Angoulême Cathedral

Angoulême Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-Pierre d’Angoulême) is a religious building of Angoulême, Charente, France, an example of Romanesque architecture and sculpture in France. It is the seat of the Bishop of Angoulême.

A first cathedral was built on the site a primitive, pre-Christian sanctuary, in the 4th century AD. The edifice was destroyed when the town was taken by Clovis after the Battle of Vouillé (507). Another cathedral was consecrated in 560, but this was also set on fire by the Vikings/Normans some two centuries later. A third cathedral was then constructed under bishop Grimoard, abbot of Saint-Pierre de Brantôme. The new church was consecrated in 1017. However, at the beginning of the 12th century the citizens started to consider it too small for to the wealth of the county. The designer was bishop Gerard II, one of the most important French figures of the time, who was a professor, Papal legate for four popes and also a notable artist. Works began about 1110 and finished in 1128. The church’s original appearance was modified in the following centuries. One of the bell towers, for example, was destroyed during the Wars of Religion of the 16th century. Further alterations were made during the restorations by Paul Abadie in 1866-1885, including the addition of the two towers with conical tops, but the façade remains mostly medieval.

The façade is decorated by more than 70 sculptures, organized into two decorative themes, the Ascension and the Last Judgement, which are cleverly intermingled. Christ is portrayed within mandorlas, while two tall angels address the apostles to show them the celestial vision. All their faces, as well as those of the other faithful under the arches, look toward the Redeemer; vice versa, the damned, pushed back in the side arches and turned into Satan’s victims, suffer their punishment. Apart from these two main subjects, the sculptors portrayed scenes of everyday life, such as hunting, not avoiding to underline hardships and painstaking labour. The interior of the nave is covered with three domes, a transept of great length with lofty towers over the north and south ends, and an apsidal choir with four chevet chapels. At the crossing with the transept, is a larger dome over pendentives, which has replaced the original one destroyed in the Protestant siege of 1568. Once lighted by two lantern towers, the transept has maintained only the northern one (Abadie also modified it, and moved the medieval sculptures to other locations), characterized by several orders of mullioned windows. The semicircular choir is flanked by small apses and covered by a half dome.

You may also be Interestd in

Discover a wealth of information on travelling by Motorhome, Caravan or Boat when planning your holiday or trip of a lifetime

Motorhome Guide

Discover the best places to travel in your Motorhome

Find locations to travel in your motorhome as well as all other Motorhome related informtion

Browse Here

Caravan Guide

Discover the best places to travel in your Caravan

Find many locations to travel in your Caravan as well as all other Caravan related informtion here

Browse Here

Baoting Guide

Discover the best places to travel in your Caravan

Find Information on buying boats, taking care of your boat and all boating related information

Browse Here

Discover More

Amazing Destinations

Discover other amazing places to visit from all around the world. Why not create a bucket list and cross them off as you visit. Which of these would be on your list?

Discover More

Promoted Adverts

Which ever way you wish to travel, do it with style!