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cathedral plans,
and facts

Rouen Cathedral, façade - image credit: Juliana Cheney Edwards Collection, courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

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Agde
Amiens
Angers
Arras
Bayeux
Bazas
Beauvais
Besançon
Bourges
Chartres
Clermont-Ferrand
Coutances
Evreux
Laon
Lausanne
Le Mans
Lisieux
Lyon
Metz
Nevers
Noyon
Paris
Poitiers
Reims
Rouen
Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges
Saint-Quentin
Saint-Sever
Sees
Senlis
Soissons
Toul
Troyes
Verdun

Tour de France 2017

New translation, the Magna Carta

This is a reference page, collating not just the plans of significant cathedrals, but also essential construction data.

You can make further comparisons, including of size and layout, by clicking on a blue-edged cathedral plan. This takes you to a larger version, and much more information about that cathedral.

Notice that several of the cathedrals still have west fronts predating the Gothic age. Usually these churches have both a Romanesque (rounded arches) west front, with much more ambitious Gothic projects as you move east along the building. For reasons like this, it is not always the west door that is used as the main entrance to a cathedral, as in double apsed cathedrals like Nevers.

Several of the cathedrals are still rather crowded by local buildings, and I have yet to visit them with my space-age camera.

cathedral orientation

It is convention to refer to the apse end of cathedrals as the east, and the other three points as west, south and north. It is also common to refer the the ‘east’ end of the cathedral as being oriented towards Jerusalem.

In fact, many of the cathedrals were built on sites which were long the place of previous cathedrals. These had often been burnt or otherwise damaged, or overtaken by changing fashions and growing congregations. And going beyond that into the past, they were sites of Roman and pagan temples.

The demands of site and geography could also be a consideration. Thus, if you check, you will often find that cathedrals are not reliably oriented east-west, but are quite variable. The magnetic compass was only being introduced in Europe in the late 12th century, by which time the sites of most cathedrals were well established. So maybe the cathedral builders had used the North Star.

However, the convention remains. The main altar and apse are at the ‘eastern’ end, the prime public entrance is at the ‘west’, with side entrance at ‘north’ and ‘south’.


Plan of Agde cathedral

Cathédrale Saint-Étienne d'Agde

This plan shows the Roman cloisters prior to their destruction in 1857.

Agde

Agde coat of arms

approximate population : 24, 600
average altitude: 7 m

 

 

cathedral dimensions
   • length : 30.5 m
   • width : 15 m
   • bell tower : 35 m
   • wall thickness : 2-3 m


West side of Agde cathedral, facing the River Hérault
West side of Agde cathedral, facing the River Hérault


Angers cathedral, floor plan

Cathédrale Saint-Maurice d'Angers

cathedral dimensions
• total length : 90.47 m
• nave length : 48 m
• nave width : 16.38 m
• nave height : 24.68 m

Angers

Angers coat of arms

approximate population : 152,500
average altitude: 25 m

 


West facade of St Maurice's cathedral, Angers
West facade of St Maurice's cathedral, Angers


plan of the gothic cathedral of Arras, drawn by Traxier

Cathédrale de Notre-Dame d'Arras
[this building was destroyed during the French Revolution]

cathedral dimensions
• length of nave and choir together : 92 m / 302 ft
• width of nave : 13 m / 49 ft
• height of nave : 20 m / 66.5 ft
• height of tower : 47 m / 154 ft

Arras

 

Arras coat of arms

approximate population : 47,052
average altitude : 72 m


West front of the cathedral at Arras
West front of the current cathedral at Arras,
called Notre-Dame-et-Saint-Vaast d'Arras.
This was planned an abbey church,
and consecrated as cathedral in 1833


Plan of Bayeux cathedral

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Bayeux

cathedral dimensions
total length : 102 m
nave width : 10 m
side aisle width : 5 m
side chapels' width : 5 m
transept length : 37.60 m
nave height (under the vaults) : 32 m
west facade spire height : 76.60 m
clock tower height : 74.50 m

Bayeux

Bayeux coat of arms

approximate population : 13,888
average altitude/elevation : 46 m (32–67 m)
département : Calvados, 14


West facade, Bayeux cathedral
West front, Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Bayeux

name origin
The capital of the Baïocasses, after the Roman conquest, within a few generations became known as Bajocae, then Bajoces. Bayeux was the former capital of the Viking region Bessin, and from the fourth century the seat of the bishopric of Bajonencis. The inhabitants are called Bajocasses.


