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Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Bourges

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Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Bourges


Structure in General

existing [completed]
active heating (unspecified)


church (roman catholic)


  • The width of the nave including the side aisles is 41m.
  • In 1313 the southern tower needed to be supported after several severe fissures appeared in a supporting pillar.
  • During the religious wars, the city was taken by Protestant troops in 1562 and the cathedral was severely damaged.
  • After 1230 the works on the western façade were slowed down.
  • When the tower was consecrated on 13 May 1324, the northern tower was still not finished.
  • In 1992 the cathedral was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • The height under the vault of the nave is 37.15 m.
  • The second phase of construction started in 1225 and lasted until 1230, during which time the basic structure of the cathedral was finished.
  • This tower was replaced by the current one. This tower is sometimes called “la tour beurre” (the butter tower), since this tower was financed by the faithful during Lententide.
  • The current cathedral replaced a Romanesque cathedral built on the same spot during the 11th and 12th centuries.
  • In the 14th century a ‘false’ transept was built with a spire at the intersection with the nave. The spire lasted until the 18th century.
  • On top of the of the northern tower, a beautiful pelican is installed which surmounts the bell. It has been replaced by a copy of the original in 1995.
  • The widest point of the cathedral is the west façade. It is also the widest façade among all cathedrals in France.
  • The end of the 14th century saw the modification of the western façade by changing the position of the stained glass windows.
  • It takes exactly 396 steps to the top of the northern tower (Tour Beurre), the highest part of the cathedral.
  • Most of the choir was built during the first phase of construction which lasted until 1214.
  • By the end of the 15th century the northern tower was almost complete, but it collapsed.
  • The southern tower never housed any bells and is sometimes called “la tour sourde” which means “the deaf tower”.
  • In the 19th century a balustrade was placed around the roof and pinnacles were placed on the counterforts and lateral porches.

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Place Étienne Dolet

Technical Data

213.25 ft
393.70 ft
240.98 ft

Features & Amenities

  • One of the city's famous buildings
  • UNESCO landmark
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