© Cathedrale Saint Etienne Interieur Chalons | Jean-Côme Nicolle

Saint‑Etienne Cathedral

From Romanesque to Baroque

Saint-Etienne Cathedral is a testimony to an architectural evolution spanning five centuries, more precisely, from the 12th to the 17th century. The construction began in Romanesque style and continued through the Gothic and Baroque periods. Over the course of 700 years, its history has been marked by a series of extensions, renovations and reconstructions.

Stunning

architectural treasures

Step inside this magnificent illuminated cathedral with its three levels of windows (large arcades, triforium, high windows) and discover:

A beautiful story

700 years of transformation

In the 1200s, the cathedral stood in the heart of the canonical district, which occupied a quarter of the old Gallo-Roman city. It was a real city within a city, with a bishop’s palace, churches, canon houses, a library, a school, a prison, even a hospital, and all of which are no longer in existence.

From the original Romanesque construction in the 12th century, only the crypt and the base of the north transept tower (1) remain. Following a fire in 1138, the north transept (2) was rebuilt.

During the years that followed, the nave was reconstructed in a Gothic style and the south arm of the transept (3) was completed in 1215.

The main façade (6) was built between 1628 and 1634. Characteristic of Baroque architecture, the columns and pilasters, drapery and sculpted decorations contrast with the rest of the building.

In 1668, lightning struck the spire of the north tower. The damage meant that major reconstruction of the apse (7) was necessary and the transept towers were finished with stone spires.

During the French Revolution, many of the statues were destroyed. After being used as stables, the church was repaired throughout the 19th century. Hardly touched by the two World Wars, the cathedral was given a new lease of life in the 1980s when it underwent major restoration work, leading to its reopening in 2009.

Practical information

Visiting the cathedral

This 10-step tour allows you to discover all the main features in Saint-Etienne Cathedral. Simply download the IdVizi app to your mobile and select the “Saint-Etienne Cathedral” tour.

Self-guided tour

You can take an independent tour of Saint-Etienne Cathedral every day and admission is free.

Opening times:

  • 10am to 6pm from May to September
  • 10am to 4pm from October to April