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A little history of Saint-Pierre cathedral in Beauvais

The cathedral | amendes / CC-BY-SA
Cathedral Saint-Pierre cathedral in Beauvais

Beauvais city has got the highest Gothic choir in the world (48 metres)! Other characteristic, the nave wasn't finished.

Saint Lucien was the founder of the former church in the 3th century. There were two part: the former oratory and the Gothic cathedral, the current one. The oratory used to be the main church until the end of 10th century. Second cathedral's basis were put up by the 40th bishop of Beauvais, Hervé: a fire destroyed it in 1180 and in 1225.

They decided to rebuild it. Our cathedral is bigger than Amiens' one, which was built few years earlier!

In 1272, vaults were raised. A little bit faster? In 1284, they collapsed! They decided to put up intermediate pillars between those which fell down. Restoration works lasted 40 years, suspended by the Hundred Years War, took up again in 1500: architect Martin de Chambiges laid down the first stone of the cathedral.

But they could not afford it... No problem: king of France François I gave money from Bordeaux's salt taxes. Well, it was tit for tat, Saint-Pierre chapter gave money for the king's ransom when he was in jail in Spain...

Jean Waast and François Maréchal continued the building works. The legend says they were jealous of Michelangelo who had built Saint-Peter's dome, in Rome. So the two men raised a kind of pyramid, 50 metres high, in middle of the intersecting ribs!

Finished in 1568, it collapsed 5 years later... They reinforced our cathedral's foundations in the 20th century, because there's no nave supporting the church on the western side: Saint-Pierre is very fragile.

About the the author

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