Rodez Cathedral, France

The Cathedral in Rodez is distinctive for both its rust-red colour and its austere west front. The latter is explained by the fact that the west front once formed part of the City defensive wall system – the entrance to the Cathedral is by the side.

The first Cathedral is mentioned in Rodez around 516 AD. It was rebuilt around 1000 AD and then a new rebuild was started in 1276. It took an incredibly long time for the Cathedral to be finished. Both the Black Death and the Hundred Years War interrupted building, the latter influencing the fortifications which include the west front of today’s Cathedral.

By the early 15th Century work was restarted and much was completed by 1500. In 1510 a fire tore through Rodez and rebuilding work was undertaken on the Cathedral between 1513 and 1526. The Cathedral that we see today was finally completed in 1531, nearly three hundred years after it was started.

Strangely, this long period of construction does not seem to be reflected in the appearance of the Cathedral which looks very much of a uniform kind. It is the focal point of the City and one of the major tourist attractions of the area.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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