Photographer's Note

Basilique de St Nazaire

Some informations, from internet, about this wonderful place:
The first church has been built in the 6th century, under the reign of Theodoric, regent of Wisigoths' kingdom. The first documented act dates from 925 and relates the decision made by the bishop, Gimer, to transfer the episcopal see from St. Mary and Saviour church to St. Nazaire and St. Celse church located inside the walls of the city.
The original church was replaced by a Romanesque building in the 12th century. Pope Urbain II, on his way back from preaching the Holy Crusades in Clermont, in Auvergne, stopped in Carcassonne, on June 11 1096, to bless the materials to be used in the construction of the new church. The building had a nave and two aisles, three apsidal chapels and a projected transept. The Romanesque nave, built between 1095 and 1150, showed a layout frequently used in churches in Lower Languedoc. The central barrel vault had double archways while the very narrow aisles had a groined vault that buttressed the central vault. The alternate use of round and square pillars is worthy of notice. The square ones have, on all four daces, cylindrical colonnettes topped by different styled chapters. The round one are not decorated and raise up to the archways that divide the nave from the aisles, while the square raise up only to the vault's cornice.
This nice Romanesque church no longer exists except in the nave. Its original magnificence last until Carcassonne lost its independence. When the North won over the South and the King of France became also the King of Carcassonne, even the church, within its walls, felt the aftereffect of this political change.
Documents show that in 1269, the King of France, St. Louis, gave land in order to repair or more cetainly to build the chevet. This time, an architect from the North was appointed to supervise the project intended to replace the Romanesque church by a Gothic church, larger and... necessarily nicer!
Large portions of the Romanesque church was destroyed. It was to be completely replaced but, due to lack of funds, the nave was not rebuilt. The junction of the both sections of different styles was left to be done: a Romanesque six-bay nave adequate for a small sized church and a Gothic chancel, built between 1269 and 1330, with stained glass windows executed between 1300 and 1334, designed for a larger building. The transept is 118 feet (36 m) wide and each arm is formed with three rectangular bays and the east arm ends with three chapels with flat chevets. This junction was masterly executed, it is not just a mere juxtaposition but a careful blend of contrasts. The result is a perfect masterpiece of elegance and splendour.
All along the 17th century, the cathedral is refurbished many times. Bishop Louis-Joseph de Grignan, influenced by the Italian style, lays out a Roman chancel complete with a marble altar surrounded with wrought iron gates carrying his coat of arms.

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