Floor plan of Bazas cathedral

Cathédrale Saint Jean Baptiste de Bazas

cathedral dimensions
• nave length : 80 m
• height under vaults : 20 m

Bazas

approximate population : 4,500
average elevation : 55 m (ranging from 34 m to 123 m)


Bazas cathedral, west facadeBazas cathedral, west facade


Plan of Beauvais cathedral

Cathédrale Saint-Pierre de Beauvais

cathedral dimensions
• total length : 70 m / 230 ft
• tower height : 151.59 m / 497.3 ft
• transept length : 58 m / 190 ft

Beauais

 

Beauvais blason

approximate population : 53,400
average altitude : 65 m / 213 ft

Beauvais is 53 miles/84 km north of Paris


West front, Cathedrale Saint-Pierre de Beauvais
West front, Cathedrale Saint-Pierre de Beauvais


besancon cathedral plan

Cathédrale Saint-Jean de Besançon

cathedral dimensions
• nave length : 65 m
• height under vaults : - m

Besançon

besancon coat of arms

approximate population :118,000
average altitude : 260 m


West front of Saint-Jean Cathedral at Besancon
West front of Saint-Jean Cathedral at Besançon


Plan of Bourges cathedral

Cathedrale Saint-Étienne de Bourges

cathedral dimensions
• total length, exterior: 125 m
• total length, interior: 117.95 m
• total interior width: 41 m
• width, internal aisle: 6.52 m
• width, external aisle: 6.65 m

Bourges

 

Bourges coat of arms

approximate population : 68,600
average altitude : 146 m

Bourges is the capital of the département of Cher (18000)


West facade of Bourges cathedral, with its five doorways.
West facade of Bourges cathedral, with its five doorways.


chartres cathedral plan

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres

cathedral dimensions
• overall length : 130 m / 430 ft
• overall width : 32 m / 105 ft
• nave, length : 73 m
• height of nave : 37 m / 121 ft

see also
the buttresses and roof of Chartres cathedral

Chartres

 

Chartres coat of arms

 

approximate population : 39,160
average altitude : 140 m

 


West front, Notre Dame de Chartres
West front, Notre Dame de Chartres


Clermont-Ferrand cathedral plan

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de l'Assomption
de Clermont-Ferrand

cathedral dimensions
length : 92 m
     • length, choir : 36 m
     • length, transept and nave : 28.7 m
• width, transept : 32.70 m
• height, transept crossing : 28.7 m
• height, aisle : 14.3 m.
• height, Tour de la Bayette : 50.7 m
• height, western spires : 96.2 m.

Clermont-Ferrand

coat of arms, Clermont-Ferrand

approximate population : 139,000
average altitude : 358 m

 

 


West front, Notre Dame cathedral, Clermont-Ferrand
West front, Notre Dame cathedral, Clermont-Ferrand
The full west front is intruded upon by other buildings.
This artistic impression from the early 20th century improves on reality.


Floor plan of Coutances cathedral

La cathédrale Notre-Dame de Coutances

cathedral dimensions
   • Exterior length: 95.17m
   • Interior length: 87m
   • Nave length: 38.7
   • Nave width, between the pillars: 8m
   • Nave width, from pillar axis to axis : 15m
   • Aisle width, between the pillars: 4m
   • Nave total width: 33.7m
   • Exterior transept width: 31m
   • Transept width under the lantern-tower: 11m
   • Lantern-tower height, under the vault: 40.85m
   • Exterior lantern-tower height: 57.45m
   • Nave height, under vault keystone: 21.9m
   • Choir width: 9.3m
   • Apse total width: 31.15m
   • South-west spire height, including 3m for crosses: 77m
   • North-west spire height: 75m

Coutances

Blason: Toul

approximate population : 8,790
altitude: 2 m – 150 m


West facade, La cathédrale Notre-Dame de Coutances
West front of Coutances cathedral
Image: Bibliothèque nationale de France, Domaine public


Floor plan of Coutances cathedral

La cathédrale Notre-Dame d'Evreux

Cathedral dimensions
west facade width : 37 m
Nave
total length : 108,87 m
nave length : 43.47
nave width, between the pillars : 8.82 m
aisle width : 4.70 m
height under vault : 21.75 m
Transept
length : 31.5 m
width : 7 m
height under vault : 22.21m
height under lantern : 45 m
spire height : 78.15 m
Choir
length : 27.50 m
width : 11.50 m
aisle width : 4.95 m
height under vault : 24.1 m

Evreux

Evreux coat of arms

approximate population : 49 461
average altitude : 92 m (58–146 m)
département : Eure, 27

ébroïcien
Inhabitant of Evreux


West facade, La cathédrale Notre-Dame d'Evreux
West facade, la cathédrale Notre-Dame d'Evreux

name origin
From Ebroicae (capital of the Aulerques Eburovices), then Mediolanum Aulercorum (their religious town), then Ebroicae, and at last Eburovices some generations after the Roman conquest, indicating that the city still had no rampart (vicus). 
The current name comes from awa (eau - water in French) 
It was the seat of the Ebroicensis bishopric from the 4th century onwards.

