One article I read yesterday says the cathedral in Blois, which was in great part rebuilt part during the reign of Louis XIV (his powerful minister Colbert's wife was from Blois), might have been named partly in the Sun King's honor. In the early years of the 18th century, Le Roi Soleil paid to have a magnificent pipe organ built inside the church, which had been promoted to cathedral rank by the Pope in 1697. It's also true that the king who turned Blois into a royal city at the end of the 15th century was called Louis XII.
The cathédrale Saint-Louis is mostly a late 17th century building. Why so late? Well, over the centuries there had been two or three chapels or churches on the site where the cathedral stands today, the earliest in the 6th century, and a second in the late 10th century. Another, a Romanesque edifice, was built on the site in the 12th century.
In the mid-16th century, king François Ier had the old Romanesque church re-built, or at least radically modified, in the Renaissance style. The older church building behind the re-styled and enlarged tower and façade was badly deteriorated and unstable, however. That explains why a big storm, called un ouragan (a hurricane) in many sources, destroyed much of that older building in 1678. All the old stained-glass windows were of course blown out.
The church was again rebuilt, this time in late Gothic style, over the last quarter of the 17th century. The Renaissance façade and bell tower had survived the storm, as had the base of the tower, which dates back to the 12th century. The crypt under the cathedral is a vestige of the 10th century church that has survived over the centuries.
Some restorations and modifications were carried out in the 19th century, but nothing very drastic. During World War II, most of the stained glass windows were again blown out when the Allies bombarded Blois, which was held by the Germans. Those windows were for years replaced by clear glass panels, but modern stained-glass windows designed by a Dutch artist were installed about 20 years ago.
After reading much information on several blogs and web sites (Ma Ville de Blois, for example) and in my much-consulted guidebooks (Cadogan, Michelin), I now want to go back to Blois and take some photos inside the cathedral. I've been inside before, but I've never taken pictures, as best I can remember.
It is an interesting building, even though not my favorite. I’m waiting for pictures of te interior.ReplyDelete
In the second photo, is the terrace next to the chateau
I'm asking about the terrace because I seem to recognize the Maison de la Magie.Delete
You are so right. I should have put a caption under that one.Delete
Talking about Maison de la Magie, I didn’t know Robert-Houdin was born in Blois. I just read the very interesting Wikipedia page about himDelete
You're hijacking my post again! The Maison de la Magie was not the subject. LOLDelete
I’m so sorry! I was rehearsing highjacking; wanted to be ready for my flight on Monday ;—)Delete
You know, don't you that the security people are seeing your messages. You may not be able to fly on a plane at all. I hope they don't close down the whole airport on Monday!Delete
Since I mispelled hijacking, they won't understand. I'm still hopeful.Delete
It is a bit of an odd conglomeration of designs, in the front. It's so interesting how these churches can develop over the centuries. I really look forward to interior photos, if you get a chance to get them!ReplyDelete
I probably won't get back to Blois before my trip to N.C., which is less than two weeks away. As for the front of the Blois cathedral, I read somewher that it might have been inspired by the cathedral in Tours (Saint-Gatien). Seems plausible.Delete
I quite like the renaissance portion of the church facade that remains. And of course I like the fantasmagorique quality of the buildings with all the mist. Interesting that Blois was under German occupation...sad that it was bombed. I can only wonder what some cities looked like before WWII.Delete
The two cities I've seen that were radically changed by the bombings during the war are Brest in Brittany and Le Havre in Normandy. Blois here and Saint-Malo in Brittany were rebuilt in the same style as before.Delete
Thanks for this interesting info Ken. Glad they rebuilt as it was.Delete