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What a queen of France wanted to do with Auch stained-glass windows

Renaissance stained-glass, Auch | Vassil / Public domain
Cathedral Maria de Medici Sainte-Marie cathedral in Auch

We are now in city of Auch, in Gers departement, in order to see the Gothic cathedral. Christianism came here in the 2th century. An episcopal see existed since a long time. Saint Taurin founded a little oratory, rebuilt by Taurin II in 845 after the Saracens and the Goths' plunderings.

In 1048, the little church was extended. But a few years after the consecration, in 1181, count of Armagnac Bernard IV burnt our cathedral and city of Auch. Pope Innocent IV's nephew, Arnaud d'Albert, rebuilt it in 1371.

Unfortunately, building works dragged on and a fire demolished the church. In 1548, the new cathedral was consecrated, then the choir was finished in 1597.

Sainte-Marie was built in sandstone, with a Latin cross form, with three naves flanked by a semi-circular apse. During the French Revolution, our cathedral was abandoned. Archbishop François II de Clermont's blazon, which decorated the southern door, was hammered...

But wait! Did you see that? Those gorgeous Renaissance stained-glass! Maybe the most beautiful in France! They were designed between 1507 and 1513 by glass-maker Arnaud de Moles...

Marie of Medici, when she came in Auch, was seduced by their beauty. She ordered to take them down to put them in Paris! Fortunately, things came to an abrupt end...

Wait! Come here! Here is the huge altar, a master-piece by Pierre Souffron. There, you can see wooden stalls, which looks like stalls in Amiens cathedral. The church of Sainte-Marie was listed as UNESCO world heritage in 1998.

About the the author

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