Discover the 10 Most Beautiful Cathedrals in France

Cathedrals are buildings reserved for worship and were originally the seats of bishops of the Church. Rather numerous in France, their construction took several hundred years for each of them! Majestic, the cathedrals are true architectural jewels and important testimonies of past centuries. Thus, they add more richness to the French cultural and historical heritage. This top 10 will allow you to discover the 10 most beautiful French cathedrals! 

Summary

  • 1. Strasbourg Cathedral
  • 2. The Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres
  • 3. Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris
  • 4. Notre-Dame de Laon Cathedral
  • 5. St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral
  • 6. Sainte-Cécile Cathedral in Albi
  • 7. Saint-Etienne Cathedral in Bourges
  • 8. The Major of Marseilles
  • 9. Notre-Dame d’Amiens Cathedral
  • 10. Saint-Pierre Cathedral in Beauvais

1. Strasbourg Cathedral

142 meters high, it was for a long time the tallest building in the world! Moreover, it exceeds by a few meters the famous pyramids of Egypt. Its Gothic style is immortalized in pink sandstone from the Vosges, a material that gives it a unique color. Accumulating 4 million visitors each year, Strasbourg Cathedral houses within it an astronomical clock dating from the Renaissance . All these reasons make it one of the most unmissable cathedrals in France!

cathedrale strasbourg france cathedrales
Credits: Pxhere

To registerThe city of Strasbourg in Alsace: prepare your tourist visit.alsace-passion.comThe Astronomical Clock of Strasbourg Cathedral

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2. The Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres

This gothic building is beautiful on the outside, but it is even more so once you enter. A labyrinth is drawn on the ground, probably inspired by the one imagined by Daedalus to enclose the Minotaur in Greek legends. In addition, Chartres Cathedral is bathed in multicolored light thanks to its 2,500 square meters of stained glass! It is the largest collection of stained glass windows dating from the 12th century in the world.

notre dame de chartres france cathedrals
Credits: Olvr/Wikimedia Commons

To registerThe main architectural styles of Catholic churchesHorse Magazine / MonChval Mag: Much more than a magazine about horses and riding!Stained glass windows in Chartres Cathedral

3. Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

It alone constitutes the most visited monument in Europe. Its Gothic architecture dates just from the end of the Romanesque era, making it a building with visionary attractions. Notre-Dame de Paris is of course the muse of many artists, such as Victor Hugo who dedicated his famous novel relating the story of Quasimodo to it. Unfortunately ravaged by flames in April 2019, this cathedral is subject to several renovation projects.

notre dame de paris france cathedrals
Credit: iankelsall1/Pixabay

4. Notre-Dame de Laon Cathedral

It is one of the first Gothic cathedrals in the country. Its originality is based on its impressive symmetry, which can be seen in particular thanks to the two square towers which overlook the landscape. On the facade, one can observe the sculptures of 16 oxen, those who helped the builders to bring the stones and the beams to the place of foundation.

notre dame de laon france cathedrals
Credits: Daniel Jolivet/Flickr

5. St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral

A wind from Russia is blowing in the heart of the city of Nice. If the majority of cathedrals in France have a Gothic type architecture, some stand out. This sublime cathedral dates from 1912, which makes it a recent building. At this time, the growing number of Russian Orthodox practitioners in Nice decided on its construction. Thus, St. Nicholas Cathedral is a very important Russian Orthodox place of worship outside of Russia.

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Discover the 10 Most Beautiful Cathedrals in France
Credits: cremona daniel/Flickr

6. Sainte-Cécile Cathedral in Albi

Located in Occitania, in the mythical city of Albi, this cathedral is distinguished by its red brick and its southern Gothic style, an architectural movement specific to the South of France. Many Renaissance painters contributed to adorning its interior with magnificent frescoes. Each wall or vault is covered with religious scenes and figures, that is, there are more than 18,000 square meters of painted material. Like what, France has cathedrals in various architectural styles!

sainte cecile albi france cathedrals
Credits: @lain G/Flickr

To registerSainte-Cécile Cathedralalbi-tourisme.frAlbi Cathedral (Cathedrale Sainte-Cécile d’Albi) Place Sainte-Cecile, Albi, France

7. Saint-Etienne Cathedral in Bourges

Its charm is mainly based on its asymmetry and its disconcerting interior perspective. Its attractive colors make it less austere than its counterparts scattered throughout France. One of its towers is said to be “deaf”. Indeed, it does not contain a bell.

cathedral bourges france cathedrals
Credits: Daniel Jolivet/Flickr

8. The Major of Marseilles

From its full name Sainte-Marie-Majeure de Marseille, this cathedral dates from the 19th century. It would be Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte who would have laid the first stone for its construction. Its unique architectural style comes from neo-Byzantine inspiration. Every year, on August 15, you can attend the Procession of the Madonna. During the latter, porters take out the splendid golden Virgin of the cathedral.

la major france cathedrals
Credits: DEZALB/Pixabay

9. Notre-Dame d’Amiens Cathedral

It is the largest cathedral in France, famous for the Gothic sculptures that adorn its facade. The majority of its stained glass windows have disappeared, but other things remain to be admired. For example, the stalls constituting masterpieces of woodcarving. Amiens Cathedral has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981.

loving the cathedrals of France
Credits: DECARPENTRIE/Pixabay

10. Saint-Pierre Cathedral in Beauvais

It represents the will of the builders to always want to do bigger and higher. Its choir rises to 48.50 meters in height. Unfortunately, its gigantic structure makes it very fragile. The collapse of the spire in 1573 made it impossible to build a nave. Inside, organs, stained glass windows and an astronomical clock are worth seeing.

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saint pierre de beauvais france cathedrals
Credits : Syl de Isa/Wikimedia Commons

Of course, France has many cathedrals. They are all as beautiful as each other, but those listed here will certainly leave you with an unforgettable memory!

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Mohamed SAKHRI

I am Mohamed SAKHRI, the creator and editor-in-chief of this blog, 'Discover the World – The Blog for Curious Travelers.' Join me as we embark on a journey around the world, uncovering beautiful places, diverse cultures, and captivating stories. Additionally, we will delve into mysterious and, at times, even bizarre destinations.

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