Your first impression of Notre Dame de la Daurade is quite different. It is located along the Garonne, on the same block as the Fine Arts Academy. Originally, in the 5th century, it was a Roman temple dedicated to Apollo, which then became converted over to a Church. Before reading anything about this basilica, I looked at the name and figured from its name that it was most likely generously covered with gold at one time. That turned out to be true, in the 6th century it had golden mosaics.
You will see none of that today. Today you will see the facade, which is neo classical. It hardly looks like a basilica at all. After centuries of renovation and change, the church was basically demolished in 1761, allowing the quays to be built. What you see today was built in the 19th century.
I was a bit surprised that this church was so very quiet. Once getting past the neo classical facade. The interior is a bit of a mix of styles. I couldn't find an information sheet in the church so I didn't learn until later that the part of the orginal romanesque construction built over the roman temple is about where the transept is today.
One of the things making this church quite important is that it houses a copy of the medieval (10th century) Black Madonna. The Black Madonna is not really uncommon, there are several hundred throughout Europe, and in France alone there are 180. The statue is not really black, it has just been darkened by constant smoke from candles over the years. Some writers have stated the the significance of the Black Madonna is the adaptation of the concept of the earth mother to Christianity. But why the dark or black color? Here is a link to introduce you to Black Madonnas
One of the churches that you will not likely see mentioned as a top attraction is St Jerome, located on rue de Lieutenant-colonel Pélissier. From the outside it looks a lot like many other churches in Toulouse, austere with walls that look more like a fortress.
What is perhaps different about this church, it was a church built by the Company of Blue Penitents of Toulouse, a mendicant order that asked the best artists in Toulouse to decorate their chapel. The order was dedicated to the extirpation of Heresy, meaning counteracting Protestantism.
Though I thought the church would be much older, due to the exterior walls, it was built in the 16th century and finished fairly quickly.
Probably not a must see for Toulouse Churches, but it will give you an idea of the diversity of religious life in Toulouse. It is not as dark as many of the older churches.
The Church is named after St Jerome, the 5th century theologian, who among other things was the first to translate the Bible into Latin.
This was less that a block away from the bed and breakfast i was staying at so i decided it should be the first i would see.
Notre Dame de la Dalbade is located in the Carmelite neighborhood, however it is also a neighborhood with a very high concentration of hotels particuliers, the homes of wealthy merchants in what was a very wealthy city.
From the outside it doesn't look like very much. Actually it is austere, which is the southern gothic style common in Toulouse and its environs. Like many of the churches around Toulouse this looks like a fortress from the outside.
The tympanum was very impressive. It is,however, not old. It was done by Gaston Virebant in 1878. It is a copy of Fra Angelico's Coronation of the Virgin. The church has been around for much longer though. A church had stood on the present grounds from about 541 AD until fire destroyed the church in 1442. The present building dates from 1480 and its tower was the highest point in the city until the 20th century.
Don't be put off by the austerity of the exterior. The interior is lovely
The facade on the Garonne of Notre-Dame de la Daurade, with its Doric columns, looks more like a temple of the antiquity than a church.
The present basilica, dating from the end of the 18th c., is built on the site of a pagan temple and a Benedictine monastery. On becoming a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary, in the 5th c., it was covered in small pieces of mosaic fixed to a background of gold leaf, whence its name "Deaurata", meaning covered in gold.
Inside, a chapel contains a Black Virgin to whom the Toulousians remained devoted in view of the large number of ex-voto on the walls. The statue is the second copy of a brown virgin known about the 10th c., stolen in the 14th c. and reproduced in the identical form.
The smoke of the numerous candles coloured her face in black.
At the revolution the statue was burned "in the fireplace of the guardroom of Town Hall" on order of the administration of that time.
The current statue was sculptured in 1807.
Open every day 08.30 - 18.30 or 19 h.
The church overlooks the Garonne bream and adjacent to the building of Fine Arts. It has no steeple. We appreciate better the architecture of the other side of river. It houses the Black Madonna. From the outside it does not look like a church. Indeed,the entrance doesn't look like a church either, which is why so many people bypass this incredible gothic church and the very moving Black Madonna housed inside it.
The Église Notre-Dame du Taur is an unassuming church on the Rue du Taur, which runs from the Place du Capitole to the Place Saint-Sernin (see my tip on the Rue du Taur itself). The church is built into the row of pink-brick structures that line the eastern side of the street, so you might be forgiven for missing it, but once you look at the tops of the buildings it is quite easy to discern. This is because Notre-Dame du Taur is remarkable for its bell-tower-wall (I don’t know the English name for this feature, but in French is it clocher-mur). It doesn’t have a bell-tower, but rather the façade of the building rises high above the roof and contains thirteen separate bells – which tends to give the impression that the building is not a church but rather a fortress. The building was constructed in the 14th century in the so-called Southern Gothic style, and the interior has a number of paintings that are of note for those interested in Christian painting, including Jacob’s genealogy.
The name Dalbade comes from the Latin dealbata, meaning white – this church was built on the site of an earlier church called the Santa Maria dealbata, which was covered in which church. The current structure is, like many other buildings in the Carmes district of Toulouse, built from the characteristic pink bricks that give the city its nickname. The original structure is from the 6th century, but it was destroyed by fire in the 15th century and replaced by the current structure at the end of the same century. The clock tower was erected in the middle of the 1500s but the same architect who built the Hôtel d’Assézat. That is, the original clock tower was built by him, by it was destroyed in 1826 and rebuilt, only to be destroyed and rebuilt in the last century. This is a fairly quiet and out of the way church, despite its size, largely because it is off the beaten track from the usual route that includes the Augustins and the Cathédrale Saint-Étienne. It doesn’t have a spectacular interior, but if you’re passing this way you might as well stop in.
The Daurade Basilica is incredibly interesting – and I say that without actually having gone inside. The reason is that, without actually reading that it is a church, you would likely think it a building owned and operated by the Fine Arts Academy next door. The façade is neo-Classical, with Greek columns, and there is no clock tower. It is reminiscent more of the National Bank of Greece than Notre-Dame de Paris or the Cathedrale Saint-Étienne. In fact, the church started out as a Roman temple, likely dedicated to Apollo, that was given to the Church by the Emperors. It was rebuilt several times, with various ambitious construction projects maintained, partially implemented, and then often abandoned before completion. Throughout the entirety of its existence, however, the Basilica has remained dedicated to the cult of the Virgin Mary, specifically represented by the Black Virgin featured in murals towards the front of the church.
La façade côté Garonne de Notre-Dame de la Daurade avec ses colonnes doriques ressemble plus à un temple de l'antiquité qu'à une église.
La basilique actuelle de la fin du XVIIIe siècle est bâtie sur le site d'un temple païen transformé en église au Ve siècle devenu plus tard monastère bénédictin.
Le nom "daurade" signifiait dorée car l'église ancienne était décorée de mosaïques à fond de feuille d'or.
A l'intérieur une chapelle abrite une Vierge Noire à laquelle les Toulousains sont restés très attachés au vu du grand nombre d'ex-voto qui ornent les murs. La statue est la deuxième copie d'une vierge brune connue au Xe siècle, volée au XIVe et reproduite à l'identique.
La fumée des innombrables chandelles la rendit noire. A la révolution la statue fût brûlée" dans le foyer du corps de garde de la Maison commune" par ordre de l'administration de l'époque.
La statue actuelle a été sculptée en 1807.