cambrai rank among the most noted in Europe. They are composed236 of thirty-nine bells and produce a carillon, "very agreeable," says a French authority. They certainly do,—the author can endorse this from a personal knowledge,—and they have not as yet descended to such banalities as popular military marches. The largest bell, given by Fenelon in 1786, weighs 7,500 kilos.

Notre Dame de Cambrai




Under Baldwin of Hainault, Artois, including St. Omer, was ceded to the kingdom of France as late as the mid-seventeenth century. Few minor churches are possessed of the galaxy of charms and attractions of the ci-devant Cathedral of Notre Dame at St. Omer. Hardly in the accepted forms of good taste are the Byzantine slabs of marble stuck upon the walls here and there, as in a museum; the Renaissance screens; the overpowering organ case; the votive offerings and tablets without number; and the alleged wonderful astronomical clock, with its colossal wooden figures of the sixteenth century,—all of which go to compose a heterogeneous mass more interesting as to occasional detail than as a thorough expression of saintly temperament.

The decorative scheme is carried still further by the large number of paintings with238 which the church is hung; a tribute none too common in France, and more usually associated with the Flemish churches of nearly every rank. A reflection of their preëminence in this respect is naturally enough visible in French Flanders.

"The Descent from the Cross," attributed to Rubens, appears likely enough to be a genuine master, but it has been so roughly restored by overpainting, that it is to-day of impaired value.

St. Omer, among all the group of northeast France, presents a true Gothic example in its great Basilique de Notre Dame, and it is a pity that its further development was along lines which indicate a trend, at least, toward debasement. This is plainly to be noted in the tracery of the lower and clerestory windows of nave and aisles.

Its enormous tower covers nearly the entire western end of nave and aisles, in much the same way as those of some of the fortified churches of the south. Its Gothic is of the true perpendicular style, however, and, with the general grand proportions of the building, gives that immensity and massiveness which is associated only with a church of the first rank. The arcs-boutant of the239 nave are hardly deserving of mention as such, though they are manifestly sturdy props which perform their functions in perhaps as efficacious a manner as many more graceful and delicate specimens elsewhere. There is just a suggestion of a central tower, which, as is often the case in France, has dwindled to a mere cupola, if it had ever previously grown to a greater height. The transepts are of imposing dimensions, that on the south having an enormous rose of perhaps thirty-five feet in diameter, with an elaborately carved portal below, which contains a "Last Judgment" in the tympanum. The choir, chevet, and chapels, while existent to a visible and very beautiful degree, are somewhat overshadowed by the great size of the transepts. There is this to be said, however: that the choir, a restoration of our own day, presents, as to style, the type of Gothic purity at its height. It has five radiating chapels, not including that of Notre Dame des Miracles, which adjoins the south transept and contains innumerable votive tablets. For the rest, except for the fact that the interior partakes of a mere collection of curios and relics, it is in general no less imposing in its proportions than the exterior. The clerestory windows,240 however, are of ill proportions for so grand a structure, being short and squat; and here, as elsewhere throughout the building, is to be found only modern glass.

The great bell of the western tower weighs 8,500 kilos.

Chief among the notable accessories and reliques is the monolithic tomb of St. Erkembode, bishop of the one-time see of Thérouanne, period 725-37. The sarcophagus itself, dating from the same century, was brought here from the original site. The tomb of St. Omer was restored in the thirteenth century and shows a remarkable sculptured group of Christ, the Virgin, and St. John, called the "Great God of Thérouanne." It was saved from the ruin of the church at Thérouanne, which was destroyed with the greater part of the town in 1533 by Charles V., in revenge for the "loss of three bishoprics," as history states. At this time the sees of St. Omer and Boulogne were founded.

The near-by Palace of Justice, built by Mansart in 1680 and enlarged for its present use in 1840, was the former Episcopal Palace.

St. Omer has also two other grand churches, St. Sepulchre, of the fourteenth century, and the ruins of St. Bertin (1326-1520), which,241 before the Revolution, with St. Ouen at Rouen, and the collegiate church at San Quentin, was reckoned as one of the most beautiful Gothic abbeys in France. To-day it is a magnificent ruin, its huge tower (built in 1431) and portions of the nave and crossing being all that remain. It was considered the finest church in the Low Countries, and for size, purity, and uniformity of style it ranked with the best of its contemporaries.242



The capital of ancient Flanders was removed from Arras to Ghent when Artois was ceded to France, and thus it was that the city became French, as it were, but slowly, its Low Country traditions and customs clinging closely to it until a late day. The former Cathedral of Notre Dame ranked as a grand example of the ogival style of the fourteenth century, in which it was built, and gave to the city of the "tapestry makers" the distinction of possessing a church composed of much that was best of the architecture of a fast growing art. Such was the mediæval rank to which the cathedral at Arras had attained. The new Cathedral of St. Vaast, dating from 1755 to 1833, is of the Grecian style of temple building, little suited to the needs of a Christian church. The crucial plan consecrated by catholic usages of centuries is not however wholly abandoned. There is something of a243 suggestion of the Latin cross in its design, but its abside faces toward the southeast rather than due south, with its principal entrance to the northwest, a sufficiently unusual arrangement, where most French churches are duly orientated, to be remarked, particularly as there is little that can be said in praise of the structure. The interior follows the general plan of the Corinthian order; the windows, neither numerous nor of sufficiently ample dimensions to well serve their purpose, number nine only in the choir, and five on each side of the nave.

There are, to the abside, seven collateral chapels, some of which contain passable sculptured monuments, removed from the old abbey of St. Vaast, a foundation erected in the sixth century and reconstructed by Cardinal de Rohan in 1754. The remains of the old abbey buildings have been built around and incorporated in the present Episcopal Palace, the extensive Musée, and Bibliotheque; and are situated immediately to the right of the façade of the cathedral.

The grisaille glass seen in the interior is unusual, but mediocre in the extreme.

There are, however, some good statues in white marble in the Chapelle de St. Vaast,244 while in another chapel, given by Cardinal de la Tour d'Auvergne, is one equally good of Charles Borromée.

There are four great statues at the extremities of the transepts, representing the four evangelists; and three others in the choir, of Faith, Hope, and Charity.

In the north transept, also, are two triptychs of the Flemish school, by Bellegambe, a native of Douai (1528).

The Abbé Bourassé, in his charming work on the cathedrals of France, says, plainly, and without fear or favour: "We have tried to speak impartially of all species of architecture—but why do we not admire the Cathedral of Arras? It is against all traditions of 'notre art catholique.' We contend that this is not good. What, say you, can we praise? It is a great work—of the stone-mason; you should study it from some distance. It is without life, without movement, without dignity."

Whatever may be the faults of its cathedral, Arras is, nevertheless, an interesting city,—modernized, to be sure, by boulevards laid out along the old fortifications. The Citadel of Vauban (1670), called ironically "la belle inutile," may be classed as a worthless, if not245 wholly unpicturesque, ruin, though ranking, when built, as among the most wonderful fortifications of the times. The wave of Renaissance which swept northward has left its ineradicable marks here. The Hôtel de Ville is a remarkable specimen of that art of overloading ornament upon a square hulk, and making it look like a wedding-cake; though, truth to tell, coming upon it after the chilliness of the cathedral itself, it is a cheerful antidote. Dating from 1510, at which time was built the curious Gothic façade of seven arches, each different as to size and spring. The added wings in elaborate Renaissance are of the late sixteenth century and rank among the most effective examples of the style in France. A belfry surmounts all, 240 feet in height, the "joyeuse" of which weighs nearly nine tons.

Arras may perhaps be most revered for its tapestries, its workers taking rank with those of the famous manufactories at Paris and Beauvais. Indeed, it would appear as though experts knew not to which of these three centres to assign precedence, both Arras and Paris claiming the honour of having set up the first looms. It is an ancient art, as the work of craftsmen goes, and more than one246 writer who has studied deeply the fascinating intricacies of haute and basse lisse, of colour, texture, design, and what not, has not hesitated to proclaim the city as having been the grandest centre of tapestry-making which the world has ever known; and regret can but be universal that it came to an end when its citizens were put to the sword by Louis XI.





Annexed to France, in company with Metz and Verdun, in 1556, Toul, situated on the left bank of the Moselle, is to-day ranked as a fortress of the first order. "Can be seen in two hours"—such is the description usually given by the guide-books to the city which248 contains, in its one-time Cathedral St. Etienne, an example which, with respect to the decorative tracery of its façade savants have declared the equal even of Reims.

One of the three former bishoprics of Lorraine, Toul is none too ample to merit the cognomen of a large town. It once held within its walls, beside the Cathedral, the Church of St. Gengoult, and several parish churches and monasteries. Shorn to-day of some of these dignities, with its bishopric removed to Nancy, it ranks as a military and strategic stronghold rather than a centre of churchly domination. Since Metz and Strasbourg were given over to the Germans, Toul's former fortress has been greatly strengthened.

The cathedral itself may truly be said to bear the characteristics of both the German and French manner of building, the western or later end being a superb front, after the French manner, and the easterly or earlier end having a simple apse and long narrow windows, in the German fashion. A comparison has been made by Professor Freeman between the western façade of this church and Notre Dame de Reims. He says, "We are daring enough to think that, simply as a design, the west front of Toul outdoes that of Reims;249 though it will be hardly needful to prove that, as a whole, Reims far outdoes that of Toul." Quite non-committal, to be sure, as was this charming writer's way; but, of itself, a sort of preparation to the observer for the beauties which he is to behold. Here is the case of a superb richness having been added to a plainer body, and by no means inharmoniously done. The gable is nearly perfect as to its juxtaposition. The towers are higher in proportion than at Reims, giving the effect of being the finished thing as they stand, though lacking spires or pinnacles. The walls are of those just proportions in relation to the window piercings which is again French, as contrasted with a neighbouring example at Metz, where the reverse is the case.

The city was the seat of a bishop as early as the sixth century, and its government was under his control until 1261, when it became a free commune. Finally it was conquered by Henry II., and its future assured to France by the Treaty of Westphalia.

The cathedral dates in part from Romanesque remains of the tenth century, but its entire interior arrangements were much battered during the Revolution.

The choir and transept are of the best of250 thirteenth-century building, while the nave and side aisles are of the century following. Two towers, which flank the magnificent façade, rise for nearly two hundred and fifty feet, and are the work of Jacquemin de Commercy in the fifteenth century. Adjoining the right aisles are the very beautiful Gothic cloisters of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. They form a rectangular enclosure, 225 feet by 165 feet, and are made up of twenty-four sections of four arches, each with clustered columns.

A fine sculptured altarpiece, "The Adoration of the Shepherds," is in the Chapelle de la Creche, entered from the cloister.

The present Hôtel-de-Ville was formerly the bishop's palace.


North Portal Cathedral Châlons-sur-Marne



Chalons is perhaps first of all famed as the scene of Attila's great defeat in the fifth century, one of the world's fifteen decisive battles.

The Cathedral of St. Etienne is not usually considered to be a remarkable structure; but it is thoroughly typical and characteristic of a locale, which stamps it at once with a mark of genuineness and sincerity. Of early primitive Gothic in the main, it shares interest to-day with the four other churches of the city, not overlooking Notre Dame de l'Epine, some252 five miles distant to the northward, one of the most perfectly designed and appointed late Gothic churches which the world has ever known. It has been called a "miniature cathedral," using the term, it may be supposed, in the sense of referring only to a magnificently ornate church. It is indeed worth a pilgrimage thither to see this true gem of architecture in a wholly undefiled countrified setting.

The Cathedral at Châlons-sur-Marne follows somewhat the traditions of the German manner of building, at least so far as a certain plainness and lack of ornate decoration in the main body of the church is concerned; likewise in the arrangement of its towers, which lie to the eastward of the transepts; and further with respect to its decidedly Teutonic arrangement of the rounded columns, or, more properly, pillars, of its nave.

In general this thirteenth-century church is in the best style of its era; but the west front presents an incongruous seventeenth-century addition in the whilom classical style of that day, bad as to its art, and apparently badly welded into conjunction with the older portion. The aisles and clerestory windows are of the later decorated period of Gothic, and253 present, whether viewed from without or from within, an exceedingly fine appearance.

Probably the finest and most pleasing impression of the whole structure is that obtained of the interior, with its pillars of nave and choir, of the massive order made familiar in the Rhine churches. A reasonable share of twelfth to sixteenth century glass is still left as its portion, and the general arrangement of the choir, prolonged, as it is, well into the nave, gives a certain majesty to this portion of the church which is perhaps not warranted when we take into consideration that it must perforce dwarf the nave itself. The arrangement, though not common, is by no means an unusual one, and it is recalled also, that it is so employed at Reims.

Situated near the frontier, Châlons-sur-Marne has ever been subject to that inquietude which usually befalls a border city. German influences have ever been noticeable, and, even to-day, the significant fact is to be noted that a curé will hear confessions in German, and that services are held in that tongue on "Saturdays in St. Joseph's Chapel."

The Episcopal Palace, behind the cathedral, contains a collection of some sixty paintings, the gift, in 1864, of the Abbé Joannes.





St. Dié gets its name, by the corruption of Dieudonné, from St. Deodatus, who founded a monastery here in the seventh century. It was built, as was many another great cathedral, in accordance with the custom of erecting a church over the body or relic of a saint whom it was especially desired to honour; usually one of local importance, a patron or a devotee.

