Jacobins Church & Cloister, Toulouse

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Parvis des Jacobins 05 61 22 21 92

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    main door off rue lakanal
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  • Nemorino's Profile Photo

    Jacobean Convent

    by Nemorino Updated Mar 8, 2015

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    The last stop on our guided walking tour “Grand Monuments of Toulouse” was the Jacobean (Dominican) convent, adjacent to the Jacobean Church.

    This convent suffered serious damage during the French Revolution. It was saved from destruction in the 19th century and was fully and beautifully restored in the 1950s. In the Saint-Antonin Chapel (first photo) the 14th century frescos have also been restored.

    Second photo: An empty chapel in the Jacobean convent.

    Third photo: Our tour group looking at the courtyard of the convent.

    Fourth photo: The courtyard of the convent.

    Fifth photo: Courtyard and tower.

    Address: Rue Lakanal, 31000 Toulouse
    Directions: Aerial view and photo on monumentum.fr
    Phone: 05 61 22 23 82
    Website: http://www.cultures.toulouse.fr/

    Previous guided tours in French cities:
    • Guided walking tour of Avignon
    • Guided walking tour of Lille
    • Guided walking tour of the Panier district in Marseille.
    • Guided walking tour of Toulon.
    • Boat tour of Toulon harbor.
    • Guided walking tour of the Palais Royal quarter in Paris.
    • Guided walking tour of Montparnasse in Paris.
    • Guided walking tour of the Île-Saint-Louis in Paris.
    • And of course the two exclusive VirtualTourist tours that were guided by VT member pfsmalo (Paul) through the Marais and Montmartre quarters of Paris.

    Next Toulouse review: Well, it was new at the time

    Saint-Antonin Chapel Another chapel Tour group Courtyard of the convent Courtyard and tower
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    Jacobean Church

    by Nemorino Updated Mar 7, 2015

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    The Jacobean Church was begun in the 13th century by the Dominican Order of Preachers, which was founded in 1215 by Saint Dominique for the purpose of combating heresy.

    An unusual feature of this church is a large pillar in the middle, around which there is now a set of mirrors. This gives the illusion of looking into a deep hole, whereas what you are really looking at is the reflection of the pillar and the ceiling.

    Second photo: The pillars in the church are made of stone, brought in at great expense from distant quarries, but the walls are made mainly of local bricks.

    Third and fourth photos: Outside the Jacobean Church, Sarah explained why the brick churches of Toulouse look so different from the Gothic churches of northern France – the main reason being that Toulouse does not have any stone quarries, but ample supplies of clay for brick making.

    Fifth photo: The exterior of the Jacobean Church. In France the Dominicans are also known as the Jacobins, after their cloister of Saint-Jacques (Saint Jacobus in Latin) in Paris. But during the French Revolution there was also an important faction called the Jacobins, so for us foreigners it can all get a bit confusing.

    Address: Parvis des Jacobins, 31000 Toulouse
    Directions: Aerial view and photo on monumentum.fr
    Phone: +33 5 61 22 39 52
    Website: http://toulouse.dominicains.com/

    Next: Jacobean Convent

    Jacobean Church Jacobean Church At the Jacobean Church At the Jacobean Church Jacobean Church
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    Couvent des Jacobins

    by iaint Written Mar 20, 2014

    One of the big landmarks in the city.
    I’d visited when I lived here, but wanted to go back. Unfortunately, it was in the middle of major renovation work - open, but a mess.
    It was built in 1230 by the Dominican order, which had been founded in the city in 1215.
    The remains of St Thomas Aquinas are held here in a gilt box.
    I like the cloister. Calm in the middle of a busy part of the city.
    Entry is free, but they do charge €4 (rather apologetically because of the work going on) to get into the cloister. Worth it.
    I’ll post the official address, but I went in from rue Lakanal and Pl des Jacobins. The official address looked closed.

    interior cloister
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    Abbaye des Jacobins

    by gwened Written Dec 19, 2013

    another wonderful place to visit on your stay in Toulouse. It is open every day from 10h to 18h, you entered thru the Church near rue Lakanal

    The convent of the Jacobins is one of the most original buildings of the city. Mother House of the order of Dominicans, founded to fight against Catharism, it fascinates by its architecture, wide and bright, characteristic of the southern Gothic. Inside the famous "Palm" of the Jacobins and its 22 ribs supporting the choir of the Church. The seat of the University of Toulouse, it houses the relics of St. Thomas Aquinas. The restored building has regained its former splendour, modern stained glass emits a light ranging through the seasons.

    the cloister hosts various cultural events throughout the year: concerts, festivals in the cloister and the exhibitions in the old refectory of the convent.

