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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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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.

related pages:

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 Beauvais cathedral

Cathédrale Saint-Pierre de Beauvais

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

Beauvais is 53 miles/84 km north of Paris

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

Beauvais blason

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

   

Plan of Bourges cathedral

Cathedrale Saint-Étienne de Bourges

Bourges
approximate population :
68,600
average altitude : 146 m

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

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 coat of arms

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

   

notre dame de paris cathedral plan

La cathédrale de Notre Dame de Paris

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

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

Chartres coat of arms

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

   

Clermont-Ferrand cathedral plan

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

Clermont-Ferrand
approximate population : 139,000
average altitude/elevation : 358 m

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.

coat of arms, Clermont-Ferrand

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.
   

troyes cathedral plan

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

Troyes
approximate population : 60,785
average altitude : 107 m

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

Troyes coat of arms

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

   

chartres cathedral plan

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres

 

 

see also
the buttresses and roof of Chartres cathedral

Chartres
approximate population : 39,160
average altitude : 140 m

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

Chartres coat of arms

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

   

Plan of Amiens cathedral

Cathédrale Notre-Dame d'Amiens

Amiens
approximate population : 146,000
average altitude : 31 m

Amiens is 87 miles/139 km north of Paris

cathedral dimensions
• external length : 145 m
• transept external length : 72 m
• nave height (under the vaults) : 42.3 m
• tower height (spire top) : 112.7 m

Amiens blason

West front, Notre Dame de Amiens
West front, Notre Dame d'Amiens

   

plan of the gothic cathedral of Arras, drawn by Traxier

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

Arras
approximate population : 47,052
average altitude : 72 m

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 coat of arms

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 the cathedral of Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges

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

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

approximate population : 270
average altitude : 515 m

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

Lausanne coat of arms

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.

   

Plan of Laon cathedral

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Laon

Laon
approximate population : 27,230
average altitude : 175 m

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 diametre : 9m

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

   

Plan of Le Mans cathedral

Cathédrale St-Julien du Mans

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

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 coat of arms

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

   

Noyon cathedral plan

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Noyon

Noyon
approximate population : 14 ,240
average altitude : 43 m

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

Noyon coat of arms

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

   

Reims cathedral plan

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Reims

Reims
approximate population : 196,565
average altitude : 83 m

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

Reims coat of arms
West front, Notre Dame de Reims
West front, Notre Dame de Reims
   

soissons cathedral plan

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

Soissons
approximate population : 29,439
average altitude : 46 m

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 coat of arms
The west facade, Soissons cathedral
The west facade, Soissons cathedral
   

saint quentin

La basilique Saint-Quentin

Saint Quentin
approximate population : 55,407
average altitude : 82 metres

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

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

rouen cathedral plan

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de l'Assomption de Rouen

Rouen
approximate population : 111,805
average altitude : 15 m

cathedral dimensions
• exterior length: 144 m
• length, transept exterior: 57 m
• length, nave: 60 m
• width, western façade: 61.60 m
• width, nave: 24.20 m
• height, central aisle vaulting: 28 m
Rouen coat of arms
West front, Cathédrale Notre-Dame de l'Assomption de Rouen
West front, Cathédrale Notre-Dame de l'Assomption de Rouen
   

lyon cathedral plan

Cathédrale Saint Jean-Baptiste de Lyon

Lyon
approximate population :480,660
average altitude : 175 m

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 coat of arms
West facade, Cathédrale Saint Jean-Baptiste de Lyon
West facade, Cathédrale Saint Jean-Baptiste de Lyon

lausanne cathedral plan

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Lausanne

Lausanne, Switzerland
approximate population : 125,885
average altitude : 528 m

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

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

senlis cathedral plan

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Senlis

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

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

Senlis coat of arms
West facade, Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Senlis
West facade, Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Senlis
   

toul cathedral pla

Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Toul

Toul
approximate population : 17,700
average altitude : 205 m

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

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

metz cathedral plan

Cathédrale Saint-Etienne de Metz

Metz
approximate population : 124,000
average altitude : 172 m

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)

Blason: Metz

Vitas bonis;
Mors est malis

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

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

verdun cathedral plan

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Verdun

Verdun
approximate population : 20,000
average elevation : 570 m

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

Verdun coat of arms
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).
   

nevers cathedral plan

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

Nevers
approximate population : 41,000
average elevation : 175 m

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

Nevers coat of arms
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.]
   

besancon cathedral plan

Cathédrale Saint-Jean de Besançon

Besançon
approximate population :118,000
average altitude : 260 m

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

besancon coat of arms
West front of Saint-Jean Cathedral at Besancon
West front of Saint-Jean Cathedral at Besançon
   

Poitiers cathedral, floor plan

Cathédrale Saint-Pierre de Poitiers

Poitiers
approximate population : 87,400
average elevation : 65 m

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

Poitiers coat of arms
West front, Poitiers cathedral
West front, Poitiers cathedral
   

Angers cathedral, floor plan

Cathédrale Saint-Maurice d'Angers

Angers
approximate population : 152,500
average altitude: 25 m

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

Angers coat of arms

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

Floor plan of Bazas cathedral

Cathédrale Saint Jean Baptiste de Bazas

Bazas
approximate population : 4,500
average elevation : 55 m

(ranging from 34 m to 123 m)

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

Bazas cathedral, west facade
Bazas cathedral, west facade
   

Plan of Agde cathedral

Cathédrale Saint-Étienne d'Agde

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

Agde
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

Agde coat of arms

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

Floor plan of Saint-Sever abbey church

Abbaye de Saint-Sever

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

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 coat of arms

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

Floor plan of Coutances cathedral

La cathédrale Notre-Dame de Coutances

 

 

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

cathedral dimensions
   • Exterior length: 95.17m
   • Interior length: 87m
   • Nave length: 38.7
   • Nave width, between the pillars: 8m
   • Nave width, from axis to axis of the pillars: 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

Blason: Toul
West facade, La cathédrale Notre-Dame de Coutances
West front of Coutances cathedral
Image: Bibliothèque nationale de France, Domaine public
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marker cathedrals, an illustrated glossary
marker Chartres - wonder of the world
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 using metal in gothic cathedral construction illustrated
marker cathedral labyrinths and mazes in France illustrated
marker cathedrals and cloisters of France by Elise Whitlock Rose
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