The town is perhaps the most inaccessible and "out-of-the-way" place which harbours255 a cathedral in all northern France. We might perhaps except St. Pol-de-Leon and Tréguier in Brittany, neither of which is on a railway, whereas St. Dié is, but at the very end. When you get there and want to go on, not back, you simply journey on foot, or awheel if you can find a conveyance, and take up with another "loose end" of railway some fifteen miles away, which will take you southward, should you be going that way. If not, there appears to be nothing for it, but to retrace your steps whence you came.

The cathedral (locally "La Grande Eglise," it only having been made a cathedral so recently as 1777) has a fine Romanesque nave of the eleventh century, with choir and aisles of good Gothic, after the accepted Rhine manner of building.

The portal, of red sandstone, is of inferior thirteenth-century workmanship, with statues of Faith and Charity on either side. The façade is flanked by two square towers.

The interior is curiously arranged with a cordon of sculpture, high in the vaulting. The capitals of the pillars are likewise ornamented with highly interesting and ornately sculptured capitals. The choir, as is most usual, is the masterpiece of the collection, the256 windows, in particular, being of the purest ogival style.

In the first chapel, on the right, is a painting, "The Martyrdom of St. Sebastian," and behind the choir is an ancient work commemorative of "Le Peste de St. Dié."

St. Lazare d'AUTUN




This ancient episcopal city has ever been devoted to the cause of Christianity. "Nowhere," says a French historian, "has the Church enjoyed more repute than here." The Dukes of Burgundy, its bishops and people alike, joined in a fervour of labour and zeal to assure its permanence and progress. In addition, the Gallo-Roman remains point to a former city of proud attainments. The fine Roman walls, beautifully jointed, sans cement, are distinctly traceable for a circuit of perhaps three miles around the city. Other interesting remains are two fine gateways, commonly referred to as triumphal arches, which they probably were not, the Porte d'Arroux and the Porte St. Andre; the ruins of an amphitheatre; and a tower assigned to a former temple of Minerva. All these, and more, are found inside the old walls; while, without, are remains of an aqueduct, of a258 tower dedicated to Janus, and a Roman bridge crossing the river Torenai. It may be interesting for an Englishman to recall that the Bishop of Autun, who often presided over the National Assembly, pleaded in vain with George III. for the adoption, in England, of the French metric system.

During the destruction of a former building, St. Nazaire, which at one time performed the functions of a cathedral, the bishops held their offices in the chapel of the chateau of the Dukes of Burgundy; but, upon the removal of the residence of the house of Burgundy to Dijon, transferred their services to the present edifice, which had by that time been completed.

The Cathedral of St. Lazare is a charmingly graceful, though not great, structure, mainly of the style "ogivale premier," its early Lombard work of the nave and west front being of the foundation of Robert I., Duke of Burgundy. This vast western portal is encased in a great projective porch, a feature indigenous apparently to Burgundy, and commonly referred to as the "Burgundian narthex." Following come the chapels and spires, of exceeding grace and beauty, of the third ogivale style.259

The interior enrichments, like the western doorway, with its Romanesque sculptures, take rank with the best in Burgundy. The delicately carved rood-loft, or jube, the small sculptures of the choir and nave, and the flamboyant chapels of the fifteenth to seventeenth century, challenge minute attention from those who would study decorative detail in extenso. The capitals of certain columns in the nave have fluted pilasters in imitation of the antique, but are most curiously ornamented with grotesque and fantastic human figures on a background of foliage.

The choir, of early pointed style, in its actual disposition and arrangement, may be included in that classification which comprehends some of its more important northern compeers, though, as a matter of fact, it lacks their magnitude. Indeed, the building is one of the smallest cathedrals in all France. The exterior offers an imposing and picturesque ensemble, with its crocketed spire rising some two hundred and fifty or more feet above the roof-tops of the ancient city.

Nearer inspection shows a certain incoherence of construction, particularly in reference to the evidences of garish crudities in the260 work done under Robert I. in 1031-76, in contrast to the later pointed work.

The doorway of the lateral southern wing is ornamented with a series of grossly exaggerated columns, in imitation of the antique, with the addition of an apse, which contrastingly shows work of a late flamboyant order.

The spire itself is the masterwork of the entire structure, and, unlike those which surmount many another church, appears not to have suffered the dangers of fire. As a fifteenth-century work, it merits special mention. Rising abruptly from a heavy square base, the pyramid is very acute, and is ornamented at the angles with foliaged crockets, basely called stone cauliflowers by unimaginative persons. One might say, with the gentle Abbé Bourassé, that the "ornamentation breaks into sky and cloud with an exceedingly agreeable effect, far beyond that of a straight line." The inconsistency lies only in the juxtaposition of the two western transition towers, which have hardly enough of the Gothic in them to merit the name.

The lower windows of the nave are of good flamboyant style, with a sort of Romanesque triforium, and a simple round-headed window in each bay of the clerestory, which is261 the more poor in treatment and effect in that it holds no notable glass. There are none of those distinctly northern accessories, the great rose windows, and the whole reeks of distinctly a milder atmosphere. There is a luxuriance of decoration in the many chapels of different epochs.

The exterior, in general, is of excessive simplicity; but, if it is not to be placed among those cathedrals and churches accredited the most notable and most beautiful, it will, at least, take rank as one of the most ancient to be seen to-day, and has the further benefit of a glorious environment and association with the past.





The power and wealth of the Dukes of Burgundy, whose influence extended northward to the Netherlands, where they often held court at Ghent and Bruges, were, in a way, responsible for the opulence and splendour of the life of the day. So, too, Burgundian architecture became a term synonymous for the amplitude and grandeur with which many of its institutions were endowed.

The reign of Philippe le Bon, with that of Charles the Bold, the most ambitious prince who ever graced his line, was the Augustan263 age of Burgundian art. It was the dream of the latter to reincarnate the old Burgundian kingdom by annexing Lorraine and subduing the advancing Swiss Confederacy, an ambition which failed, like many others as, or more, worthy. The conquered duke was killed at Nancy, and was finally buried in Notre Dame at Bruges.

The Cathedral of St. Bénigne is an outgrowth from the old abbey church, from which the Italian monk, Guillaume, set forth to found that remarkable series of monasteries in Normandy and Brittany. It is said, too, that he crossed the Channel, and had a large share in the works which were erected at that period in the south of England. The bishop's throne has been established in this church only since the Revolution, caused by the destruction of his former cathedral. The early foundations of the old abbey date far back into antiquity, but the present cathedral dates only from the thirteenth century. Commonly considered as of Gothic style, it is in every way more suggestive of the late Romano-Byzantine type, or at least of the early transition. There is, to be sure, no poverty of style; but there is an air of stability and firmness of purpose on the part of its builders,264 rather than any attempt to either launch off into something new or untried, or even to consistently remain in an old groove.

As a fact, it is not a very grand building. Its choir is small, and its transepts short. In its plan, at least, it resembles the Byzantine form much more than the elongated Gothic, where every proportion seems to reach out to its utmost extent.

The west façade is truly fine in the disposition of its parts and arrangements. It suggests, more than anything, a traditional local style, favouring nothing else to any remarkable degree except the German solidity so often to be noted in eastern France. The towers are firmly set with unfrequent pointed openings. The central portal and vestibule are deep, and rich with a sculptured "Martyrdom of St. Peter" and a delightfully graceful arcade just above the portal arch, and another crossing the gable and joining the towers in a singularly effective manner. A somewhat heavy but rich pointed window of three lights, surmounted by a quatrefoil rose, with a slight needle-like spire which rises just above the gable, completes the ensemble.

The earlier work, seen at its best in the interior, is that of the choir and transepts,265 where again the distinguishing features are local. In the transepts the arches open directly on the side chapels, the southern arm being gorgeous with brilliant glass. The windows of choir and transepts throughout are richly traceried and set. The choir itself is destitute of either ambulatory or chapels.

A lantern is placed at the crossing, supported by gracefully foliaged shafts.

The nave is of a much later period, and is not of the richness of the portion lying to the eastward. The windows of the clerestory, in particular, will not be considered of the excellence of those of either transept or choir.

The south tower encloses the tombs of Jean sans Peur and Philippe le Hardi. The crypt contains the tomb of St. Bénignus.





"Truly rural" is a term which may well be applied to the situation of Senlis, the ancient Civitas Sylvanectensium of the Romans. Quaint and attractive to the eye is the entrance to the town from the railway, with its low-lying roofs, over which tower the spires of the ancient Cathedral of Notre Dame and the Church of St. Pierre. It forms a heterogeneous mass of stone, to be sure, and one which looks little enough, at first glance, like the delicate and graceful cathedral which makes up the mass in part. It is, in reality, a 267confused jumble of towers and turrets which meets the eye, and it takes some little acquaintance with the details thereof to separate the cathedral from the adjacent church.

The proximity of the sees of Beauvais, Amiens, and Paris perhaps accounts for the lack of importance attached to this cathedral. As for the structure itself, among the minor cathedrals of France, Senlis, with Séez and Coutances, must ever rank as the peers of that order, with respect to the grace and beauty of their spires. It may be doubted if even the spires of Chartres are to be considered as more beautiful than the diminutive single example to be seen here, particularly when grouped with its surrounding environment. Individually, as well, its grace and beauty might even take that rank. The demarcation between the base of the tower and the gently dwindling spire is almost entirely eliminated, without the slightest tendency toward debasement in the steeple, which too often is merely a series of superimposed, meaningless, and unbeautiful details. Latter-day builders, who want a model for the spire of a moderate-sized Gothic church, could, it would seem, hardly do better than to make a replica of this graceful example.268

In its façade, the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Senlis partakes largely of the characteristics of the primitive lowland types, reminiscent, at least, of Noyon or Soissons, and, as such, it may properly be considered and compared with them.

The transepts of the north and south are not grand members, but they are compact and graceful, and the façade of the southern arm is of a highly ornate character, bespeaking a wealth of ambition, if not of ability, on the part of the architect.

The interior, in spite of the lack of sculptured ornament, shows no paucity of style, and, except that it is of the bijou variety, might take rank at once as representative of Gothic style at its best. Under these conditions, the nave is naturally confined, and lacks a certain grandeur both as to width and height.

The choir is of true, though not lofty, proportions, the aisles appearing perhaps too low, if anything, for the height of the nave, which otherwise appears exceedingly generous with respect to the extent of its triforium and clerestory.

The transepts, though shallow, are possessed of unusually amplified aisles, there 269being, as a matter of fact, two in that portion which adjoins the nave on the west, a sufficiently unusual arrangement to warrant comment. The rose windows of the transepts have graceful design and good framing, though the glass is not of the splendour which we associate with the most pleasing examples seen elsewhere.




To the eastward of Paris, one first finds the true country atmosphere at Meaux, famous for its bishops, its grist-mills, and its generally charming environment.

The picturesque little city is situated on the Marne, some thirty miles from Paris, amid a verdure which, if not luxuriant, is, at least, a "fringe of green" that is appealing alike to local pride, and to the artist or stranger within the gates. It is an ancient bishopric (now suffragan of Paris), founded in 375 A. D.

The Cathedral of Saint Etienne de Meaux is called by the French the "Child of Amiens," and it would have all the dignity of its mother had but the nave received the same development as the choir. Its general dimensions are restrained, and it shows in no way any remarkable architectural ensemble; but, for all that, its power to please is none the less

St. etienne de MEAUX


great. Lacking a certain symmetry, in itself no great fault, the exterior gives the impression of being to-day much less grand and imposing than was really planned. Battled by wind and weather, its outer walls have that scarred and aged look which is a beauty in itself. There are two towers, one of which is unfinished and capped with an ugly and angular slate roof, so low that it hardly exists at all, so far as forming a distinct feature of the façade is concerned. Its companion, however, rises boldly and in graceful lines to a generous height above the gable.

The interior plan is regular and simple, with a nave of five bays, the first two from the west being divided into the infrequent quadruple range of openings, while the remainder consist of the usual triforium and clerestory only. The double aisles of the nave are of unusual height, in order to admit of this double range of openings.

The transepts, if transepts they can be considered, are very shallow, being merely the depth of the double aisles of the nave and choir, and are bare and unadorned so far as any notable sculpture or glass is concerned, though the arched windows which hold the272 plain glass are of grand proportions and excellent design as to their framing.

The triforium, throughout, is an arcaded cloister-like effect of slight arches, supported by slender columns, with a series of glazed windows behind. It would be a notable and wholly charming arrangement were the glass of these windows rich in colour, or even old in design.

There is an air of singular lightness, if not actually of grace, throughout the entire nave and choir, superinduced, perhaps, by the recent whitening and pointing of the masonry; but the not infrequent bulging piers, particularly those nearest to the transept crossing, give a suggestion of ungainliness if not of actual insecurity.

The columns of the choir, supporting a series of firm and gracefully poised arches, are of unusual height, something over forty feet, it would appear,—producing a harmony of form and elegance which again reminds one of Amiens.

There are here copies of the nine Raphael tapestry cartoons, the originals of which are preserved at South Kensington, also of frescoes by Guido Reni and Domenichino.

The chief artistic, if not architectural,273 charm to be seen within the purlieus of the cathedral is that of the ancient chapter-house, across a narrow way, to the right of the church itself. This gem of mediæval building is perhaps not remarkable as to any of the principles which it sets forth in its manner of construction, but it takes one back some hundreds of years, a sheer plunge far beyond the age of the most prominent features of the main church, and gives a thrill somewhat akin to the emotion which one feels when he comes across a single leaf torn from an old illuminated manuscript. This charming ruin, for it is hardly more than that, being a mere lumber-room, shows in the weathered look of its covered stairway nearly all of the qualities which the painter loves to depict,—colour, texture, and, above all, that indescribable charm which artistic folk, and others who can see as they do, call life.