    A bit of history

    Toulouse is the cradle of the order of Dominicans, created in 1215 by Saint Dominic.
    Between 1230 and 1385, the Dominicans built the convent complex of the Jacobins. It is interesting to note that thanks to its great popularity, the Dominican convent of the rue St. Jacques in Paris gave its name, "Jacobins", to all the Dominican convents of France.

    The convent complex expanded over the following centuries with the construction North of the Church, the cloister, refectory, Chapter House and the chapel Saint-Antonin.

    In this totally made of brick construction, the contrast is spectacular between the solid, even austere outside aspect and the extraordinary lightness of interior architecture. Thus, a double nave is separated by huge columns, from which flow vaults of warheads in Star ending by the radiation of the veins of the gigantic and celebrates "Palm of the Jacobins".

    its huge filling and wonderful, see it. The religious order webpage
    http://toulouse.dominicains.com/spip.php?article189

    main door off rue lakanal inside right the chapel of Jacobins inside cloister of the abbey convent of jacobins
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    Jacobins église - church

    by breughel Updated Feb 18, 2011

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    Magnificent pillars.

    If the outside of the church of the Jacobins, except for the bell tower, does not arouse the aesthetic enthusiasm, the inside with its magnificent pillars in the form of palm trees deserves the visit.
    The pillar with its 22 nervures which supports the polygonal choir is amazing.

    This church contains in its centre, partially hidden under a modern paving stone, the grave of St. Thomas d'Aquin (1225 -1274), Doctor of the Church. This great theologian and philosopher was member of the order of the Dominicans whose head home was the convent of the Jacobins of Toulouse.
    Discrete tomb for the greatest thinker of Christianism (he is called the Christian Aristotle) with no signs of devotion as usually met in churches containing the remains of saints.

    ================
    Piliers en forme de palmier.

    Si l'extérieur de l'église des Jacobins, à part le clocher, ne suscite pas l'enthousiasme esthétique, l'intérieur avec ses magnifiques piliers en forme de palmiers mérite la visite.
    Le pilier avec ses 22 nervures qui soutient le chœur polygonal étonne et ravit.

    Cette église contient en son centre, partiellement caché sous une dalle moderne, le tombeau de St. Thomas d'Aquin, docteur de l'Eglise. Ce grand théologien et philosophe était membre de l'ordre des Frères Prêcheurs c'est-à-dire les Dominicains dont la maison mère était précisément le couvent des Jacobins de Toulouse. C'est ainsi que sa tombe se trouve en ce lieu.
    Je n'ai constaté autour de son tombeau aucun signe de dévotion selon la tradition du culte des saints présent dans de si nombreuses églises contenant les restes de saints célèbres.
    Pas la moindre bougie allumée en l'honneur du plus grand penseur du Christianisme. Si j'étais étudiant à Toulouse je ne manquerais pourtant pas, avant les examens, d'invoquer à tout hasard l'aide de ce grand intellectuel !

    Pilier en forme de palmier Tombeau de St. Thomas d'Aquin
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    Mirror

    by black_mimi99 Written Apr 24, 2010

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    This is not upsidedown! There was a huge mirror at the base of the column so you could easily see the intricate painting detail of the ceiling. This mirror 'trick' which makes it a great space. Around the bottom of the far end column is what appears to be a circle of glass, further inspection shows you something completely different - it's a mirrored surface. as you peer over it's like looking down the side of mountain - you could feel as if you could fall - your mind has to readjust to say it's a mirror. The effect is immense then you start to play - you look at the length and the width using the mirror and thereby creating a great space.