 


Plan of Laon cathedral

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Laon

cathedral dimensions
• total length : 110.50 m
• nave width : 30.65 m
• transept width : 22m
• vault height : 24 m
• lantern tower height : 42m
• north tower : 60.5 m
• south tower : 56 m
• east rose window diameter : 9m

Laon

 

 

approximate population : 27,230
average altitude : 175 m

West front, Notre Dame de Laon
West front, Notre Dame de Laon


lausanne cathedral plan

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Lausanne

cathedral dimensions
• height of belfry : 67,50 m
• height of lantern tower : 79,60 m (restored by Viollet Le-Duc)

Lausanne, Switzerland

Lausanne coat of arms

approximate population : 125,885
average altitude : 528 m


West facade of Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Lausanne
West facade of Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Lausanne


Plan of Le Mans cathedral

Cathédrale St-Julien du Mans

cathedral dimensions
• total length: 129 m
• length, nave: 57 m • length, transept: 52 m
• height, Romanesque transept: 24 m
• height, Gothic choir vaults: 34 m

Le Mans

 

Le Mans coat of arms

approximate population :144,500
average altitude : 48 m
Le Mans is the capital of the département of Sarthe (72000)


West facade of la Cathédrale St-Julien du Mans
West facade of la Cathédrale St-Julien du Mans

Note that, while the west front is Romanesque, the cathedral has many Gothic components


Plan of Lisieux cathedral

Cathédral Saint-Pierre de Lisieux

cathedral dimensions
total length : 110 m
height under vaults : 20 m
lantern-tower - height under the vault : 30 m
 
 
 
name origin
Noviomagos, agricultural market of Lexovii, and Lexovii, their oppidum and capital, seat since the 4th century of the bishopric of Lexoviensis.
Noviomagos comes from the Gaulish words novio (new) + magos (market), which indicates that the city, old market, was newly fortified.

Lisieux

Rouen coat of arms

 

approximate population : 20 881
average altitude/elevation : 32–152 m 
département : Calvados, 14

 


Cathedral of Saint-Pierre west front
Cathedral of Saint-Pierre, Lisieux
the west front


lyon cathedral plan

Cathédrale Saint Jean-Baptiste de Lyon

cathedral dimensions
• overall length: 80 metres
• choir: 20 metres
• total aisle width: 26 metres
• main nave width: 19.3 metres
• height, nave arches: 32.5 metres

Lyon

Lyon coat of arms

 

approximate population :480,660
average altitude : 175 m


West facade, Cathédrale Saint Jean-Baptiste de Lyon
West facade, Cathédrale Saint Jean-Baptiste de Lyon


metz cathedral plan

Cathédrale Saint-Etienne de Metz

cathedral dimensions
• total length : 136 m
• interior length : 123.2 m
• nave height : 41.41 m
• nave width : 15.6 m
• transept length: 46.8 m
• transept width : 16.34 m
• height, north tower : 69 m (Tour du Chapitre)
• height, south tower : 88 m (Tour de la Mutte)

Metz

Blason: Metz

Vitas bonis;
Mors est malis

White: life to the good;
black: death to the bad

 

approximate population : 124,000
average altitude : 172 m


West front, Cathédrale Saint-Etienne de Metz
West front, Cathédrale Saint-Etienne de Metz


nevers cathedral plan

Cathédrale Saint-Cyr-et-Sainte-Julitte de Nevers

cathedral dimensions
• total length : 110 m
• height under vaults : 23 m
• height of tower : 50 m

Nevers

Nevers coat of arms

approximate population : 41,000
average elevation : 175 m


the unusual west front, Cathédrale Saint-Cyr-et-Sainte-Julitte de Nevers
The unusual west front, Cathédrale Saint-Cyr-et-Sainte-Julitte de Nevers
[Nevers cathedral has a double apse.]


