Amateurs of the architecture of the end of the XIX century cannot pass by the extravagant pseudo-Byzantian basils.
Sacred Martin's relics is based in a crypt. A legend tells us that he was a soldier of the Roman army who went in christianity when met a beggar in Amiens.
You can watch my 3 min 15 sec Video Tours out of my Youtube channel.
Since the year 337, Tours cathedral or Saint Gatien's Cathedral had undergone several rebuilding, restoration and rededication. It's a gothic roman catholic church.
Work on Tours Cathedral proceeded over the centuries until 1547. The lowermost stages of the west towers belong is of 12th century. The rest of the west end is in the profusely detailed 15th century flamboyant gothic. Completed just as the Renaissance was flourishing.
Heavy pillars separate the nave from a pair of aisles on each side which continue around the choir as a double ambulatory. The choir is three story and lets in a great amount of light. It is fitted with fine 13C stained glass which the sun-quenching downpour made it impossible to photograph through. The transepts are a little out alignment because they had to sit upon previous Romanesque foundations. Each has a fine Rose window that has been adjusted to its setting: the one to the North has a slender support up its center and the South one accommodates an organ loft.
The Cathedral of St. Gattien was built on Romanesque foundations of a long period (from 13 to the 16C). When we arrived its outside was undergoing an intensive cleaning. The West Front has a fine Rose window set over tall lancet windows and thre well made portals. The towers do not have spires but are capped by 16C Renaissance cupolas. The Huguenots destroyed most of the statuary but the intensely Flamboyant stonework remains.
Tours Cathedral is named Saint-Gatien and it was built between 1170 and 1547 (another church that took more than 8 generations to build, that's incredible what religion can do).
This is one of the big cathedrals in France, though with its 87 meters is not in the top 10, Amiens Cathedral being 112 meters high, Chartres being 114 meters high, Strasbourg's 142 meters. The tallest is in Ulm, Germany, its spire topping 161 meters.
Beside the grandeur and the vast space inside, the stained glass is very impressive, covering a very large area and letting a lot of light coming in.
The cathedral of Tours, dedicated to Saint Gatien, its canonized first bishop, was begun about 1170 to replace the just-started cathedral that was burnt out in 1166, during the quarrel between Louis VII of France and Henry II of England. The lowermost stages of the west towers (illustration, right) belong to the 12th century, but the rest of the west end is in the profusely detailed Flamboyant Gothic of the 15th century, completed just as the Renaissance was affecting less traditional patrons than bishops, in the pleasure châteaux
There is a Sacred Martin tomb in the Basilique, in which the sacred Martin - the defender of francs was buried.
In November his relics - a fragment of a skull - is usually shown on public.
The cathedral was under construction during several centuries. In the XVI century the western facade and two towers in height of 70 meters were completed.
The nave was constructed in the XV century. Having entered into a cathedral, the visitor moves ahead in depth of centuries. Stained-glass windows are kept in an interior.
The Cathédrale St-Gatien, as it is more properly known, is an interesting construction, begun in the 13th century and not completed until the mid-1500s. Despite the range of styles, from gothic to renaissance, somehow the result is quite impressive, if looking a little as though some external cleaning might be due (photo 2).
During my visit an organist was giving the pipe organ (photo 3) a workout. There is simply nothing like listening to a good organ in the setting of an empty cathedral, the notes seem to hang in the air. Combine that with atmospheric lighting through the lovely stained glass windows and the high vaulted ceilings (photo 4) and it impressed even a non-religious bloke like me; so I stayed for some time and let the music and atmosphere wash around me. Should the organ be playing when you visit, it’s worth it to find a chair and settle back for a while.
I love the St martin's basilica... I don't know why, but I think it's the nicest church of the city.
Nowadays, you can't enter inside, because there's only the main body of the basiica and some ruins, so it's not an open church but only a monument.
Near the basilica, you'll find a draw rapresenting how basilica was, and its history.
The cathedral is a symbol of Tours. It's well known all over the world for its architecture: remember to take a look to all the architectural elements: they are wonderful!
Many other churchs all over the city.
& they started to sing...
Oh! The most beautiful voices I've ever heard! & it has to be in French! & I understand nothing... not a word! But I enjoyed it... so much so I cried! Yeah, cried! It's that beautiful... it touches something deep in my heart & words were not enough...
I simply cried... & cleansed my soul in the process.
I must admit, I know nothing about most saints. But a lot people do & most of them share that knowledge on the internet. So, here are some facts I found:
--- Also known as Martin the Merciful.
--- Memorial Day - Nov. 11.
--- Apotre of Gaules.
To read more about St. Martin, proceed to these websites:
It was still quite dark when I entered. I began praying... don't ask me what, it's private & confidential ;-)
As soon as I almost finished my prayers... the basilica was filled with lights. You see, the ceiling was glass-panelled & the lights shone! It was as if God spoke to me right there & then. Without darkness, you can't see the light as clearly!!! HE spoke & I heard! That's pretty amazing for me. It's a personal experience...
& Manuel, stop arguing with me :-P
Yes, I found that internet cafe. Yes, I was online for about 90 mins. Yes, I was informed about some unpleasant situation. No, I wasn't upset. I was enjoying my trip in a wonderful city.
Onward to explore the city as soon as the sky brightened up. I chanced upon the Basilique St. Martin. I'm not fanatical about churches or cathedrals but I like to explore. So, I went in to take a look. As I have said, the least I could do is to say a prayer of thanks whenever I'm in a place of worship.
I sat down... & I started to pray...