Clearly, the Cathedral of St. Etienne de Meaux, as an interesting shrine, may be classed well at the head of the secondary cathedrals of the third Gothic period.274




To the thorough student of English history, Troyes is perhaps first recalled as being the birthplace of the treaty "decreeing for ever a common sovereign for England and France," a treaty which, it is minded, "stood no while." Again, some dubious antiquary has put it forward as the home of that variety of weights "which are not avoirdupois."

The Counts of Champagne had, in the once well-walled city, both a castle and a palace. Olden-time houses, good Gothic woodwork275 and Renaissance stonework, are here in abundance; also, according to the authority of Fergusson, a well-nigh perfect Gothic church in St. Urbain; likewise a great cathedral,—rather ugly as to its general outline. All these are possessed by Troyes, and to-day the reminders and remains of each and all are exceedingly vivid and substantial.

Certain cathedrals of France show plainly the different phases and developments of the art of building through which they have passed; others indicate little, if any, deviation from a certain accepted style. St. Pierre de Troyes is of the first category. Here is Gothic in all its variations. Its environment, too, is characteristic of the many varying moods through which its constituency has passed. A truly mediæval city in the picturesqueness of its older portions, Troyes is famed alike in affairs of Church and State. The dimensions of the Cathedral at Troyes, which approach those of the grand group, and the general majesty of its interior only further this opinion.

The main body covers the none too frequent arrangement of five aisles, which, following through the transept, continue, with the double pair on each side, to likewise276 girdle the choir. The splendour of immensity is further enhanced by its large windows, including two rose openings set with old glass, and the general richness of its sculptured decorations. The abside of the choir is ranked among the best Gothic works of the time.

The choir, begun in 1206, is composed of thirteen arcades, symbolical of Christ and the twelve apostles, from the chief of whom the cathedral takes its name. The windows of the triforium are large and divided into four compartments. The general disposition of the choir, with its radiating chapels, is superb; and it is exactly this satisfying, though perhaps undefinable, quality that is ofttimes lacking in an originally well-planned work which fails to inspire one. The choir contains an iron grille of the thirteenth century, of very beautiful workmanship, and is surrounded by five hexagonally sided chapels.

The principal portion of the nave, erected in the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries, interrupted now and again by war and civil distractions, bears indelible impress of its continued centuries of growth.

The principal façade of the fifteenth century—accredited to one Martin Chambige and erected just after the nave took form—is277 of the richness of Gothic only just previous to its decline. There are three portals, which are bare of sculptured figures, as indeed is the whole west front. In arrangement, it resembles the frontispieces of certain of the grand cathedrals, and, though lacking their sculptured ornateness, is thoroughly satisfying as a decorative frontage. Had it been executed fifty years later, it would be hard to imagine to what depths its lines might not have fallen. As it is, the upper ranges of the tower suggest the thought. The windows of the aisle and of the clerestory of the nave, when viewed from the exterior, are grandly traceried and gracefully coupled by a series of light, firm buttresses, which rise, only from the gables of the lower set, over the low-lying roof to the spring of the arch of the upper range. St. Pierre de Troyes suggests, in a mild way, the "sheer glass walls" so frequently referred to by adulous French critics when chanting the praises of the highly developed lightness of their indigenous style. This is further accentuated when one notes the glazed triforium, a decorative feature reminiscent of that at Séez, Nevers, Tours, and St. Ouen at Rouen.

Troyes is one of those prominent cathedral278 cities of Catholic France whereof the churchman deplores the fact that its men are not of the church-going class, and that its congregations are mostly of the fair sex. Be this as it may, except in Brittany, where the whole population appears unusually devout, the stricture is probably true in a great measure of all of the north of France; and, be it here said, recent political edicts will doubtless not tend to increase the propaganda of piety.

The north gable, with its portal and rose window, is of the fifteenth century, and, with the "lustrous rose" of the south transept, forms a pair of brilliant jewels which are hardly excelled elsewhere, not even by the encircled splendour of the forty-foot openings at Reims and Amiens, the equally extensive one of the north transept at Rouen, or, most splendid of all, the galaxy at Chartres. These marvels of French ingenuity and invention are nowhere more splendidly proportioned or embellished than at Troyes, and are equally attractive viewed from either within or without.

The chief "tresor" consists of a series of wonderful mediæval enamels.





Says the Abbé Bourassé, "One of the most beautiful titles to glory in a church is the antiquity of its foundation," hence, most French antiquaries who have written upon the subject of the celebrated Cathedral of St. Etienne of Sens have enlarged upon its "glorious antiquity." To prove or verify the fact as to whether St. Savinien or St. Potentien was the first to preach Christian religion here would be a laborious undertaking. Evidences and knowledge of Roman works are not 280wanting, and early Christian edifices of the Romanesque order must naturally have followed. One learns that an early church on this site was entirely destroyed by fire in 970, and that a new edifice had progressed so far that it was dedicated in 997. This, in turn, was mostly rebuilt, and, two hundred years later (1168), took the form of the present cathedral. It was completed, in a rather plain and heavy ogival style, under the capable direction of the William who came to Canterbury, in response to a call, to rebuild the choir of that English church in 1174. It is this link, and possibly a sight of the vestments of À Becket, now preserved among the "tresor" of Sens, that binds its memory with English contemporary life. Whatever may be the contentions waged as to the claims of English Gothic, it is universally and unimpeachably admitted that Guillaume de Sens rebuilt that famous choir of Canterbury, and built it well, and of a newer order of design than any previous work in England. So let it stand.

Taken by itself, the Cathedral at Sens is a high example of Christian art. When, however, it is compared with the grand group, it is relegated immediately to the second rank. The interior, far more than the exterior, shows281 a visible disparity of unified style. Romano-Byzantine, transition, and ogival are all found in the nave and choir, with the flamboyant, of the fifteenth century, in the ornamental tracery of the windows of the transepts.

Some visible remains of the earlier structure are shown, built into the eleventh century walls. Of the same period are other evidences of a former erection, to be noted in the aisles. The transept and the greater part of the nave are of the century following, and of the early thirteenth, and finally the three arcades, by which the nave is entered, are something very akin to the full-blown Renaissance of the fifteenth century.

The general plan is symmetrical, and severe, only the twenty chapels being ungracefully disposed. Ten of these are in the choir and ten in the nave. For the antiquary, versed in religious archæology, the Cathedral of Sens would appear, from the very inconsistencies and exuberance of its style, to be of great interest. The fragments that remain of its former magnificent glass, the sculptured monuments, and the tombs and curiosities of the "tresor," which escaped Revolutionary spoliation, all combine in a glorious attraction for one who has the time and inclination to delve into the282 reminiscence of history and association of a past age.

The glass of the choir, and of the chapel of St. Savinien, is of the thirteenth century. The colour is exceedingly brilliant, lively, and harmonious, with the iridescence of a mosaic of precious stones.

The sixteenth-century glass, none the less than the framing itself, of the grand rose windows of the north and south transepts, is equally remarkable as to design and colour. The former represents the "Glorification of Jesus Christ," and the latter "Events in the Life of St. Etienne."

The "tresor" of the cathedral is very numerous and is considered the richest in all France. The most notable are a reliquary of gold, set with sapphires and pearls, containing a fragment of the True Cross, given by Charlemagne in the year 800; four magnificent tapestries of the time of Charles V., representing the "Adoration of the Magi;" and the pontifical robes of St. Thomas (à Becket), chasuble, aube, stole, manipule, cordon, two mitres, and two collars. This courageous archbishop, persecuted by Henry II., took refuge in Sens in 1162. An elaborate tomb (of the eighteenth century), by Constant, is the mausoleum of the Dauphin, father of Louis XVI.


Western Normandy and Brittany





Most people who have read Ruskin, and most people have done so—in the past, will undoubtedly concur with his dictum that Rouen's "associated Norman cities," Bayeux, Caen, Coutances, St. Lo, Lisieux, and Dieppe, run the entire gamut of mediæval architectural notes; or, as Ruskin himself has put it, "from the Romanesque to the flamboyant." He might well have added, the Renaissance and the pseudo-classicism of a later day.

Beauties there are in this region, galore; and the examples which no longer exist, but of which the records tell, point to a still larger aggregate.

Who thinks to-day of Coutances as of being a "cathedral town?" And yet, there is within it, as to the general effect of situation and the magnitude of its towering pinnacles, an edifice which perhaps outranks all but the286 very greatest. Most likely no thought is given it at all, except that Coutances is somewhere on the railway line between Cherbourg and Paris, or that it is near unto Bayeux; also possessed of a magnificent cathedral, but whose greatest fame lies in a certain false sentiment associated with its famous tapestry. Not that this great work is to be decried,—far from it, but the spirit with which it is so often viewed should be a matter of scorn for every broad-minded traveller.

Lisieux, too, has a wealth of attraction for those who fondly admire reeking picturesqueness and old timbered houses, though its cathedral will not please.

Pugin could not resist depicting many of these delightful old houses of Lisieux in his book on Normandy, though, unlike Ruskin, he had no eye for its cathedral; most of us will not have.

So much, then, as a plea for a more sincere and thorough appreciation of the charms of western Normandy. It is cheap; accessible, and has a practically inexhaustible store of treasure for the traveller or student of limited time or money, but who will not make of it the usual mere "bank-holiday" scamper. The same applies also to Brittany, which is treated287 elsewhere, with this proviso, that the tourist afoot or awheel is far better equipped than he who has to depend upon steam and the rail, two at least of Brittany's cathedrals being "off the line."




The Cathedral at Evreux is another of those edifices which gives one its best impression when first seen upon entering the city. Charmingly, possibly romantically, situated, it lies in a shallow valley with all the picturesqueness of its varied style limned against the sky in truly impressionistic fashion. This impression, when viewed from the slight eminence by which the railway enters the town, is a vista of rambling roofs and a long, sloping street running gently down to the very foot of the structure, which, set about and interspersed with verdure, as it is in the spring and summer months, warrants one in counting his introduction to this charmingly attractive, though non-consistent, type of church, as one of the events which will live in memory for years.

If towering spires and pinnacles were a sine qua non for a great and imposing architectural289


Notre Dame d'Evreux


style, this church would at once rank as one of the most delightful examples extant; for these very features, albeit they are mostly of what we have come to accept as a debased form of art, are nevertheless possessed of a grandeur and magnificence which in many worthy examples are entirely lacking. The pair of western towers, of Romanesque foundation, were developed, not in what one knows as Gothic, but of the manifest and offensive pseudo-classic order. They are capped, however, with something more akin to Moorish or an Eastern termination than Italian. The spire which surmounts the central crossing is, without question, a reminiscence of much that has been accepted as good Gothic form in the great central-towered English churches. Up to a certain point this can hardly be denied; but this rather weak, effeminate spire, which forms such an unusual attribute of a French cathedral, more than qualifies its right to a place in the first rank of spires. As for the rest of the exterior, it is a mélange of nearly every known architectural style. Undeniably fine in parts, like "the curate's egg," if a time-worn simile may be permitted, it forms an ensemble which would preclude its ever being accorded 292unqualified praise from even the most liberal-minded and optimistic enthusiast.

By far the most coherent view to be had near by is that from the gardens of the Archbishop's Palace immediately to the rearward of the choir. Here the clipped trees, the warm coloured wall, along which the vines are trained, and what was once a canal, or moat, in the foreground, combine to present a singularly artistic and pleasing composition.

The north transept, of Bishop le Veneur, is of the superlative degree of its era (early sixteenth century), bordering upon the profusion of splayed ornament which so soon after turned to dross, but standing, as it does, of itself, clearly defined. The gulf was finally crossed when, less than a half-century later, the incongruous west front with its ill-mannered towers was built,—in itself a subject worth a deal of study from the artist who would picture graven stone, but contrasting unfavourably enough with the heights to which French ecclesiastical architecture had just previously soared. Here is offered the one unified Renaissance façade of a French cathedral, welded, as it were, in unworthy fashion, to a fabric with which it has nothing in common. The stone-mason here superseded293 the craftsman; and, with the termination of the reign of François I., and following with that of Henry II., came the flowering rankness of a degenerate weed, leaving, as evidence of its contaminating influence in this one example alone, traces of nearly every classical order, from the simple Doric column to a hybrid which shall be unnamed.

The interior presents a general array of incongruities quite as remarkable as those of the exterior. The nave is very narrow; but the choir widens out perhaps a dozen feet on either side, adding immeasurably to an effect which is far more impressive than might otherwise be supposed.

The nave itself shows many varieties of building, ranging from the Gothic of the early twelfth to the late fifteenth centuries; the lower part and the easterly bays are Romanesque, or what perhaps has been popularly accepted as Norman, and date from 1125; the remainder and the triforium are of a century later.

The choir is of the decorated species of the early fourteenth century, with its arcaded triforium glazed, whereas in the nave it is without glass. The lady-chapel, of the time of Louis XI., shows that inevitable mark of 294degeneracy, the "fleur-de-lys," in the elaborated tracery of the window framing. The glass here is, however, excellent, in effect at any rate, with its gorgeous figures of knights, angels, and peers of France, drawn with a masterly skill which is often lacking in even more precious glass.

The chapel screens, some twenty in all, are wondrously turned and carved of wood. This leads one to venture the thought that the similar decorative embellishments of the Renaissance chateaux of the Loire country were slowly creeping northward, and leaving their impress upon the work of the ecclesiastical builder and decorator. Certainly, the numerous fine examples of the art of the wood-carver, to be seen in this cathedral, bespeak much for the decorative quality of wood, when used considerately in conjunction with stone.

There are two rose windows, of the petal species, unquestionably fine as to framing, but leaving little space for the effect of the glass, which they hold only in small proportion.

The "treasury," alone, is enclosed with iron bars, and a grille of graceful late flowing ironwork forms the screen of the choir. Altogether the Cathedral at Evreux will be 295remembered quite as much for its wonderful array of wooden and iron grilles as for any other of the specific details among its mass of general attributes.

Window Framing—Evreux


Notre Dame d'Alençon



This former capital of the duchy of the same name is a sleepy, countrified French town, with little but its reputedly valuable and beautiful lace to commend it to the average observer.

As a cathedral town, of even secondary rank, it will fall far short of any preconceived ideas which one may be possessed of concerning it, though its Cathedral of Notre Dame is in many ways one of those irresistible shrines, which at least promise, and often fulfil, a great deal more than their lack of magnitude indicates.297

Its façade, lacking the conventional towers, advances well into the roadway, as a sort of forward porch; as at Louviers near by. This porch is very ornate, with decorations of the late Gothic period of flowing tracery.

After all, it is an incongruous sort of a building, in that only this porch and its squat central tower, which is nought but a mere cupola, are in the least decorative.

The nave, the choir and chevet, and chapels, are all of a bareness which only exaggerates the floridness of these other appendages. The nave itself is but one hundred and ten feet long, and perhaps a scant thirty wide, and dates from the fourteenth century. It contains good glass of the same period, which luckily escaped the spoliation of the Revolution.

The choir is more modern, and much plainer in treatment, and is but fifty-five feet in length and of the same width as the nave.

There are no transepts; in short, the chief and most interesting features of the church are the before mentioned details, which, unquestionably bordering upon the debasement of Gothic art, are in every way attractive, with lightness and colour, if such an expression may be applied to gray stone.

Certainly the play of sunlight on gracefully298 carven stone is indicative of a brilliancy which might be termed an effect of colour; and it is with respect to that quality that the west façade of Notre Dame d'Alençon appeals; more than as an otherwise grand or even highly interesting structure.299

St. Pierre de Lisieux





Lisieux, the city of the Lexavii, taken by Cæsar and besieged by Geoffrey Plantagenet; its old houses; its crooked streets and picturesque decay; with its former Cathedral of St. Pierre (M. H.), memorable as the marriage place of Henry III. and Eleanor of Guienne; all go to make up the formula of one of the stock sights of Normandy.

It is scarcely an attractive town, in spite of its picturesque sordidness, made the more so by the smoke arising from many belching factory chimneys. In fact, one has difficulty in thinking of it as a cathedral town at all; and, as such, it hardly claims more than a brief résumé of its important features. A much more interesting, impressive, and commanding church is that of St. Jacques, which at least has the stamp of a personality, which in the cathedral itself is entirely wanting, so far as one's latent sympathies are concerned. In spite of the purity of that which is Gothic in302 its fabric, it has little of that quality which arouses admiration, and which, regardless of the edict of a certain seer and prophet, is mostly that for which we revere a great monument,—its power to sway us impressively.

Mr. Ruskin has taken great pains to commend the southern portal as being "one of the most quaint and pleasing doors in all Normandy,"—a non-committal enough statement, most will admit, and one with which we are not obliged to agree. A broader-minded observer would have said that the main body of the church presents a unity of design, very unusual in a mediæval work,—excelled by no other example in France. The greater part of the nave, choir, and transepts is the work of one epoch only; and, as some writers have it, of one man, Bishop Odericus Vitalis, who died shortly after its completion, in the latter part of the eleventh century. As a style, it may be said to be either the last of the transition or of the very earliest Gothic. Certainly this is something in its favour; but the general charm of its immediate surroundings is lacking, and the effect of its interior, with the diminutive windows of the nave and clerestory, does not tend to satisfy, or even gratify, one with the sense of pleasure303 which perhaps its more creditable features deserve. These are not wholly wanting; for, of course, one must not forget that doorway of Ruskin's nor the quite idyllic proportions of the nave with its uniform massive pillars.

The lady-chapel was founded in the fifteenth century by the rascally Cauchon, Bishop of Beauvais, who, with his brother, prelate of Winchester, so gleefully burned Joan of Arc. This much he did in expiation of "his false judgment," though, except as a memorial of his significant remorse, the chapel itself would hardly be remarkable. The clerestory of nave and choir is considerably later. The transepts vary as to their windows, and the triforium arches are here at a different level from those in the nave.

The general exterior view of the cathedral is hardly satisfactory from any point. On three sides it is almost entirely hemmed in by surrounding structures, and the frontage, on the great open Place Thiers, is the first and the last opportunity of an unobstructed view. As the Abbé Bourassé wrote of the Cathedral at Arras, it is best seen from a distance, about that, we should say, from which the accompanying drawing was made. The gardens of the Sous-Prefecture, formerly the Bishop's304 Palace, should form in a way a cool green setting for the church; but, as a matter of fact, they do nothing of the sort, since the enormous mass of a none too good Renaissance façade extends along quite two-thirds of the length of the cathedral on the north, and blankets it thoroughly, scarcely more than the rather stubby tower of the west front being visible above the roof of the other structure.

Lisieux apparently never ranked as an important see, but depended for the prominence which it attained previous to the Revolution, when the see was abolished, on its association with Rouen, to which it was attached. The neighbouring Cathedrals of Séez, Bayeux, and Coutances far outrank St. Pierre de Lisieux in size, beauty, and importance.





The ancient Civitas Sagiorum of the Romans is now a bishopric, suffragan of Rouen. This ancient Gallic stronghold, which fared hardly in the Anglo-Norman wars, presents to-day the impression of being a town somewhat smaller than the usual small town of France. It also has this advantage,—it is comparatively unknown to tourists, and likewise to some map-makers; all of which is decidedly in its favour. Seldom is Séez included in the itinerary of the tourist, even though it is situated in the heart of the "popular province."

Except for the fact that its charming cathedral is not of the generous proportions first impressed upon one, it is difficult to realize that such a noble architectural memorial should so often be overlooked and apparently neglected by those who might find a great deal of pleasure, and incidental profit, from a contemplation thereof.306

As a town of celebrated history, Séez is of far more relative rank than its cathedral, which, in spite of its many beauties and charm of detail, has suffered perhaps more than any other in France, and yet kept a fairly pure early Gothic style; referring to the many additions and repairs made necessary by crumbling walls and sinking foundations.

The worst that has arisen from this unhappy state of affairs is, not that there has been any serious admixture of style, but rather that one gross interpolation has been foisted upon an otherwise symmetrical whole,—the enormous advancing buttresses which flank the portal of the western façade; an addition of the fourteenth century, neither graceful nor decorative, and only made necessary by a tottering wall. A pity it is that some other equally effective method was not adopted.

The cathedral is, in a way, a satisfying representation of the cathedral of our imagination. From a distance, at least, and in comparison with the low-lying structures round about, it certainly appears as of great proportions, uniform and complete in itself. Immediate contact with it somewhat dispels these charms.

All things considered, one finds here, in this307 idyllic, countrified setting, a very attractive and fairly consistent Mediæval Gothic church of the epoch contemporary with that of the best work of the northern builders, showing unmistakable evidence of having been laid down on good lines, and after a good design, in spite of the structural defects of its foundations. From any direction it may be viewed across a quarter of a mile of ploughed fields. The great national highroad, from the Channel to Bordeaux, passes straight as a die through the town, and the cross-country line of the Chemin de-Fer de Ouest ambles slowly northward or southward; with little occurring to break the quietude of local ease. The native is for the most part engaged in garnering from his truck farm, or in carrying its product to the railway, to be transported to market, and pays little attention to the stray traveller who occasionally wanders in to study the architectural offering of the town.

A completed church was here in 1050, having been erected by a monk, Azon by name. This was burned to the ground in an attempt to drive out a robber band which had taken shelter therein. Leo IX. engaged Yves, Count of Bellêne and the Bishop of Alençon, to rebuild it, and restore its former splendour.308 This was in the twelfth century, but, later, owing to the insecure foundations, it was pulled down and rebuilt again. Now nothing remains of the former twelfth and thirteenth century work but the lady-chapel of the choir.

The interior of the nave is, at present, entirely filled with scaffolding, which looks as though it might not be removed for years. As a restorative policy this is commendable and was necessary, but it detracts from one's intimate acquaintance with details. About the only lasting impression of the nave that can now be obtained is that its proportions are superb, and that its cylindrical pillars, with their foliaged capitals, would be notable anywhere.

In general effect the choir is charming, having gone through the restorative process and apparently suffered little thereby. It presents the unusual basilica form of setting the altar forward on a platform raised a few steps.

The transepts are of quite idyllic proportions, each possessing an ample rose window which makes up in design and framing what it may lack in the quality of glass with which it is set. These transepts, too, have undergone the usual restoration, and have come safely through with little sad effect. It is to be309 hoped that these continued restorations will be carried out with the same good taste, and in a like consistent manner. If so, there will be presented for the delectation of generations of the near future one of the most pleasing of the smaller cathedrals in all France. The triforium of the choir, and of the nave so far as it can be observed through the obstructing scaffolding, is singularly light and graceful, and the window framing throughout, though entirely lacking notable glass, is of manifest good design.

In fine, then, the general effect of the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Séez is one of lightness and grace, and it may be considered as an extraordinarily fine architectural monument, in spite of the anomalies of its west front.

The twin spires rise gracefully for perhaps two hundred and fifty feet, and are after the best manner of the great Gothic builders; of true proportions, and of the dwindling pyramidal form so much approved.

The façade, between the towers and the extraordinary buttresses, is completely filled with an ample Gothic portal, which, though entirely destitute of sculpture, or indeed carving of any sort, offers a significant opportunity for some future efforts in this direction.





The magnificently impressive Cathedral of Notre Dame is perhaps less intimately associated with Bayeux in the average mind than is the wonderful story-telling tapestry which is domiciled in the same city. As for this treasure of the past, it is a subject so vast, and of such great significance, in both history and art, that it has many times been made the subject of weighty consideration. A well-known English amateur, the Honourable E. J. Lowell, has stated that popular tradition has credited it as the handiwork of Matilda, Queen of311 William the Conqueror, who worked it to commemorate his glorious achievements. If this be really so, the queen was probably assisted largely by the ladies of her court, as the extensive work, measuring some hundred and sixty odd feet, could hardly have been accomplished single-handed. Professor Freeman assigns it to a similar period, but worked, as he thinks, by English workmen, for Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, the Conqueror's half-brother.

A previous acquaintance with the great cathedrals of the Isle of France will tend somewhat to nullify the effect which is produced by Notre Dame de Bayeux, although, in point of size and general arrangements, at least, it fulfils its functions perhaps more acceptably than many a more renowned edifice. Its situation, on the side of a steep slope, produces a curious effect, first, with respect to the choir chevet, which is thus shown as rather gaunt and bare in its lower elongated stages, though undeniably a fine work in itself; secondly, in the general interior view where, from the western entrance, one comes upon the nave pavement a dozen or more steps below the portal, and again meets with the same effect further on at the transept crossing. There312 would appear to have been no other way but this of placing above ground what might otherwise have been the crypt; adding immeasurably to the fine appearance of the interior, the nave and choir appearing to lengthen out interminably by reason of the western elevation from which they are viewed.

A portion of the western towers, and the crypt which is beneath the choir, are thought to date from as early as the eleventh century, having been built by Odo, the half-brother of William the Norman. The splendidly proportioned Norman nave, with its decorated spandrels and archivolts, a worthy decorative embellishment developed before the days of coloured glass, possesses that bright and fresh appearance which is usually associated with a recent work, whereas, as a matter of fact, it can hardly be, in its five circular arches at least, later than the late eleventh or early twelfth century. If it were true that modern restorative processes commonly disfigured no more than this, it is a pity that the dust and cobwebs, and a little of the grime of ages, were not more often removed. Here is the very excess of dog-tooth, arabesque, and grotesque carving, never found in connection with a building which is constructively 313decorative. Here also is an ornate frieze of no great depth and possessing none of the beauties of the two other distinct elements. As there is no triforium in the nave proper, this decoration is, of course, intended merely as a relief to a bareness which, on account of the generous height, would otherwise exist.

In the choir, the triforium, which is omitted in the nave, springs into being in beautiful and ornate form. The lower arches, with the supports, the attributed work of an English architect, are of the usual Gothic form, in contra-distinction to the rounded heads of those of the nave. The clerestory, though delicate and graceful, is somewhat curtailed from the dimensions of that of the west end of the church.

The transepts are unusually bright and cheerful, with a series of windows more beautifully designed than those of either the choir or nave. The choir stalls are of oak, carved in the best manner of the Renaissance.

