Visit one of the seven cathedrals of Picardy, the Saint-Gervais Saint-Protais cathedral in Soissons, a jewel of the Gothic style
There are no hours in this cathedral, there is eternity.
Auguste Rodin, The Cathedrals of France, 1914
A bit of history!
Initiated by Bishop Nivelon de Quierzy (1176-1207), the construction of the Saint-Gervais Saint-Protais Cathedral in Soissons began with the south arm of the transept.
His hemicycle plan sublimates the subtle play of light dispensed by the four levels of the elevation. The Saint-Gervais Saint-Protais cathedral allows us to appreciate two periods of Gothic art: the first Gothic art with the south arm of the transept, and the classical Gothic, contemporary with the cathedral of Chartres, for the choir and the nave.
The destruction of the First World War led to a complete restoration in the spirit of the medieval cathedral.
The building houses within it several exceptional paintings among which “The Adoration of the Shepherds” by the master of Flemish painting, Rubens.
For the record …
In the 19th century, atop the bell tower, watchmen kept watch over the city to ensure harmony and quietude in the city. One of them, named Monsieur Le Paon, grew beans there and distributed his harvest to tourists who came to see him. He would be at the origin of the famous “Haricot de Soissons” and the confectionery of the same name!
From the forecourt, you will be able to admire the façade marked by the vagaries of history, especially with the north tower that was never built! The Cathedral of Saint-Gervais Saint-Protais, an emblematic monument of Soissons, will seduce you with its remarkable architecture and its dizzying tower!
With a height of more than 30 meters, the nave is yours to explore! Stroll up to the choir of over 800 years! Light games, architectural feat, observe this jewel that never ceases to amaze!”
Don’t miss the south arm of the transept which is the oldest part of the building, current witness of the first Gothic works. As for the north arm of the Transept, it houses a treasure: the “Adoration of the Shepherds” by Peter-Paul Rubens, dated 1620s.
Every year are organized guided tours and climbs to the tower, an original way to discover the city with a 360° panoramic view!
Enter this jewel box full of history! The play of lights that illuminate the building and the precious objects will transport you into an enchanting universe. In this atmosphere still seem to resonate sounds of music from yesterday and today.
Once on the road to the coronation of the kings of France, then confronted with the conflicts of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, this cathedral retains traces of its rich and eventful history while remaining well anchored in the present.
The bravest among you will not hesitate to take advantage of the guided tours that will lead them to the top of the cathedral tower. Once the 350 steps are climbed, a breathtaking view of Soissons and its surroundings will be offered to you.
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