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Cathedral of St Etienne


The cathedral and cloister can be visited every day from 9am to 19pm.

The foundation of the Cathedral of St Etienne in the heart of the city is traditionally attributed to the 7th century bishop, St. Didier. The vast building underwent reconstruction from the early 12th century: the altar was consecrated in 1119 by the Pope, together with a special altar dedicated to the precious relic of the Holy Cap of Christ.

The Roman portal with its remarkably carved tympanum is contemporary with those of Saint-Cernin de Toulouse, Conques and Moissac. The nave is covered by two domes, the largest found in the south-west. From the late 13th century the apse and the west front completed the building in the Gothic style, which came to the South with the Crusades against the Cathars. The interior was originally complemented by painted decoration, of which many vestiges of the late 13th century remain in the west dome and the western massif. The Romanesque cloister was replaced in the 16th century by a new cloister in the Gothic style, abounding with brassica leaves and thistles.


The decoration and interior design were changed in the 17th and 18th centuries with the Counter-Reformation - the baroque altarpiece, the chapel organ, the tribune of the canons and the pulpit are the highlights.

In the 19th century the domes were cleared of plasterwork which obscured them from the outside while the choir was subject to a complete refurbishment in 1870 under the auspices of Bishop Grimardias.

A way-point on the Via Podiensis, the road from Le Puy to Santiago de Compostela, the Cathedral of St Etienne is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site as part of the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage.

Grands sites Midi-Pyrénées
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