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    Église des Jacobins

    by black_mimi99 Written Apr 24, 2010

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    West of du Capitole is the brick-bult Gothic church of the Jacobins (1260-1292), with a cloister of 1307.
    This extraordinary Gothic structure, flooded by day in multicoloured lgh from the huge stained windows, seems to defy gravity.
    A single row of seven 22m- high columns, running smack down the middle of the nave, look for all the world like palm trees as they spread their fanned vaulting.

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    Study the Chapel of St. Antoninus (6)

    by hquittner Written Aug 19, 2009

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    The chapel was built off the cloister between the Chapter House and the Refectory between 1337-41 by a donation of a powerful Friar who became the fourth Bishop of Palmiers. It became the mortuary chapel for the Brethren and select others. The walls and ceiling are covered with colorful murals depicting the Second Apocalyptic Vision with Christ surrounded by the Evangelistic symbols and most of the Elders holding musical instruments. The walls supplement this with surprisingly beautiful Angels playing a variety of instruments plus scenes from the Martyrdom of the Saint, which are hard to decipher even if you know his story, because of the degradation of the work in the 19C when the chapel was the veterinary infirmary of the military stables that the cloister had become. The artists are not known.

    Part of Vaulting with Elder-Musicians Murals of Side Wall (Angels & Story) Christ in Judgement (On Vault) A Beautiful Angel Musician Apse of Chapel
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    Look At the Refectory (5)

    by hquittner Written Aug 19, 2009

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    The Refecetory sits at the Northeast edge of the cloister . It was completed for Christmas 1303. Outside of it are fragments of an ancient wash basin The inside is large and the wooden beams and vaulting have been painted to simulate brick and stone. It makes a fine recital hall and was so used just before our visit in the annual Piano Festival.

    The Refectory at the Northeast Cloister Edge The Interior The False Stone Wooden Vaulting
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    Emerge Into the Cloister (3)

    by hquittner Updated Aug 19, 2009

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    The Cloister was built from 1307-10. It has slender double columns of marble with grotesque capitals. They are better carved and more fanciful than the earlier ones seen at other sites in town. Only the North and West Galleries are original. The other two have been rebuilt after 1960 with found or equivalent pieces. There are unrerestored washing basin fragments, but a restored central fountain base. The cloister lies to the North of the church and the other conventual buildings open off it.

    Cloister View with Arcade Fragment (view East) Central Cloister Fountain Double Capital An Original Cloister Gallery Another Capital
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    Visit the Chapter House (4)

    by hquittner Written Aug 19, 2009

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    The Chapter House is on the East side of the Cloister and wass built between 1299-1301. It is a cross-vaulted structure with its arches between two slender hexagonaal columns creating three bays which presnt themselves into the cloister as a central portal and two windows that have lost their interior glass and tracery.On its east wall is a small chapel which on our visit held a grand piano used in an earlier recital that was part of the annual September Piano Festival. High on the walls are remnants of ancient wall paintings of religious emblems. The floor has been restored with terra cotta tiles that copy the original ones and some old gravestones have also been inserted there.

    Chapter House from East Cloister Gallery The Vaulting and Supports Its Chapel Wall Murals Floor Tiles and A Tombstone
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    Enter the Church (2)

    by hquittner Written Aug 18, 2009

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    On entering the church which has two naves with a roof supporting central row of seven tall columns, one is reminded of how eagerly the people of Toulouse responded to the new 13C light and spaciousness in their churches which matched the brilliant sunlight of their town. This church outdid the others in stages over the century (but the inspired architect is unknown). The pal tree like column and rib work has been widely imitated down to small Gothic chapels (like that much later in the Cluny in Paris). So magnificent is it that the Avignon Pope Urban V decided that the body of the greatest Dominican, St. Thomas Aquinas, be transferred to rest here (even though Thomas had never visited Toulouse during his lifetime). He has remained in the church under the Altar slab ever since (except for a brief 100 year removal). The only 14C glass in the church is a rather abstract set in the two West Rose windows. The rest of the glass is by Max Ingrand (1958), one of our favorite glass designers, who has followed the chromatic abstract concept of the older glass.

    The Columned Nave Toward the Apse Altar-Tomb of Thomas Aquinas Stained Glass - