The Rouen Cathedral is home to one of France's 15 archbishops, who resides there. The cathedral is a primatial church because the archbishop is also known as the Primate. The adjacent archiepiscopal palace in Rouen is the only one in France that an archbishop now occupies. The 151-meter height of the Rouen Cathedral made it the world's highest structure at the time.
Before the construction of this cathedral, another Romanesque building stood its time as a religious place for the locals. The religious authorities wanted to replace the already existing ancient Romanesque structure with something more impressive. This was when Gothic architecture became popular in Western Europe and this cathedral was established with Gothic architecture. This approach showcased Rouen's status as a major city in Western Europe at the time. Then this masterpiece became the finest example of pure Flamboyant art in existence.
The elegance and lavishness of it are evident in how it was constructed. All its minuteness does not undermine the majesty and adds to the mystery of the noble and unbroken vault, even to the uninquiring eye.
What to see at Cathedral Notre-Dame de Rouen?
- The west facade is an impressive structure with towers, pinnacles, statues, and porches on either side, including the Tour Saint Romain to the left and the Tour de Beurre to the right. Take a look at the West facade's three stunning portals, which were built in -the Gothic style. The upper portion of the facade is embellished with beautiful gables in the Rayonnant and Flamboyant styles. The facade is topped off with pyramid-shaped pinnacles.
- The transformation of Tour de Beurre's squared layout into an octagonal one on the top floor is a Gothic miracle you can't miss out on.
- The imposing Tour Saint Romain built 400 years before its southern twin dominates the northern side of the facade. The roof, which resembles an ax, was made of slates and featured a gilded depiction of the sun.
- The cathedral's lantern tower's cast-iron spire was the last significant addition to the building in the 19th century. The current 151-meter-tall cast-iron spire took about 50 years to build.
- In the northernmost part of the transept at Rouen Cathedral is the Portal of the Librarians (Portail des Libraires). It is another piece of art that will engulf you with its stunning interior.
- Gaze up at the beautiful flying buttresses with their pointed peaks that flank the nave on both sides.
- The Lady Chapel is the final stop on the cathedral's chevet (1430-1538). Pointed windows with gable ends can be found between the buttresses' pinnacles. The chapel's roof is adorned with a massive statue of the Virgin Mary that was erected in 1541.