Saint-Étienne Cathedral in the centre of Toulouse was once built from two churches. It is particularly worth seeing for its original architecture and unusual proportions.
The Roman Catholic Saint-Étienne Cathedral was built over a period of 500 years and is now the seat of the archbishopric and the most important church in Toulouse. Once created from two churches, the asymmetrical-looking place of worship on the Place Saint-Étienne is particularly striking for its unusual architecture. We have put it on our list of the top 10 sights of Toulouse.
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PICTURES: Cathédrale Saint Étienne in Toulouse
Photo gallery: Cathédrale Saint-Ètienne in Toulouse
History of the Cathédrale Saint-Étienne
According to records, there was already a church on the site of today's cathedral near the Capitol in 844. Today's church with its monumental dimensions dates from the 13th century. Its somewhat inharmonious shape is due to the fact that two churches were originally joined into one for the cathedral.
Make 1 out of 2 - this also works for churches
From the first church, the almost 7m large rose window above the entrance portal, which was created in 1230, still remains today. Construction of the second church began in 1272 with a new building plan and a different angle.
In the course of this, the choir gallery, the so-called triforium, and the fantastic west façade in the Flamboyant style were created. The two buildings were connected for the first time in the 15th century. Further additions followed after a fire in 1609.
Unique interior of the Saint-Étienne Cathedral
Even in the interior, the once separate parts of the Cathédrale Saint-Étienne are still clearly visible, both through the different orientation of the axes and the two different Gothic styles.
Also striking is the unusually wide nave, for the church is almost as wide as it is high. Today, the dividing line between the two naves is marked by a thick column in the middle of the interior.
Worth a second look are the ornate walnut carvings that adorn the choir stalls (created by Pierre Levesville in the 17th century) and the 17m-high organ panelling.
Chapels of the Cathédrale Saint-Étienne
Of the now 17 chapels in the cathedral, the oldest dates from the late 13th century, but the majority were created a century later. The stained glass windows of the St. Vincent de Paul Chapel were also created in the 13th century and have historical value as the oldest stained glass in Toulouse.
Tip: Every weekend, a traditional market is held in the morning in the square in front of the cathedral. If you want to stock up on French cuisine specialities, this is the place to be!