A little history of Saint-Etienne cathedral in Bourges

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The cathedral - ©Renaud MAVRÉ / Public domain The cathedral - ©Renaud MAVRÉ / Public domain
Saint-Etienne cathedral in Bourges Cathedral

This cathedral is a little Gothic jewel! Saint Ursin, first bishop of Bourges, founded the former church. Roman senator Leocade gave him some plot of land near city's walls in order to raise an oratory, in 251.

Dedicated to saint Etienne ("Stephen") (Ursin brought the saint's relics in Bourges), the former church was demolished in the 4th century. Saint Palais, 9th bishop, rebuilt it. It was finished in 380. Saint Grégoire de Tours himself spoke highly of it.

In the 9th century, bishop Rodolphe de Turenne entirely rebuilt the cathedral. But the building work lasted too long, it was only dedicated in 1324. The main portal was finished in 1390, thanks to duke of Berry's donation...

The current cathedral dates back to the 13th century, completed by an architect called Master of Bourges. Before that, there was a Romanesque church raised in the 11th century, demolished in 1193 by a fire, rebuilt in 1195 by Henri de Sully.

Inside, there are 183 stained-glass windows from the 13th century. The two towers which flanked the front are called Deaf tower (because no bells are in it) and Butter's tower (re-raised in 1506 after it collapsed).

Did you notice? In our cathedral, no transept! 5 portals lead to 5 naves flanked by a double ambulatory.


And also!