Noyon cathedral plan

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Noyon

cathedral dimensions
• total length : 102 m
• nave width : 21 m
• vault height : 22.7 m

Noyon

Noyon coat of arms

approximate population : 14 ,240
average altitude : 43 m

 


West front of Notre-Dame de Noyon cathedral
West front of Notre-Dame de Noyon cathedral (circa 1900)


notre dame de paris cathedral plan

La cathédrale de Notre Dame de Paris

cathedral dimensions
• overall length : 130 m / 430 ft
• overall width : 32 m / 105 ft
• nave, length : 73 m
• transept width : 46 m / 151 ft
• height, choir vaulting : 33.5 m

Paris

Chartres coat of arms

 

approximate population : 2,125,250
average altitude : 40 m

 


West front, Notre Dame de Paris
West front, Notre Dame de Paris


Poitiers cathedral, floor plan

Cathédrale Saint-Pierre de Poitiers

cathedral dimensions
• nave length : 94 m
• nave width : 30 m
• vault height : 27 m

Poitiers

Poitiers coat of arms

approximate population : 87,400
average elevation : 65 m


West front, Poitiers cathedral
West front, Poitiers cathedral


Reims cathedral plan

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Reims

cathedral dimensions
• exterior length : 149 m
• interior length : 138 m
• nave width : 14.65 m
• nave height : 38 m

Reims

 

Reims coat of arms

 

approximate population : 196,565
average altitude : 83 m


West front, Notre Dame de Reims
West front, Notre Dame de Reims


rouen cathedral plan

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de l'Assomption de Rouen

Rouen

Rouen coat of arms

 

approximate population : 111,805
average altitude :

rouennais, Rouennais
Inhabitant of Rouen

West front, Cathédrale Notre-Dame de l'Assomption de Rouen
West front, Cathédrale Notre-Dame de l'Assomption de Rouen
cathedral dimensions
exterior length : 144 m
interior length : 136.86 m
length, transept exterior: 57 m
length, nave (11 bays) : 60 m
width, western façade: 61.60 m
width, nave excluding chapels: 24.20 m
north aisle average width : 6.70 m
south aisle average width : 6.20 m
north side chapel depth : 3.15 m
south side chapel depth : 3.50m
aisle height : 14 m
width of the nave from axis to axis of the pillars : 11.30 m
exterior width of transept : 57 m
interior width of transept : 53.65 m
transept cross-arms height : 28 m
choir length : 34.30 m
choir width : 12.68 m
choir height : 28 m
average width ambulatory : 6.35 m (6.32–6.40m)
chapel of the Virgin, length : 24.71 m
chapel of the Virgin, width : 8.80 m
chapel of the Virgin, height : 19 m
height, under central aisle vaulting: 28 m
height under vault of lantern-tower : 51 m
spire total height : 151 m
Saint-Romain Tower height : 82 m
Butter Tower height : 75 m
name origin
From the Roman name, Latin Rotomagus, from the Gaulish name Ratumacos, from rato- (of unclear origin) and magos, from Proto-Celtic magos (“field”).


plan of the cathedral of Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges

cathedral dimensions
• height of bell tower : 33 m
• nave length: 55 m / 180ft
   (from chevet to the tower)
• nave width: 16 m / 50 ft

Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges

 

Lausanne coat of arms

Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges
is in Département 31 - Haute Garonne.
The post code is 31510.

approximate population : 270
average altitude : 515 m


West facade of Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges
West facade of Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges

Note that the West front has Romanesque door and window openings.


saint quentin

La basilique Saint-Quentin

cathedral dimensions
• length : 123 metres
• width : 52 metres
• nave height : 34 metres

Saint Quentin

Saint Quentin coat of arms

 

approximate population : 55,407
average altitude : 82 metres


West front of la basilique Saint-Quentin
West front of la basilique Saint-Quentin


Floor plan of Saint-Sever abbey church

Abbaye de Saint-Sever

cathedral dimensions
  
 • nave length : 31 m
   • nave width:18.4 m
   • transept length: 35 m
   • transept width: 40 m
   • vault height: 14.7 m

Saint-Sever

Saint-Sever coat of arms

approximate population : 4,700
altitude: 26 m - 118 m


West front of Saint-Sever abbatical church
West front of Saint-Sever abbatical church


Floor plan of Evreux cathedral

Cathédrale Saint-Gervais-Saint-Protais de Sées

cathedral dimensions
overall length 83.60 m
width of the nave 9,10 m
width of the nave and aisles 21,55 m
height of the nave under keystone 24 m
height of the aisles under keystone 12 m
tower height 70 m
lantern-tower - height under the vault : 30 m

Sées

Sees coat of arms

 

approximate population : 4,236 [2014]
average altitude : 170-321 m 
département : Orne, 61


West front of Sees cathedral

name origin
Sées owes its name to the Sagii, a Gallic tribe. The name of Sées comes from Sagiensis, derived from the Celtic (Gaulish) sag - "who seeks", alao found in the tribal name of Tectosages, or the name Sagius, "the seeker, the snoop (hunter?)".

