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Envisioning a cathedral and basilica tour

Envisioning a cathedral and basilica tour

Old Apr 17th, 2019, 10:43 AM
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Envisioning a cathedral and basilica tour

After the grievous damage to Notre Dame, I am thinking of all the great cathedrals and other grand houses of worship that I have both seen and not seen. I'm feeling compelled to go out and see as many more as I can, almost like there's no time to waste. If you had to pick a top ten or twenty for such a trip, what would you choose? I'm thinking of France, Belgium, and northern Germany, which I realize is arbitrary. But right now I'm thinking of these:

Basilique de St. Denis
Ste-Chapelle (I know it's a chapel, but anyway)
Chartres Cathedral
Amiens Cathedral
Reims Cathedral
Aachen Cathedral

What others would you add to the list?
Wikipedia has this list, but it doesn't indicate what ones to prioritize:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...rals_in_France

Last edited by WillTravel; Apr 17th, 2019 at 10:45 AM.
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Old Apr 17th, 2019, 11:02 AM
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I think I'd get real sick of seeing another cathedral very shortly if that was all I did. Sometimes I don't think I care if I ever see another one, they all run together, so not sure that's the best way to appreciate them.

But if I had to pick some in France, it wold include Aix, Avignon, Bourges, Rouen, Strasbourg and Albi in addition to the ones you name.
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Old Apr 17th, 2019, 11:12 AM
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On such a trip, I'm sure I would do more than cathedrals. I'd probably aim for one every 1.5-2 days, and maybe visit it twice in that time, depending on the circumstances.
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Old Apr 17th, 2019, 11:13 AM
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Of the ones that I have seen, my favorites:

Albi
Bayeux
Laon
Beauvais
Dol
Narbonne
Périgueux (St-Front)
Rouen
St-Denis
Sarlat
Senlis
Strasbourg
Toulouse
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Old Apr 17th, 2019, 11:57 AM
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I guess it depends on what your interests are. Regardless of whether it is a cathedral (= home church of the diocesan bishop so there is only one per diocese), or a basilica (can be any notable church that the bishop has tagged),

Certainly there are unique architectural features - bell towers, spires, naves, domes, flying buttresses, that make sites worthy of a visit. Personally, I've seen enough baroque, gothic, and other style churches over the years that as buildings they seem to blend together in my memory after a while more of the same/similar architecture gets me weary.

Sometimes it's the unique striped marble facade (Siena), or maybe a floor, or columns (San Marco, Venice). Other places it's the windows or organ, and yet others still it may be a particular statue, work of art, relic, or crypt that draws you.
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Old Apr 17th, 2019, 01:01 PM
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You wouldn't get me in another cathedral now, but when I first came to France I did track down the cathedrals/churches mentioned in the round we sang at Girl Scout campfires 75 years ago. The history of each was special and I'm so glad I did it. This sung as a round to the tune of the bells of Vendome.Mes amis, que reste-t-il
À ce Dauphin si gentil?
Orléans, Beaugency,
Notre-Dame de Cléry,
Vendôme, Vendôme.
I wish you well on your quest. Don't leave out Cologne.
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Old Apr 17th, 2019, 01:22 PM
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If you are going to Aachen (and that is a really important city because the German emperors of the Holy Roman Empire were all crowned there), then you should definitely think about Cologne Cathedral. It is a mammoth and should not be missed.

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Old Apr 17th, 2019, 01:30 PM
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Orleans' cathedral is highly overlooked - one of the largest in France - moving up a number for a few years - it is one one of the most stupendous in France: https://www.google.com/search?q=orle...iw=645&bih=613

Paris - Saint Chapelle near Notre-Dame Cathedral.

Nearly every large French town has a sweet cathedral.
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Old Apr 17th, 2019, 01:39 PM
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I have seen Aachen and Cologne before, but like I said, some of these are new and some will be revisits. I agree both are remarkable.

I'd also like to re-see Antwerp Cathedral. But I know there are others in Belgium worth seeing too.

Italy and Spain are a topic for another day (and I have seen some amazing churches there).
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Old Apr 17th, 2019, 02:28 PM
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Basilica of the Holy Blood, Bruges; the altarpiece Adoration of the Lamb in St Bavo's Cathedral, Ghent; Basiliiek Koekelberg (which I think is the world's biggest Art Deco church) in the outskirts of Brussels (Jette, I think?); in France: the cathedral in Le Havre, which is a modern church made of concrete. The last two are not pretty but they are unique.

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Old Apr 17th, 2019, 06:52 PM
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You've gotten some great ideas already! You might want to explore your options in Spain, too.
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Old Apr 17th, 2019, 07:35 PM
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Cathédrale St. Etienne in Metz. It has the greatest window surface in Europe and also the biggest Gothic windows. Its UNESCO classification is still pending, though.
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Old Apr 17th, 2019, 08:04 PM
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Is that cathedral in Metz the one with the Chagall windows? You could do worse than doing a trip looking out for all the churches with Chagall windows in Europe. I know of three: Mainz (Stefansdom), Metz and Reims, but there must be many more.

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Old Apr 17th, 2019, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by lavandula View Post
Chagall windows? ... I know of three: Mainz (Stefansdom), Metz and Reims, but there must be many more.
The Fraumünster in Zürich, which also has some windows by Giacometti.
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Old Apr 17th, 2019, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by lavandula View Post
Is that cathedral in Metz the one with the Chagall windows? You could do worse than doing a trip looking out for all the churches with Chagall windows in Europe. I know of three: Mainz (Stefansdom), Metz and Reims, but there must be many more.

Lavandula
Yes, it is the one with six Chagall windows.

Last edited by kerouac; Apr 17th, 2019 at 08:39 PM.
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Old Apr 18th, 2019, 12:54 PM
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Sainte Waudru in Mons. There is a ceremony each year when a coach must climb the adjoining street. If it fails war is expected. It didn't succeed in 1914 and 1939.
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