The charming tower group of this cathedral is as effective, perhaps, as any among all the northern churches. The central belfry, albeit of a base, though pretentious, rococo design, follows no accepted style, but adds imposingly to the general outline. (Its height is over three hundred feet.) In this tower, as314 in the window tracery, the fleur-de-lys, always a sign of the decadent in Gothic style, is to be seen. The western towers, with their spires, follow the truest pyramidal form, and, though carrying both pointed and round-arched openings, are in every way representative of the best work of their period. The northwesterly tower has an elongated turret, extending from the lower ranges, which, when seen from a distance over the roof of the nave, appears as a protuberance not unlike a dove-cote. This contains the spiral staircase up which visitors are earnestly implored, by the caretaker, to wend their way and participate in the view from the heights above. This view, though undeniably wider in range than are most elevated view-points, is hardly of interest to one who seeks the beauties of the structure itself. There are three porches on the west façade, all fairly well filled with foliaged ornament and bas-reliefs. They are of the thirteenth century, and of a thoroughly florid order.

Included in the "tresor" are two gifts from St. Louis, the chasuble of St. Regnobert, and an ivory and enamel casket.





This picturesquely situated city of the Cotentin, St. Lo, is so named from the Bishop St. Laud, who lived in the neighbourhood in the sixth century. Later, it became a Huguenot stronghold, and was ably, though unsuccessfully, defended by Colombiers. It forms, with its former Cathedral of Notre Dame crowning its height, another of those ensembles which will always linger in the memory of the traveller who first comes upon it clad in spring and summer verdure. The rippling Vire at its very feet gives at once the note;316 it not only binds and enwraps it like the setting of a precious stone, but adds that one feature which, lacking, would be a chord misplaced. Perhaps no other cathedral in all France, with regard to its bijou setting, certainly no other so accessible to the English tourist, has more dainty charm than this not very grand, but graceful, church at St. Lo. Its towers, though not uniform as to size, are of apparently the same gradual proportions, and, if not the most impressive, are at least the most beautiful in Normandy. They rise high above the wooded crest which encircles their base in true picture-book fashion. The attraction of the river, here, is unusual, in that it presents no accustomed "slummy" picturesqueness, but winds slowly, amid its green, to the very base of the cliff which upholds the chief portion of the town and its cathedral.

The façade presents a mélange of the work of at least three epochs, a not unusual feature in some of the smaller cathedrals. It has a mean little house built into its northwest corner, a crude and ugly clock-face stuck unmeaningly on its façade, and a general air of dilapidation, with respect to the statues originally contained in its archivolts and niches, which, to say the least, is not creditable to those who317 have been responsible for its care. It would seem that so lively and important a centre of local activity might have devoted a little more thought and care to the maintenance of this charming building.

Built up from a foundation of which but little, if any portion, visibly remains, Notre Dame shows a debasement of design and decoration of its façade which is not only not admirable, but is, in addition, sadly disfigured. The one detail, for the most part good in style, is a not unduly florid arcade, which plainly indicates its superiority over the rest of the building.

On the north side is an open-air pulpit of stone overhung with a canopy, a highly interesting detail, though, of course, not a unique one. Unable to command admiration as an absolute novelty, it is assuredly a charming feature, and is delicately and profusely sculptured. It suggests much in conjunction with the busy life of the rather squalid neighbouring market-place, whose only picturesque attribute is when it is crowded with the gaiety of a market or a fête day. By far the most compelling interest in the building, after an inspection of its interior, is the view to be had from a distance.318

The nave is late Gothic, and widens out in curious fashion toward the east; otherwise the interior arrangements are not remarkable. One bulbous chapel on the south side supplants the usual transept.

There is no triforium either in choir or nave, the lighting principally being effected by the large windows of the aisles.

It is pertinent to recall here that one of Charlemagne's own foundations of the ninth century, destroyed by the barbarians, was situated near by, the famous Abbey of St. Croix.


Notre Dame de Coutances





Like many another town of western Normandy, like Falise, Domfront, St. Lo, Granville, Avranches, and Mont St. Michel itself, Coutances rises high above the surrounding plain and stands dominant in the landscape for miles on either hand. Of perhaps more magnitude, as to area, than any of the other examples, the city has the added attribute of three towered ecclesiastical edifices, which rise nobly in varying stages far over the neighbouring roof-tops of the town itself and the tree-clad slopes which embank it.

The oldest of the Norman Gothic cathedrals, and that which partakes the most of local character, is Notre Dame de Coutances. Certain French archæologists have said that the main body of the church is actually that of the eleventh century. It is more likely, however, that none of the building at present in view is earlier than the thirteenth century,322 the epoch during which contemporaneous Gothic first grew to its maturity. In any event, such building and construction was going on from 1208 to 1233 as would indicate that it was the entire present edifice which was being planned at that time. In this case it is quite possible that the rebuilding was going on slowly, foot by foot, in a manner which not only encompassed and absorbed the older building, but in reality eradicated every vestige of it. Says a French writer of enthusiasm, "The Cathedral of Coutances, as it now stands, is one of the most noble and grand religious edifices in France, with all the qualities of a monument of the first order, of perfect dimension, beauty of plan, unity of workmanship, and distinction of form." Any one of these attributes, were it literally so, might well turn a commonplace structure into an unapproachable masterpiece. In a measure, all of his eulogy is quite true, and the pity is that more do not know of its fascination and charm.

The façade of the Cathedral of Notre Dame is of the indigenous Norman-Gothic type. The fine towers, in addition to combining the symmetrical elements of Gothic, have, each, as well, a flanking towerlet, attached to their outer sides, enclosing a spiral stairway. These323 extend to quite the full height of the tower proper; and, though by no means a wholly attractive feature, are not as offensive as might at first be supposed. It is doubtful, in fact, if the general strength and impressiveness of the entire structure would not be impaired were the arrangements otherwise.

The present ogival structure is built on the remains of a Romanesque church erected by a famous Bishop of Coutances, Geoffroy de Montbray, with funds supplied by Guillaume Bras-de-Fer, Odon, Roger, Onfroy, and Robert, sons of Tancrede-de-Hauteville, the Norman conquerors of Sicily and Calabria, whose names have been given fabled prominence in more than one epic poem. The early structure was consecrated in 1056, in the presence of William, then Duke of Normandy, a few years before he became the Conqueror. Supposedly none of this former church remains; in fact, what fragments, if any, exist, are doubtless covered in the present foundations.

Mainly, the present structure is thirteenth-century work, with a lady-chapel of the fourteenth century.

An unusual, and exceedingly beautiful, effect is given by the Gothic window mullions, between the chapels, in reality a series of 324geometrical window-frames, without glass. No florid ornament either inside or out is to be found to offend against accepted ideals. In short, "the whole is of a piece complete." The parapets of triforium and clerestory, with foliaged carvings, are about the only ornate decorations to be seen.

The central tower, of great proportions, but incomplete as to the addition of a spire, is a marvel of strength and power. Its interior, elaborately decorated, forms a lantern at the crossing. Here, as at Bayeux, the choir is raised a few steps above its aisles, giving a certain impressiveness beyond what might otherwise exist.

The interior, generally, is admirable. Clustered columns, as they are commonly called,—in reality they are clustered pillars, if word derivations are to be considered,—separate both nave and choir from the aisles; and, in case of the choir, a series of elongated circular pillars are coupled, one behind the other, an unquestionably unique arrangement.

The transepts are practically non-existent, as the widening does not extend beyond the extent of the nave chapels. This leaves the ground-plan, at least, a mere parallelogram with a rounded eastern end.325

Notre Dame de Coutances is one of the few really great Gothic churches not possessing an example of those French masterworks, the rose window.

Again referring to the fine tower group, it is probably true that, were the huge central tower properly spired, the ensemble would rival Laon in regard to its impressive situation and elaborate pinnacles.

St. Pierre, of the fifteenth century, and St. Nicolas, of the fourteenth, complete the trinity of fine churches which Coutances possesses. The latter contains the unusual arrangement in a Continental church of pews in place of chairs, although formerly, it is said, this feature was not uncommon in Normandy.

The somewhat considerable remains of a Roman acqueduct, near by, are sufficiently remarkable to warrant passing consideration, even by the "mere lover of churches."326




There is little to recount concerning the See of Avranches. Its bishopric and its cathedral were alike destroyed during the parlous times of the bickerings and ravages of Royalists and Republicans of the Revolutionary period. All that remains to-day is a trifling heap of stones which would hardly fill a row-boat,—a fragment of a shaft on which is a tablet reading:327

On this stone,
Here at the door of the Cathedral of Avranches,
After the Murder of Thomas À Becket,
Archbishop of Canterbury,
Henry II.,
King of England and Duke of Normandy,
Received on his knees,
From the Legates of the Pope,
The Apostolic Absolution,
On Sunday, 22d May 1172."

At its feet is another slab, the aforementioned door-step, on which, before the papal legate, the remorseful monarch did penance before his later expiation at Canterbury.

A little farther on is a small heap consisting of shafts and capitals of columns, a stone sarcophagus and a brass plate stating that they are the "Derniers restes de la cathédrale d'Avranches; commencée vers 1090 et consacrée par l'eveque Turgis en 1121." The nave having fallen in, the rest of the edifice had to be taken down in 1799.

Because of its picturesque environment and situation, Avranches is perhaps a more than ordinarily attractive setting for a shrine, and it is well worthy of the attention of the passing traveller, in spite of its ancient cathedral being328 now but a heap of stones. Apart from this it is of little interest, and hence, to most, it will probably remain, in the words of a French traveller, a mere "silhouette in the distance."


St Samson, Dol-de-Bretagne



The one-time Cathedral of St. Samson, at Dol, is, says an unusually expressive Frenchman, "a grand, noble, and severe church, now widowed of its bishops. Its aspect is desolate and abandoned, as if it were but a ruin en face sur la grande place, of itself, but a mere desert of scrub." This is certainly a vivid and forceful description of even a wholly unprepossessing shrine. This St. Samson is not, and due allowance should be made for verbal modelling which, in many cases, is but the330 mere expression of a mood pro tempo. There is, however, somewhat of truth in the description. About the granite walls there is a grimness and gauntness of decay; of changed plans and projects; of devastation; of restoration; and, finally, of what is, apparently, submission to the inevitableness of time.

The enormous northwesterly tower is stopped suddenly, with the daylight creeping through its very framework. Its façade is certainly bare of ornament, and gives a thorough illustration of paucity of design as well as of detail. There is, indeed, nothing in the west façade to compel admiration, and yet there is a fascination about it that to some will be irresistible.

A sixteenth-century porch, of suggested Burgundian style, forms the main entrance to the church, and is situated midway along the south side. Almost directly opposite, on the north, is the curiously contrasting feature of a crenelated battlement, a reminder of the time when the church was doubtless a temporal as well as a spiritual stronghold.

The interior, as the exterior, is gloomy and melancholy. One has only to contemplate the collection of ludicrously slender clustered columns of the nave, bound together with 331markedly visible iron strands, to realize the real weakness of the means by which the fabric has been kept alive.

The nave itself is of true proportions, and, regardless of the severity of its lines, and the ludicrous pillars, is undeniably fine in effect.

A curiously squared choir-end, but with the small apsed lady-chapel extending beyond, is another of those curious details which stand out in a way to be remarked in a French church. In this squared end, and above the arch made by the pillars of the choir aisle, is a large pointed window filled with ancient glass which must have been inserted soon after the church was reconstructed after the fire in the twelfth century.

The general effect of the nave and aisles is one of extreme narrowness, which perhaps is not so much really the case when actual measurements are taken.

In general, the church is supposed by many to resemble the distinct type of Gothic as it is known across the Channel; and, admitting for the nonce that possibly many of the Brittany structures were the work of English builders, this church, in the absence of any records as to who were its architects, may well be counted as of that number.332

The stalls of the choir are of delicately carved wood, before which is placed a monumental bishop's throne, with elaborate armorial embellishments. A Renaissance tomb of the sixteenth century, by a pupil of Michel Colomb, now much injured in its sculptured details of angels and allegorical figures, is locally considered the "show-piece" of the church.







Welshmen throughout the world rejoice that it was one of their countrymen, a monk of the sixth century, who gave his name as founder to the "walled city of St. Malo by the sea." With its outlying and contiguous towns of St. Servan, Dinan, and Paramé, St. Malo is a paradise for the mere lover of pleasure resorts. Further, with respect to the first three places mentioned, there is present not a little of the romance and history of the past, reflected as it were in a modern mirror. Not but that the old town of St. Malo, within the walls, is ancient and picturesque enough, and dirty, too, if one be speciously critical; but the fact is that the modern Pont Roulant, and the omnific toot of the steam-tram, ever present in one's sight and hearing, are forcible reminders of the march of time.

St. Servan, so far as its cathedral is concerned, may be dismissed in a word. The336 ancient see of St. Pierre d'Aleth had, at one time, its dignity vested in a bishop who enthroned himself in a cathedral, the remains of which exist to-day only as a fragment built into the fortifications. The bishopric was removed in 1142 to St. Malo.

With St. Malo a difference exists. Its cathedral, now degenerated to a parish church, is a Gothic work mainly of the fifteenth century, and, regardless of its unimposing qualities, is one of those fascinating old buildings which, in its environment and surroundings, appeals perhaps more largely to us as a component of a whole than as a feature to be admired by itself. The church, safely sheltered from the ravage of gale and storm, sits amid narrow winding streets, whose buildings are so compressed as to rise to heights unusual in the smaller Continental towns.

The edifice is mainly of the fifteenth century, but has been variously renovated and restored. Gothic, Renaissance, and the transition between the two are plainly discernible throughout. Perhaps the best art to be noted is that found in the interior of the choir, with its fine triforium and clerestory windows above. Here, again, is to be observed the337 squared east end of the English contemporary church, a further reminder, if it be needed, of the influences which were bound to be more or less exchanged with regard to the arts and customs of the time, on both shores of La Manche.

A few features of passing interest are here, an ivory crucifix, a few tombs, and some indifferent paintings.

The spire is modern, but gives a suggestion, at least, in viewing the city from a distance, of something of what a mediæval walled seaport, with its population huddled close beneath the shadow of the church, and within the city walls, must have been like. The best example of this which ever existed in mediæval France, and which exists to-day in a more than ordinary remarkable state of preservation, is the famous Mount St. Michel, a few miles only to the eastward, and famed of all, historian, ecclesiast, artist, and mere pleasure-seeker, alike. Most writers are pleased to refer to the confiding attitude of mine host, who conducts the principal hostelry on the Mount, and who guilelessly asks the wary traveller (ofttimes they are wary) what he has partaken of during his stay, and makes up the account accordingly. This is, perhaps,338 not the least of attributive charms, though it should be a minor one where this wonderful and real Mount, which takes its name from legendary St. Michel, is concerned. Indeed, leaving the cathedrals at Rouen, Chartres, and Le Mans out of the question, it is doubtful if the Abbey of Mont St. Michel is not the chief remaining architectural glory of the middle ages, west of Paris.

It is but a short distance from St. Malo to St. Servan, but what a difference! It is called by the French themselves the daughter of St. Malo,—the "faubourg grown into a city."

Rabida's "Bretagne" states that there are "nombreux des Anglais à St. Servan, des jeunes gens vivant dans les pensions brittaniques—des familles venant l'été faire en Bretagne une cure d'economies pour l'hiver." Continuing, this discerning author says: "Bathers, bicyclists, golfists, promenaders, and excursionists abound." Better then let them hold forth here to their hearts' content; there is little that the lover of churches will gain from what remains to-day of the town's former Cathedral of St. Pierre.339



This old cathedral city, at the junction of two small streamlets, a short distance from the sea, lies perhaps a dozen miles away from the nearest railway. With St. Pol de Leon and St. Brieuc it is, in local characteristics and customs alike, a something apart from any other community in northern France. The Bretons are commonly accredited as being a most devout race, and certainly devotion could take no more marked turn than the many evidences here to be seen in this "land of Calvaries." St. Brieuc is a bishopric, suffragan of Rennes, whose cathedral is a hideous modern structure of the early nineteenth century quite unworthy as a shrine; but Tréguier's power waned with the Revolution. Its fourteenth-century church, however, is sufficiently remarkable by reason of its situation and surroundings, none the less than in its fabric, to warrant a deviation from well-worn340 roads in order to visit it. Chiefly of a late period, it possesses in the Tour de Hasting, named after the Danish pirate (though why seems obscure), which enfolds the north transept, a work of the best eleventh-century class. This should place the church, at once, within the scope of the designation of a "transition" type. In this tower the windows and pilasters are of the characteristic round variety of the period. The south porch is the most highly developed feature as to Mediæval style, but the attraction lies mainly in its ensembled massiveness, with its two sturdy towers and a ridiculously spired south clocher. Beyond a certain grimness of fabric the church fails, not a little, to impress one with even simple grandeur, even when one takes into consideration the charms of its florid but firmly designed cloister, which, with the church itself, is classed by the Département des Beaux Arts as one of the twenty-three hundred "Monumentes Historiques." Nevertheless, the building proves more than ordinarily gratifying, though by no stretch of the imagination could it be classed as grand.

Loftiness and grandeur are equally lacking in the interior, and there is great variation of style with respect to the pillars of nave and341 choir. This is also the case with the windows, which play the gamut from the severe round-headed Romanesque to the latest flamboyant development, a feature which not only disregards most conventions, but, as every one will admit, most flagrantly offends, with sad results, against the general constructive elements. A plain triforium, in the nave, blossoms out, in the south transept and choir, in no hesitating manner, into exceeding richness. The choir has an apsidal termination and contains carved wooden stalls which are classed as work of the mid-seventeenth century, though appearing much more time-worn.

The really popular attribute of the church lies in the reconstructed monument to St. Yves, the patron saint of advocates, and commonly considered the most popular in all the Brittany calendar.

Born near Tréguier in 1253, St. Yves' "unheard-of probity and consideration for the sick and the poor" gained such general respect that, with his death on the nineteenth of May, 1303, there was inaugurated a great feast which to-day is yearly celebrated, and all grieving against a real or fancied wrong have recourse promptly to the supposedly just favour of this universal patron of the law.342




Unlike many of the smaller towns which contain cathedral churches, St. Brieuc is a present day bishopric; hence the Cathedral takes on, perhaps, more significance than it would, were it but an example of a Mediæval church.

In reality it is not a very wonderful structure, and the guide-books will tell one practically nothing about it. The town itself is a dull place, a tidal port, at some little distance from the sea, which flushes in upon it twice during the round of the clock.

A monastery was founded here in the fifth343 century by St. Brieuc, from whom the town itself and the present cathedral take their name. He was a Celtic monk from Wales, who, upon being expelled from his native land, located his establishment here, on the site of a former Gallo-Roman town. The patronal feast of St. Brieuc is held each year on the first of May and is a curious survival of a mediæval custom.

Some remains of an early church are built into the choir walls, but in the main this not very grand edifice is of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.

The tower, with its loopholes, would supposedly indicate that the church was likewise intended as somewhat of a fortification. The apse is rounded in the usual form, and on either side extend transepts to the width of two bays.

Within, the Cathedral is more attractive than without. The elements of construction and embellishment, while perhaps not ranking with those of the really great churches, are sufficiently vivid and lively to indicate that the work was consciously and enthusiastically undertaken. The lady-chapel is of the thirteenth century, and the transept rose is of the fifteenth, as is also the Chapel of St. 344Guillaume, named for the monk of Dijon who built so many of the monasteries throughout Brittany and who, it is to be presumed, planned or built the original structure, the remains of which are found in the present choir.

The windows throughout are either of not very good modern glass, or of plain leaded lights, which, in the majority of cases, may be considered as no less an attraction. An elaborate rose is in the western gable.

There are, in the church, various monuments and tombs to former bishops.345



In the midst of that land which furnishes the south of England with most of its cauliflowers, artichokes, onions, and asparagus, truly off the beaten track, in that it is actually off the line of railway, is the strange and melancholy city of St. Pol de Leon, its clochers dominating, by day at least, both land and sea. It contains the famous "Kreisker," a name which sounds as though it were Dutch or North German, which it probably is along with other place names on the near-by coast, such as Grouin, St. Vaast, Roscoff, and La Hougue.

The tower and spire of this wonderful "Kreisker" rise boldly, from the transept crossing, in remarkable fashion, and as a marvel of construction may be said to far outrank the cathedral structure itself. "Curious and clever" well describes it. As for the former cathedral over which the Kreisker346 throws its shadow, it is one of those majestic twin-towered structures not usually associated with what, when compared with the larger French towns, must perforce rank as a mere village.

There is much to be said in favour of these little-known near-by places, namely, that the charm of their attractions amply repays one for any special labour involved in getting to them, with the additional advantage, regardless of the fact that a stranger appears somewhat to the native as a curiosity, that they are "good value for the money paid." Perhaps the cheapest Continental tour, of say three weeks, that could be taken, amid a constantly changing environment, if one so choose, would comprehend this land of Calvaries.

The two cathedral towers of early Gothic flank a generous porch. There is good glass throughout the church, the circular "rose" of the transept being a magnificent composition in a granite framing. The nave is of thirteenth-century Gothic, from the south aisle of which projects a large chapel dedicated to St. Michael. The double-aisled choir is garnished with sculptured stalls of the fifteenth century, and, separated from its aisles by a stone screen, is of much larger proportions347 than the nave, and likewise of a later epoch of building. The apse is flamboyant, as are also the windows of the south transept. In the chapels are various vaults and tombs, remarkably well preserved, but of no special moment. In one of these chapels, however, is a curious painting in the vaulting, representing a "Trinity" possessing three faces, disposed in the form of a trefoil with three eyes only. A ribbon or "banderalle" bears an inscription in Gothic characters; in the Breton tongue, "Ma Donez" (Mon Dieu).348



"C'est Quimper, ce mélange du passé et du présent." A true enough description of most mediæval cities when viewed to-day; but with no centre of habitation is it more true than of this city by the sea,—though in reality it is not by the sea, but rather of it, with a port always calm and tranquil. It takes rank with Brest as the western outpost of modern France.

For centuries unconquered, and possessing an individuality of its very own, this now important prefecture has much to remind us of its past. History, archæology, and "mere antiquarian lore" abound, and, in its grandiose Cathedral of St. Corentin, one finds a large subject for his appreciative consideration.

It is of the robust and matured type that familiarity has come to regard as representative of a bishopric; nothing is impoverished



or curtailed. Its fine towers with modern spires, erected from the proceeds of a "butter tax," are broad of base and delicately and truly proportioned. Its ground-plan is equally worthy, though the choir is not truly orientated. Its general detail and ensemble, one part with another, is all that fancy has told us a great church should contain, and one can but be prepared to appreciate it when it is endorsed, and commented on, by such ardent admirers as De Caumont, Viollet-le-Duc, Corroyer, and Gonsé, those four accomplished Frenchmen, who probably knew more concerning Mediæval (Gothic) architecture than all the rest of the world put together.

From the thirteenth to the fifteenth century there grew up here a work embracing the ogival and the flamboyant, neither in an undue proportion, but as well as in any other single structure known. This well shows the rise, development, and apogee of the style which we commonly call Gothic, but which the French prefer to call "ogival," and which should really, if one is to fairly apportion credit where it is due, be best known as French Mediæval architecture.

Its west façade, with its generous lines, is strongly original. The two towers, pierced350 with enormously heightened lancets, are indubitably graceful and impressive, while a flanking pair of flying buttresses, with their intermediate piers, form an unusual arrangement in the west front of a French cathedral.

Above the western gable is a curiously graven effigy of King Grollo in stone.

Considered as a whole, the exterior is representative of the best contemporary features of the time, but contains few if any which are so distinctly born of its environment as to be otherwise notable.

The interior vies with the outer portion of the fabric in the general effect of majesty and good design. The triforium is remarkably beautiful and is overtopped by a range of clerestory windows which to an appreciable extent contain good early glass. The easterly end is the usual semicircular apse.

Among the relics of the Cathedral is a crucifix which is supposed to emit drops of blood when one perjures himself before it. It is, perhaps, significant that the people of Finistère, the department which claims Quimper as its capital, have the repute of being honest folk.

The Bishops of Quimper were, by virtue of the gift of le roi Grodlon le Grave, the only seigneurs of the city during the middle ages.351



Vannes was the ancient capital of the Celtic tribe of the Veneti, its inhabitants being put to rout by Cæsar in 57 B. C. Afterward it became the Roman town of Duriorigum, and later reverted back to a corruption of its former name. Christianity having made some progress, a council was held, and a bishop appointed to the city, and from that time onward its position in the Christian world appears to have been assured. For centuries afterward, however, it was the centre of a maelstrom of internal strife, in which Armoricans, Britons, Franks, and Romans appear to have been inextricably involved. Then came the Northmen, who burned the former Cathedral of St. Peter. This was rebuilt in the eleventh century, and in no small measure forms the foundation of the present structure, which to-day is the seat of a bishop, suffragan of Rennes.

From this early architectural foundation, to352 the most florid and flamboyant of late Gothic, is pretty much the whole range of Mediæval architectural style. By no means has a grand or even fine structure resulted. The old choir, suffering from the stress of time, was pulled down and rebuilt as late as 1770. Thus, this usually excellently appointed and constructed detail is here of no worthy rank whatever. The nave and transepts were completed within the hundred years following 1452, and show the last flights of Gothic toward the heights from which it afterward fell. Transformation and restoration have frequently been undertaken, with the result that nowhere is to be seen perhaps greater inconsistencies. The latest of these examples of a perverted industry is seen in the nineteenth-century additions to the tower and the west façade. The result is not, be it said, to the credit of its projectors.





The Architectural Divisions of France

It is quite possible to construct an ethnographic map of a country from its architectural remains,—but there must always be diverse and varying opinions as to the delimitation of one school, as compared with another lying contiguous thereto.

One may wander from province to province, and continually find reminders, of another manner of building, from that which is recognized as the characteristic local species. This could hardly be otherwise. In the past, as in the present, imitators were not few, and if the adoption of new, or foreign, ideas was then less rapid, it was no less sure. Still, in the main, there is a cohesiveness and limitation of architectural style in France; which, as is but natural to suppose, is in no way more clearly defined than by the churches which were built during the middle ages, the earliest types retaining the influence of massive forms, and the later again debasing itself to a heavy classical order, neither a copy of anything of a pre-Gothic era, or a happy 354development therefrom. Between the two, in a period of scarcely more than three hundred years, there grew up and developed the ingenious and graceful pointed style, in all its fearlessness and unconvention.

Political causes had, perhaps, somewhat to do with the confining of a particular style well within the land of its birth, but on the other hand, warfare carried with it invasion and conquest of new sections, and its followers, in a measure, may be said to have carried with them certain of their former arts, accomplishments, and desires; and so grew up the composite and mixed types which are frequently met with.

There are a dozen or more architectural styles in what is known as the France of to-day. The Provençal (more properly, says Fergusson, it should be called "Gallia Narbonese,") one of the most beautiful and clearly defined of all; the Burgundian, with its suggestion of luxuriance and, if not massiveness, at least grandeur; the Auvergnian, lying contiguous to both the above, with a style peculiarly its own, though of an uncompromising southern aspect; Acquitanian, defining the style which lies between Provence, the Auvergnat and the Pyrénées, and a type quite different from either. The Angevinian, which extends northward from Limoges to Normandy and Brittany, and northeasterly nearly to Orleans, is a species difficult to place—it partakes largely of southern influence, but is usually thought to merit a nomenclature of its own, as distinct from the type found at Anjou. Turning now to the northern or Frankish influence, as distinct from the Romance355 countries; Brittany joins to no slight degree influences of each region; Normandy partakes largely of the characteristics of the type of Central France, which is thoroughly dominated by that indigenous to the Isle of France, which species properly might include the Bourbonnais and Nivernoise variants, as being something of a distinct type, though resembling, in occasional details, southern features. This list, with the addition of French Flanders, with its Lowland types, completes the arrangement, if we except Alsace and Lorraine, which favour the German manner of building rather more than any of the native French types.356


A List of the Departments of France, and of the Ancient Provinces from which they have been evolved.

Provinces and date of union
    with France
Ile de France, with La Brie, etc.
Always held by the crown
Picardie. Louis XIV, 1667SommeAmiens
Artois and Boulonnais. 1640Pas-de-CalaisArras
Flandre and Hainault Français.
Louis XIV. 1667-1669
Norppe Auguste, 1204Seine-InférieureRouen
Bretagne. François I. 1532Ille-et-VilaineRennes
Orléanais. Louis XII. 1498LoiretOrleans
Beauce and Pays ChartrainEure-et-LoireChartres
Maine. Louis XI. 1481SartheLe Mans
Anjou. Louis XI. 1481Maine-et-LoireAngers
Touraine. Henri III. 1584Indre-et-LoireTours
Poitou. Charles VI. 1416VendéeBourbon-Vendée
Berri. Philippe I. 1100IndreChâteauroux
Marche. François I. 1531CreuseGuéret
Limousin. Charles V. 1370Haute-VienneLimoges
Angoumois. Charles V. 1370CharenteAngoulême
Saintonge and Aunis. 1370Charente-InférieureLa Rochelle
Guienne and Gascogne.
Charles VII. 1451
Béarn and French Navarre. Louis XIII.Basses-PyrénéesPau
Comté de Foix. Louis XIII.AriègeFoix
Roussillon. 1659Pyrénées-OrientalesPerpignan
Languedoc. John, 1361Haute-GaronneToulouse
VelayHaute-LoireLe Puy
Comtat Venaissin, Orange, etc. Louis XIV. 1713VaucluseAvignon
Provence. Louis XI. 1481Bouches-du-RhôneMarseille
Dauphiné. Philippe de Valois, 1343IsèreGrenoble
Lyonnais and BeaujolaisRhôneLyon
ForezLoireSt. Etienne
Auvergne. Philippe Auguste, 1210Puy-de-DômeClermont
Bourbonnais. Louis XII. 1505AllierMoulins
Nivernais. Charles VII. 1457NièvreNevers
Bresse, Bugey, etc.AinBourg
Bourgogne (duché). Louis XI. 1477Saône-et-LoireMâcon
Comté de Bourgogne, or Franche-Comté.
Peace of Nimeguen, 1678
Champagne. Philippe le Bel, 1284AubeTroyes.
Lorraine.[*] On the death
of Stanislas Leczinsky, 1766
Meurthe and MoselleNancy
Alsace.[*] Louis XIV. 1648Territory of Belfort Belfort
Corsica. 1794.CorseAjaccio
Comté de Nice. 1861Alpes MaritimesNice

[*] The greater part of these provinces as they formerly stood were ceded to Germany, May 10, 1871.



The Church in France

La France Catholique is to-day divided into eighty-four dioceses, administered, as to spiritual affairs, by seventeen archbishops and sixty-seven bishops. To each diocese is attached a seminary for the instruction of those who aspire to the priesthood. Each chief town of a canton has its curé, each parish its desservant.

Archbishops and BishopsDioceses
Lyon-et-VienneRhône, Loire
Sainte ClaudeJura
LimogesHaute-Vienne et Creuse
Le PuyHaute-Loire
Saint Flour Cantal
PoitiersVienne-et-Deux Sèvres
La Rochelle Charente-Inférieure
Carcassonne Aude
Sens et AuxerreYonne
ReimsArr. de Reims-et-Ardennes
Châlons-sur-MarneMarne except Arrond. de Reims
Le MansSarthe
Aix, Arles, and EmbrunBouches-du-Rhône except Marseilles
MarseillesArr. de Marseilles
Fréjus and ToulonVar
BesançonDoubs et Haute-Saône
St. DiéVosges
Montpellier Hérault
St. BrieucCôtes-du-Nord
TarentaiseVal-de-Tarentaise (Savoie)
MaurienneVal-de-Maurienne (Savoie)

[**] The Archbishop of Bordeaux has three suffragans outside France: St. Denis and La Reunion, St. Pierre and Fort de France (Martinique), Basseterre (Guadaloupe).



A List of the Larger French Churches which were at one time Cathedrals and usually referred to as such.

Note.—Those marked H. M. are classed as Les Monuments Historiques by La Commission de la Conservation des Monuments Historiques.

AgdeHérault H. M.
AlençonOrneNotre DameH. M.
AletAudeNotre DameH. M.
AptVaucluse H. M.
ArlesBouches-du-RhôneSt. TrophimusH. M.
Arras St. Vaast 
AuxerreYonneSt. EtienneH. M.
AuxonneCôte-d'OrNotre Dame 
AvranchesManche(remains only)H. M.
BazasGirondeSt. JeanH. M.
Bethléem (There was once a Bishop of
Bethléem whose see was the
village of Clamecy only, but no cathedral.)
BéziersHéraultSt. NazaireH. M.
BoulognePas-de-CalaisNotre Dame 
BourgAinNotre Dame 
BrioudHaute-Loire H. M.
Cambrai Notre Dame 
CarcassonneAudeSt. NazaireH. M.
CarpentrasVaucluseSt. SiffreinH. M.
CastresTarnSt. Benonit 
CavaillonVaucluseSt. VéranH. M.
CondomGers H. M.
ConseronsAriège(See St. Lizier) 
DieDrôme H. M.
DinanCôtes-du-NordSt. SaveurH. M.
DolIlle-et-VilaineSt. SamsonH. M.
ElnePyrénées-Orientales H. M.
EmbrunHautes-Alpes H. M.
GlandèvesBasses-Alpes(Bishopric transferred to Entrevaux) 
GrasseAlpes-Maritimes(Bishopric in XIVth century) 
LaonAisneNotre DameH. M.
LavaurTarn(Bishopric in XIVth century) 
LectoursGers(Bishopric in Xth century) 
LescarBasses-Pyrénées H. M.
LisieuxCalvadosSt. Pierre 
LodeveHéraultSt. FulcranH. M.
LombezGers H. M.
MâconSaône-et-LoireSt. VincentH. M.
MirepoixAriège(Bishopric in XIVth century) 
NoyonOiseNotre DameH. M.
OloronBasses-Pyrénées H. M.
OrangeVaucluseNotre Dame 
PérigueuxDordogneSt. Etienne 
St. Bertrand de CommingesHaute-Garonne H. M.
St. DiéVosges  
St. LizierAriège H. M.
St. LoMancheNotre DameH. M.
St. MaloIlle-et-Vilaine  
Ste. MarieBasses-Pyrénées  
St. OmerPas-de-CalaisNotre DameH. M.
St. PapoulAude H. M.
St. Paul Trois ChateauxDrôme H. M.
St. Pol de LeonFinisterre H. M.
St. ServanIlle-et-VilaineSt. Pierre d'Aleth 
SarlatDordogne H. M.
SéezOrneNotre DameH. M.
SenezBasses-Alpes H. M.
SenlisOiseNotre DameH. M.
SoissonsAisneNotre DameH. M.
  St. Gervais 
  St. Protais 
TarbesHautes-PyrénéesEglise de la SédeH. M.
ToulMeurtheSt. EtienneH. M.
ToulonVarSte. Marie-Majeur 
TréguierCôtes-du-Nord H. M.
UzèsGardSt. Thierry 
VaisoVaucluse H. M.
VersaillesSeine-et-OiseSt. Louis 
VenceAlpes-Maritimes H. M.
VienneIsèreSt. MauriceH. M.



Chronology of the chief styles and examples of church building in the north of France from the Romano-Byzantine period to that of the Renaissance

1050-1075NeversSt. EtienneDistinct round-arch
1075-1100BayeuxNotre Dame
 CaenSt. Etienne
1125-1150AutunSt. Lazare Pointed arch
in vaulting and
larger works, with
the retaining of
the round in the
 St. Denis(choir)
1150-1175AngersSt. Maurice
 ParisNotre Dame
 SensSt. Etienne
1200-1225 Reims Notre Dame General adoption
of the ogival
 AuxerreSt. Etienne
 TroyesSts. Peter and Paul
1225-1250AmiensNotre Dame The completed
ogival style
 DijonSt. Bénigne
 BourgesSt. Etienne
1250-1275Noyon Notre Dame (cloisters)
1300-1325Rouen Notre Dame (lady-chapel)
1350-1375Chartres Notre Dame
1425-1450Auxerre St. Etienne (N. transept) Introduction of
Renaissance detail
in Italy
elaboration of
Gothic in France
1450-1475Evreux Notre Dame (transepts and tower)
1475-1500Rouen Notre Dame (S. W. tower) Renaissance firmly
grafted in Italy
and gradually
appearing in the
Gothic of France
 Nevers St. Etienne (S. porch)
1500-1525Beauvais St. Pierre (S. transept)
 Chartres Notre Dame (N. W. spire)
1525-1550BeauvaisSt. Pierre (N. transept)
 AmiensNotre Dame (flêche)
1550-1575Beauvais St. Pierre (central tower since destroyed) Renaissance firmly
1600-1625Orleans Ste. Croix



Dimensions and Chronology


Notre Dame d'Amiens


Length of nave and choir, 469 feet
367Width including transepts, 214 feet
Width of nave, 59 feet
Width of aisles, 33½ feet
Height of nave, 141 or 147 feet, estimated variously
Height of aisles, 65 feet
Length of choir, 135 feet
Width of nave including aisles, 150 feet
Length of transepts, 194 feet
Width of transepts, 36 feet, 6 inches
Height of spire, 422 feet
Superficial area, 70,000 square feet (approx.)


Nave and choir, 1220-1288
Choir stalls, 1520
Western towers completed, 1533
Lateral chapels of nave, XVIth century
Choir chapels, XIIIth century


image not available


Length of nave and choir, 300 feet
368Width of transepts, 40 feet
Height of transepts, 80 feet
Height of nave, 110 feet
Width of nave, 53 feet
Height of spires, 225 feet


Lower walls, Romano-Byzantine
Main body completed, 1240
Choir, XIIth century
Bishop's Palace, XIIth century
Arras tapestries, XIVth century
Choir doorway, XIIIth century
(Recently restored by Viollet-le-Duc)



Length of nave and choir, 302 feet
Height of nave, 66½ feet
Width of nave, 49 feet
Height of tower, 154 feet


Former Cathedral of Notre Dame begun, end of XIIth century
Former Cathedral of Notre Dame completed, 1499
Present Cathedral of St. Vaast, 1755-1833
Triptych of Bellegambe in present Cathedral, 1528
Former Abbey of St. Vaast, now Episcopal Palace since 1754



Height of spire, 325 feet


Transition portion constructed by Robert I.,
Duke of Burgundy, 1031-1076
Spire, XVth century
Sculpture of choir, XVIth century
Flamboyant chapels, XVIth century



Crypt (remains of early work), XIth century
Choir and glass, 1215-1234
Western portals, XIIIth century
Nave, 1334-1373
North transept, 1415-1513
N. W. tower, 1525-1530
Iron grille of choir, XVIIIth century



Central belfry, 300 feet
Length interior, 335 feet
Height interior, 74 feet, 9 inches
Height of western towers, 252 feet


Odo's crypt, XIth century
Circular arches of nave, late XIth or early XIIth century
Portals of west façade, XIIIth century
Chasuble of St. Regnobert, gift of St. Louis, 1226
Date of tapestry (in inventory of church property), 1476



Height of nave, 150 feet
Height of original spire, which fell in 1573, 486 feet
Area of choir, about 28,000 square feet


The Basse Œuvre, VIth to VIIIth centuries
Present building begun, 1225
Dedicated, 1272
Roof fell, 1284
South transept begun, 1500
North transept begun, 1530
North transept finished, 1537
Central spire fell, 1573
Ancient Bishop's Palace, now Palais de Justice,
XIVth to XVIth centuries


St. Etienne de Bourges


Length, 405 feet
Width, 135½ feet
Height of nave, 124½ feet
Height of inner aisle, 66 feet
Height of outer aisle, 28 feet
Height north tower, 217½ feet
Height south tower, 176 feet
Superficial area, 73,170 square feet (approx.)


Dedicated, 1324
Sepulchre, 1336
Crypts, XIIth century
North tower, 1508-1538
Tower St. Etienne completed, 1490
Tower St. Etienne fell, 1506
Choir stalls, 1760



Tower next north door, Romano-Byzantine
Part of nave and choir, Ogival primaire
Aisle and chapels of apse, XIVth century
Apse restored, after fire, in 1672



Length nave and choir, 430 feet
Width, 110 feet
Length nave only, 121 feet
Width nave, 46 feet
Width nave aisles, 19 feet
Height nave, 106 feet
Length transepts, 202 feet
Width transepts, 70 feet
Height of north spire, 403 feet
Height of south spire, 365 feet
Rose window, diameter, 40 to 43 feet
Area, 65,000 square feet (approx.)


Wooden church burned, 1020
Crypt under chevet of choir, 1029
(only remains of original church)
Work of rebuilding stopped, 1048
South portal erected, 1060
Work aided by Matilda, queen of William I., 1083
Lower portion of main body built, 1100-1150
Western towers, 1145
Fire damaged greater part, 1194
Vaulting completed, 1220
Porches of transepts added, 1250
Building consecrated, October 17, 1260
Sacristy and screen in crypt, XIIIth century
North spire burned, 1506
Texier's spire erected, 1507-1515
Texier's spire repaired, 1629
South spire repaired, 1754
Belfry and roof burned (vaulting unharmed), 1836



Length, 368 feet, 6 inches
Transept, length, 112 feet
Transept, width, 23 feet


Church consecrated, 1076
Church burnt, 1119
Northwest tower foundations laid, 1352
Northwest tower completed, 1417
North transept, XVIth century
Nave, early XIIth to late XVth century
Choir, XIVth century
Lady-chapel, XIIIth century




Length of nave and choir, 351 feet
Height of nave, 80 feet
373Width of nave, 67 feet, 7 inches
Length of transepts, 174 feet
Width of transepts, 35 feet, 9 inches
Height of western towers, 173 feet
Height of southwest tower and spire (formerly), 328 feet
Western circular window, 26 feet
Superficial area, 44,000 square feet (approx.)


Original church burned, 1112
New edifice begun, 1114
Entirely rebuilt, 1190
General restoration, 1851




Length of nave and choir, 369 feet
Width of nave and aisles, 78 feet
Width of choir, 123 feet
Height of choir, 108 feet
Area of choir, 30,000 square feet (approx.)
Length of transept, 178 feet
Width of transept, 32 feet


West façade, XIth century
Transition, south portal, XIIth century
Nave and transepts reconstructed, XIIth century
Church extended beyond city walls, XIIIth century
Choir rebuilt, 1200
Choir restored, 1858
Coloured glass, XIIIth, XIVth, XVth centuries
Rose window, south transept, XVth century
Former Bishop's Palace destroyed by Germans, 1871



Height of nave, 109 feet
Length of nave, 275 feet
Length of transepts, 120 feet


Bishopric founded, 375 A.D.
Choir in part, XIIth century
Restored, 1852


image not available



Height of western towers, 270 feet
Height of nave, 130 feet


Remains of choir contains, XIIth century
Romanesque church rebuilt, XVth century
West front, 1434-1500
North transept and choir only completed in XIXth century
Tomb of François II. and Marguerite de Foix, 1507
Later restoration, 1852




Length, 338 feet
Width of nave and aisles, 64 feet, 10 inches
Height of nave, 74 feet, 6 inches
Height of aisles, 28 feet, 9 inches
Height of choir, 26 feet, 3 inches
Height of towers, 200 feet
Superficial area, 30,000 square feet (approx.)


First constructed, 989
Burnt, 1131
Rebuilding undertaken, 1137-1150
Choir, transepts, and nave completed, 1167-1200
Timber work burnt, 1293
Chapter-house built, XIIIth century
Five bays of cloister built, XIVth century
Restored under governmental supervision, 1840



Height of towers, 280 feet
Height of nave, 100 feet


First bishops sent from Rome, IIIrd century
Cathedral destroyed by Huguenots, 1567
Chapels of nave which still remain, XIVth century
Late Gothic mainly of XVIIth century
Western towers completed, 1789




Length, 390 feet
Width, 144 feet
Height of nave, 102 feet
Diameter of rose windows in transept, 36
Superficial area, 64,100 square feet


Founded by Bishop de Sully, 1160-1170
High altar dedicated, 1182
Interior completed (approx.), 1208
West front, 1223-1230
Western towers, 1235
Transept portals, 1257


reimsFlying Buttresses, Reims
Flying Buttresses,


Western towers, 267 feet
Area, 65,000 feet (approx.)


First stone laid, 1212
First portion dedicated, 1215
Chapter takes possession of choir, 1244
Nave commenced, 1250
Transept and abside ornamented, 1295
South tower begun and completed, 1380-1391
Coronation of Charles VII., 1427
Southwest tower completed by Philastre, 1430
Tapestries added to choir, 1444
Belfry of the Angel built, 1497
Gable of the Assumption and Zodiac, 1408
Reëstablishment of grand altar, 1547
Repairs to portals and vaulting, 1610
Cathedral becomes national property, 1790
Exterior repairs and restoration, 1811
General restorations, 1840
2,083,411 francs voted by Chamber for restorations, 1875
Gifts of Gobelin tapestries, 1848


Notre Dame Rouen


Length of nave and choir, 450 feet
Width, including transepts, 177 feet
Width of nave and aisles, 105 feet
Length of choir only, 118 feet
Height of nave, 92 feet
Height of central spire, 480 feet
Height of Tour de Beurre, 252 feet
Height of Tour St. Romain, 246 feet
Area (originally), 53,000 square feet


First church founded on site of cathedral by St. Mellar, VIIth century
Cathedral enlarged under Rollo, who was buried therein in 930
Consecrated and dedicated, 1063
Tour St. Romain, remains of, XIth century
Destroyed by fire, 1200
New building completed, XIIIth century
Portail de la Calende, XIVth century
Tour de Beurre laid, 1487
Tour de Beurre completed, 1507
379Flamboyant west front, XVIth century
Altar of St. Romain, XVIIth century
Tomb of the Cardinals, 1556
Central spire, 1823
Restoration of west front, 1897



Length, 384 feet
Width, 124 feet
Height, 98 feet
Area, 44,000 square feet


Relique of True Cross given by Charlemagne, 800 A. D.
Early church destroyed by fire, 970
New church dedicated, 997
Present building completed, 1168
Choir rebuilt, 1174
Present transept and nave, XIIth and XIIIth centuries
Glass in chapel of St. Savinien, XIIIth century
Glass of rose windows, XVIth century
Mausoleum of the Dauphin, XVIIIth century



Length of nave and choir, 354 feet
Width, 133 feet
Clerestory windows (height), 33 feet


Chapel first built above grave of St. Dionysius the martyr, 275 A. D.
Benedictine abbey first founded here in reign of Dagobert, 628
Pope Stephen took refuge here, 754
Romanesque façade, 1140
Consecration of the building, 1144
Nave, XIIIth century
Abbot Suger died, 1151
General restoration by Suger's successors, XIIIth century
Crenelated battlement added to façade, XIVth century
380Spire burned by lightning, XIXth century
General restoration by Viollet-le-Duc, 1860
Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette reinterred here (removed from
the Madeleine), 1817




The great bell of tower weighs 8,500 kilos.


Bishopric founded, 1533
Astronomical clock, XVIth century
Tomb of St. Erkembode, VIIIth century
Tomb of St. Omer restored, XIIIth century
Former Episcopal Palace, now Palais de Justice, 1680


image not available


Length of nave and choir, 256 feet
Width, 95 feet


Choir begun, 1170
Tour Charlemagne, XIth century
Tour St. Martin, XIIth century
Transepts, 1316
West façade, 1430-1500
Southwest tower, 1507
Tomb of children of Charles VIII., 1483



Length, 394 feet
Width, 168 feet
Height, 96 feet
Height northwest tower, 202 feet


Apse and chapels, 1206-1223
Choir and transepts, 1314-1315
Iron grille of choir, XIIIth century
Church consecrated, 1430
West façade, XVth century
Nave constructed during XIVth, XVth, XVIth centuries
North gable, XVth century
Tower St. Pierre, 1559-1568
Northwest tower demolished by lightning, 1700
Vaulting of transepts fell, 1840
Restoration of choir and transepts, 1840



The French Kings from Charlemagne Onward

 A. D. A. D.
Charlemagne768 Philip VI., de Valois1328
Louis le Débonnaire814 John II., the Good1350
Charles le Chauve840 Charles V., le Sage1364
Louis II., le Bègue877 Charles VI., the Beloved1380
Louis III.879 Charles VII., the Victorious    1422
Carloman879 Louis XI.1461
Charles le Gros884 Charles VIII.1483
Eudes887 Louis XII., of Orleans1498
Charles III., the Simple893 Francis I.1515
Robert I.922 Henry II.1547
Rodolf of Burgundy923 Francis II.1559
Louis IV., the Stranger936 Charles IX.1560
Lothaire954 Henry III.1574
Louis V., le Fainéant986 Henry IV., the Great1589
Hugh Capet987 Louis XIII., the Just1610
Robert II., the Wise996 Louis XIV., le Grand1643
Henry I.1031 Louis XV.1715
Philip I., l'Amoureux1060 Louis XVI.1774
Louis VI., le Gros1108 Revolutionary Tribunal1793
Louis VII., le Jeune1137 Directory1795
Philip Augustus1180 Napoleon, Consul1799
Louis VIII., the Lion1223 Napoleon I., Emperor1804
Louis IX., the Saint1226 Louis XVIII.1814
Philip III., the Hardy1270 Charles X.1824
Philip IV., the Fair1285 Louis Philippe1830
Louis X., Hutin1314 Republic1848
John I.1316 Napoleon III., Emperor1852
Philip V.1316 Republic1870
Charles IV., le Bel1322 



Measurements of the Cathedrals at Amiens and Salisbury


 French feetEnglish feet
Length east to west415452
Length west door to choir220246
Length behind choir, including lady-chapel6365
Length transepts north to south182210
Width nave42.934.5
Width transept42.9
Width side aisles1817.5
Width windows4148
Width nave and side aisles78.9102
Width west front150115
Height vault, nave13284
Height vault, choir129
Height west towers210
Height chapels60
Height side aisles, nave60.8
Height side aisles, choir57.838
Distance between pillars16
Height grand arches7878
Number of pillars46
Number of chapels25
Length of choir130140

(The old French foot is the equal of 1.06576 English feet.)

The above comparative measurements are given as being of the contemporary types of English and French cathedrals, being nearly approximate to each other as to the date of their erection and measurements. The figures themselves are transcribed from a little-known but thoroughly conscientious work by G. D. Whittington, entitled "Contributions to an Ecclesiastical Survey of France."385


French Metres Reduced to English Feet

Metres English feet and
decimal parts
Metres English feet and
decimal parts
Metres English feet and
decimal parts



A Brief Glossary of architectural terms, with popular definitions, as applied to the components which compose the principal features of a cathedral church

No. 1. Ground Plan No. 2. Cross Section
ALady-chapelThe principal chapel, usually behind the high altar, at the extremity or eastern end of choir, dedicated to Our Lady (Notre Dame)
BTranseptThe middle portion of a church, which projects at right angles with the main body of nave and choir
C387PorchUsually the vestibule or receding doorway
DLantern or crossingWhere the transept crosses and joins choir and nave, usually with windows, if a lantern proper
EChoirThat portion of the edifice in which are stalls for the choristers, and chapter, also containing the Maître d'Autel
FAmbulatoryThe aisles or colonnade which surround the choir
GChapelsLiterally a small place of worship containing an altar. In a great church, which may contain several, they are usually dedicated to male and female saints
HNaveThe main body of a church, extending from the choir to the principal façade; i. e. that part between the outer aisles
IAislesThe lateral passage on either side of the nave and separated therefrom by piers or pillars
JPortalLiterally, the framework of a doorway
KAbsideThe domed easterly end of a church
LSacristyThe apartment in which is kept the church plate and vestments
No. 2. Cross Section No. 1. Ground Plan
A388Nave aisle vaultingThe arched roof of stone
BNave vaultingThe arched roof of stone
CFlying buttressA supporting outside prop of the thrust variety. Notably a distinguishing feature of mediæval Gothic architecture
DSide aisleThe passage which flanks the nave
EButtress pierThe outer support of a flying buttress
FPinnacleOn towers, buttress piers, gables, etc.
GGargoyleA projecting water-spout carved grotesquely
HNicheA recess in a wall, or surmounting a pier; primarily to hold a statue
No. 3 Interior No. 3 Interior
AClerestoryThe upper range of windows of the nave; rising above the adjoining portions
BTriforiumLiterally, a blind window--a range of openings, or possibly an arcade-effect only, coming below the clerestory and above the lower arches of the nave
C389Arch (between nave and aisle)Joining the piers or pillars which separate nave from aisles
DPillars (of nave)Commonly called pillars, columns, and piers, but more often are literally pillars, being made up of blocks of stone one upon another
EVaultingThe stone arched roof
FWest wallHere, in the true Gothic church, is usually found a rose window, though often obscured by the organ case
GArcaded galleryA feature frequently seen in the interior of great churches, as distinct from the triforium. Either decorative or of practical value
HPavementThe floor, always of stone, and often of marble or mosaic
No. 4. Cross Section No. 4. Cross Section
AFlying buttressesA thrust support, or prop, extending from the main fabric to an outer pier
BTimber roofThe timber or scantling above the nave, which supports the outer tiled or leaden roofing
C390NaveThe main body of a church
DAisleThe passage which flanks the nave
EOuter aisleA second or outer passage flanking the nave
FStairway to roof of aisleStairways from the interior pavement, leading to triforium, belfry, or roof
GCryptIn reality a lower or subterranean church or chapel; from crypta, to hide
HButtress pierThe outer support of a flying buttress, or one lying directly against the wall which it strengthens




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