Until the end of the eighteenth century, this name was spelled Séez. This script has been preserved by the Catholic Church (Diocese of Seez, Bishop of Seez). The official spelling Sées dates back to the time of Napoleon Bonaparte, following the Italian campaign, to avoid homonymy with the then French Séez de Savoie


senlis cathedral plan

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Senlis

cathedral dimensions
• exterior length : 76 m
• interior length : 70 m
• nave width : 28.5 m
• height under vaults : 23.5 m

Senlis

Senlis coat of arms

approximate population : 16,000
average altitude : 75 m (ranging from 47m to 140m)


West facade, Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Senlis
West facade, Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Senlis


soissons cathedral plan

Cathédrale Saint-Gervais-et-Saint-Protais de Soissons

cathedral dimensions
exterior length : 116 m
external nave width : 26 m
interior width of the nave: 21.5 m
western facade width : 32 m
height, choir vaulting : 31 m

Soissons

Soissons coat of arms

approximate population : 29,439
average altitude : 46 m


The west facade, Soissons cathedral
The west facade, Soissons cathedral


toul cathedral pla

Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Toul

cathedral dimensions
• total length : 98 m
• transept length : 50 m
• transept width : 15 m
• nave height (under the vaults) : 32 m
• tower height : 65 m
• west facade width : 37 m

Toul

Blason: Toul

approximate population : 17,700
average altitude : 205 m


West facade, Cathedrale Saint-Etienne de Toul
West facade, Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Toul


troyes cathedral plan

Cathédrale Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul de Troyes

cathedral dimensions
overall length : 114 m
• width, western façade : 45 m
• length, nave : 50 m
• height, nave : 29.50 m

Troyes

Troyes coat of arms

approximate population : 60,785
average altitude : 107 m

 


West front of the cathedral at Troyes, image by Elise Whitlock Rose
West front of the cathedral at Troyes,
image by
Vida Hunt Francis


verdun cathedral plan

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Verdun

cathedral dimensions
• nave length : 94 m
• nave width : 12.4 m
• width at transept : 37 m
• height under vaults : 18.5 m

Verdun

Verdun coat of arms

approximate population : 20,000
average elevation : 570 m

 


West front of Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Verdun, obscured by the bishopric
West front of Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Verdun -
obscured by the bishopric, after WW1 bombing
(the West front is between the two towers).

marker cathedrals – introduction: reading stained glass
marker gothic cathedral and church construction
marker cathedrals, an illustrated glossary
marker Chartres - wonder of the world
marker lantern towers of Normandy and elsewhere
marker history of ugly stained glass: Auch, Bazas, Dreux
marker Auch cathedral choir and stalls
marker Rouen and Monet
marker at France pages Dax and church iconography marker photographs, Dax
marker Bazas - iconography and architectural styles
marker Poitiers, neglected masterpiece marker photographs, Poitiers / photos 2
marker Angers, heart of the Angevin Empire marker photographs, Angers
marker Laon, the midst of the gothic transition, with added oxen marker photographs, Laon
marker Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Lyon
marker Notre Dame of Lausanne
marker Senlis - how a typical cathedral changes through the ages
marker Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges - the cathedral of the Pyrenees

marker Le Mans and Bourges cathedrals - medieval space technology
marker Lausanne rose window - photo-analysis
marker cathedrals in Lorraine - the Three Bishoprics
marker cathedral giants - Amiens and Beauvais
marker Clermont-Ferrand and Agde - from volcanoes to cathedrals

marker Germans in France - Arras cathedral
marker Germans in France - Reims cathedral
marker Germans in France - St. Quentin cathedral
marker Germans in France - Noyon cathedral
marker Germans in France - Cambrai cathedral
marker Germans in France - Soissons cathedral

marker cathedral plans, and facts
marker stone in church and cathedral construction
marker using metal in gothic cathedral construction
marker cathedral labyrinths and mazes in France
marker cathedrals and cloisters of France by Elise Whitlock Rose
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v. 1.5

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