The city’s motto used to be les ténèbres ne m’ont pas envahi, “darkness didn’t swallow me”, because of the Protestantism who conquered all the area: Mende became a small Catholic bastion in middle of the Protestant sea… In 1452, the construction of the cathedral started again... soon ruined by Protestants and their leader Mathieu Merle in 1580
By that time, I must admit city of Mende was many times besieged and plundered by Catholics and Protestants! Merle… the scariest Protestant leader of his time: bloodthirsty, violent, bestial. He wanted to besiege this bloody city of Mende! You know what? He literally blew the cathedral, only left after that the two bell-tower and the lateral walls…
On a clear but icy night of Christmas in 1579, the captain Merle and his men swooped down on the city while inhabitants (including the guards) were attending the Mass in the cathedral. 300 people died that night, most of them in the cathedral (those who couldn’t escape). Even a man called Louis de Boisverdun, the city bailiff died foolishly: he was about to kill Merle, but his shoe get stuck in a grate on the ground. Several Protestants saw him and murdered him.
The slaughter lasted one long week: inhabitants had their ears cut, their face mutilated, their private parts cut and finally some were buried alive in holes they dug themselves… So, here we go again: from 1600 to 1620, the edifice was put up again. Its two bell-towers, which one of them measure 85 high metres, date back from the beginning of 16th century.