Saint-André Cathedral in Bordeaux, France

Saint-André Cathedral is the largest cathedral in Bordeaux and one of the largest cathedrals in France. Already the scene of royal weddings, the cathedral still impresses today with its monumental appearance.

Saint André Cathedral is one of our top 10 sights in Bordeaux and has been listed as a Monument historique since 1862. In 1998, it was also declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the Way of St James in France. We have included it in our list of the 10 most beautiful churches in France.


PICTURES: Saint André Cathedral in Bordeaux

Photo gallery: Saint-André Cathedral in Bordeaux

Special features of Saint-André Cathedral

At 124 metres long, 18 metres wide and 29 metres high, Saint-André Cathedral holds the title of the largest church in Bordeaux, France - © Lagui / Shutterstock
© Lagui / Shutterstock
  • At 124 metres long, 18 metres wide and 29 metres high, Saint-André Cathedral holds the title of the largest church in Bordeaux and is also one of the largest sacred buildings in the whole of France.
  • The impressive church is the seat of the bishopric and the most important cathedral in the city.
  • It is remarkable that the entire cathedral, despite its considerable size, consists of only one nave.
  • The oldest parts of the cathedral include the Romanesque outer walls and the Gothic Port Royal on the north side, which dates back to 1250. The Royal Portal depicts the Last Judgement and sculptures of Bordeaux's archbishops.
  • The second portal and main entrance on the north side of the church is the Portail des Flèches, dating from 1330, flanked by two 81m-high spires and decorated with an image of the Assumption of Christ.

Origin of the Saint-André Cathedral

Despite its considerable size, Saint-André Cathedral in Bordeaux consists of only one nave, France - © Anibal Trejo / Shutterstock
© Anibal Trejo / Shutterstock

The impressive cathedral is almost a thousand years old. It was built from the late 12th century to the 15th century and was therefore still partly built in the Romanesque style before the Gothic style became modern. Its first consecration by Pope Urban II dates back to 1096.

Tour Pey Berland

From 1440 to 1466, Saint-André Cathedral in Bordeaux, France, was extended to include the freestanding "Tour Pey-Berland" bell tower - © mbonaparte / Shutterstock
© mbonaparte / Shutterstock

From 1440 to 1466, a free-standing bell tower was added to the Saint-André Cathedral. Like the bell tower of the Saint-Michel Basilica, it was named after Archbishop Pey-Berland, but with a height of 50 metres it cannot compete with the 114-metre-high tower of the Basilica. Even the statue of the Virgin Mary "Nôtre-Dame d'Aquitaine", which was added to the top of the tower in 1863, did not change this.

Royal weddings at Saint-André Cathedral

In 1137, Louis VII, King of France, and Eleanor of Aquitaine, mother of Richard the Lionheart, were married in the Cathedral of Saint-André in Bordeaux - © mbonaparte / Shutterstock
© mbonaparte / Shutterstock

Saint André Cathedral gained a royal flair through two historically significant royal weddings. In 1137, Louis VII and Eleanor of Aquitaine, the mother of Richard the Lionheart, were married here, and in 1615 Louis XIII and Anne of Austria.

The cathedral was treated less royally during the French Revolution. At that time, its interior was completely destroyed and the proud building was used as a hay and straw store. The ornately decorated south portal of the cathedral was also partially damaged beyond repair.