France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   Cath├ędrale Notre-Dame d'Amiens, France
This huge Gothic structure is a major landmark in Amiens.

  Amiens cathedral, France
Above, A last blast of sun lights
up the cathedral.

Below, Memorial to the US
6th Engineers.

American memorial, Amiens



 

   

 

The Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Amiens is the largest Gothic structure in France. While there can be many different ways of measuring "largest," it does qualify on a number of measures. It covers a surface area of 7,700 square meters, about 83,000 square feet. The web site points out that this compares to 4,800 square meters (about 52,000 square feet) for Notre-Dame de Paris.

When you enter the cathedral you immediately notice how long and high it is. At 145 meters (476 feet) long, 70 meters (230 feet) wide, and 42.3 meters (139 feet) high, it is a huge structure.

And beyond the dimensions, it is beautiful! The three sculpted doors, adorned with statues of various saints, focus on Saint Firmin, God, and the Mother of God. The rose window on this facade dates from the 15th century. While at times the cathedral stone appears to be grey, the doors and rose window on the western facade can be bathed in glory by the late afternoon sun.

Amiens cathedral, France
The west facade of Amiens Cathedral in the soft late afternoon light.

The interior contains a large maze and two bronze recumbent figures of 13th century bishops who are buried in the cathedral. In addition, there is a beautiful wooden painted high relief sculpture showing the story of St-Jacques-Le-Majeur, which dates from 1511. High reliefs of Saint Firmin and Saint John the Baptist, also from the 16th century, further adorn the walls. The cathedral also has a head reliquary of Saint John the Baptist.

The wooden choir contains 110 wooden stalls from the 16th century, adorned with sculptures and carvings made by Amiens cabinet makers and carvers.

The rich decor continues throughout the cathedral, with thousands of intricate carvings and sculptures. The great organ is on the original flamoyant style loft.

Perhaps equally moving, among all the saints, historic figures, and other works or art, are the several plaques in memory of the soldiers who fought for the liberation of Amiens in World War I. Memorials to the Americans, British, Canadians, Australians, and others are a somber reminder of the impact of World War I on Amiens and this entire region.

The Tourist Information Office (just next to the cathedral) offers guided tours, audioguides, and brochures. The National Monuments Centre offers tours of the towers most days.

During the summer months (mid June to mid September) and in December, the cathedral offers a polychrome light show, illustrating how the west facade might have looked in the Middle Ages, when it was painted in bright colors. Commentary is given in both French and English, and the show is free.

And if you still want more cathedral, take a look in the souvenir shop across the parvis, where they have a large model of the cathedral...in chocolate!


About Amiens

Amiens Hotels

What to See & Do in Amiens

Amiens Tourist Information

World War I Sites

Amiens Restaurants

Amiens Transportation

About the Northern Region

 

 

  Amiens cathedral, France

Above, High relief of the story of St-Jacques-le-Majeur, dating from the 16th century.

Below, An unusual view of the cathedral, from our hotel room, showing the long-term restoration work that is a constant challenge. Note how white the stone looks in that light.


Amiens Cathedral, France

 

 

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