The Cathedral of Notre-Dame d’Amiens
A MASTERPIECE OF FRENCH GOTHIC ART LISTED AS A WORLD HERITAGE SITE, AMIENS CATHEDRAL IS AN UNMISSABLE MONUMENT IN THE CAPITAL OF PICARDY. DISCOVER THIS GREAT LADY AND HER EIGHT HUNDRED YEARS OF HISTORY.
The largest Gothic cathedral in the world
Of gigantic proportions, a 112-metre-high spire, sumptuous sculpted portals, black and white marble paving that leads to the labyrinth... :
Notre-Dame d'Amiens can only dazzle the visitor!
Considered a masterpiece of Gothic art, Notre-Dame d'Amiens is the largest mediaeval cathedral in the world, with an interior volume of nearly 200,000 m3, which is double that of Notre-Dame in Paris. It also has the highest nave, with a vault height of 42 metres!
Doubly listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Notre-Dame d'Amiens celebrated its 800th anniversary in 2020.
The first stones were laid in 1220, at a time of great prosperity. Three successive contractors carried out the work. In a break with tradition, the architects started by building the facade and the nave. The construction was fairly rapid since most of it was completed at the end of the 13th century: this gives Notre-Dame d'Amiens an architectural unity that many of its rivals can envy.
The masterpieces of Notre-Dame d'Amiens
Notre-Dame d'Amiens has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981, for its architecture and furnishings. At the entrance, each of the three portals bears the name of the main character sculpted on the pier: on the left, Saint Fermin, in the centre, the Beau Dieu figure of Christ and, on the right, the Mother of God. The upper level features a large western rose window, 13 metres in diameter, which matches the width of the nave.
Inside are 13th century bronze recumbent figures. They represent the two bishops of Amiens buried in the cathedral: Évrard de Fouilloy who ordered the construction of the Gothic building, and Geoffroy d'Eu, his successor.
The labyrinth, 234 meters long, served as an initiatory course for the faithful who walked on the black strip. We find the names of the builders on the central stone, the installation of which, in 1288, marks completion of the work. The original is kept in the Museum of Picardy.
The high relief of Saint Fermin, the relic of Saint John the Baptist, the 110 carved wooden stalls, the Weeping Angel and the Golden Virgin are among the main masterpieces of Amiens cathedral.
The Chroma show or the cathedral in colours
Visit Amiens Cathedral
While most of the site remains freely accessible (except during religious ceremonies and events), visitors can also access the towers and the treasure room accompanied by a guide from the National Monuments Centre. Throughout the year, the Amiens Tourist Office also offers a guided tour of the cathedral led by a tour guide or with provision of an audio guide.
Accessing the towers promises a beautiful view of the city of Amiens, from the only mediaeval spire still in place on a cathedral. When Viollet-le-Duc carried out the 19th century restorations, he worked mainly on the turrets housing the stairs, on the balustrades at the top of the towers, on the gargoyles, and on the gallery housing the belles, located above the rose window.
Reconstructed over the years, Amiens Cathedral’s treasury has many relics. The Paraclete's votive crown, made of gold and silver, fine pearls, and enamels and crystal, remains the most precious item.
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