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A little history of Saint-Julien cathedral in Le Mans

The cathedral | Selbymay / CC-BY-SA
Cathedral Saint-Julien cathedral in Le Mans

Once upon a time saint Julien, first bishop who preached to inhabitants of Sarthe departement... He came in Le Mans, and the legend says he founded a basilica...

In fact, the former cathedral was built in the 6th century on the foundations of an antic temple, next to the Gallo-Roman walls. Saint Victeur and his successor saint Innocent extended this church.

Then... it fell into ruins three centuries later. In the reign of Charlemagne, bishop Francon then saint Aldric entirely rebuilt it.

Then it was destroyed by Normans when they invaded the area. In peacetime, Vulgrin, an old abbot but also a great architect (he raised Saint-Serge church in Angers) re-raised the cathedral in 1060. In 1082, the two towers and the transept were finished. Finally!

They brought saint Julien's relics into the church: it was dedicated in 1158. King Philip Augustus allowed bishop Hamelin to demolish a part of the Gallo-Roman walls in 1217, in order to extend the new choir, the current one.

The oldest part of our cathedral dates back to the 11th century, the nave to the end of the 12th century, the choir to the 13th century, transepts to the 15th century.

Here, you can see count of Anjou Charles IV's grave, but also Guillaume du Bellay's one or queen Berangaria's one, Richard Lionheart's wife, who died in l'Epau abbey.

About the the author

I'm fond of strolls and History, with juicy and spicy details!