Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption

The most famous treasure of Clermont-Ferrand is the great Gothic cathedral located in the heart of the old town. It is built entirely of black lava stone, which makes it highly distinctive. Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption is the largest cathedral constructed of the material.  Its elevated location in the center of the city and its two enormous twin spires allow it to be visible from great distances.

History in brief according to wikipedia.org:
In 1248 bishop Hugues de la Tour contracted Jean Deschamps with building a new cathedral. The choir, transept and beginning of the nave were finished in 1295. Pierre Deschamps took over for his father, and the raising of the towers of the transept arms was completed by an anonymous master from 1325 – 1340. Pierre de Cébazat continued building until the Hundred Years War. In 1884 the final parts were completed and the finishing touch of access steps on rue des Gras were built in the early 20th century. For a more complete history click here.

On Sunday Lauris and I ducked into the church to explore the inside, having passed by at least fifty times without finding the time to explore. The two rose windows were streaming sunlight, and a bit of restoration work on the south interior did not diminish the effect of the magnificent nave and transept. We wandered around looking for the staircase that I had heard leads to the top of one of the towers. I thought that I had found the door, but luckily the guardian of the church approached us at that point (I must have looked lost, as well as being lost!) and after paying a small fee the door was unlocked and we started up the spiral staircase.

After a long climb up we emerged on a small rooftop. The view of Clermont-Ferrand was magnificent, and although the volcanoes were slightly obscured by clouds and fog, Puy de Dome still took my breath away - or maybe it was the view combined with carrying Lauris up over a hundred stairs. After some reflection and a few photos, we heard thunder rumbling in the distance and took that as our invitation to descend, taking one last walk around the nave to see the organ on the west end. As we walked home, I kept looking back to catch glimpses of the giant spires standing guard over Clermont-Ferrand.
Puy de Dome off to the west

1 comment:

  1. Ir grūti iedomāties, ka gāja tik ilgi uzbūvēt katedrāli - šinīs dienās viss tik ātri notiek...skats pāri Cermont-Ferrand atgādina skatu no Notre Dame. Vecās baznīcas tiešām stāv kā sargi - vero visus cilvēku darbiņus un nedarbiņus!


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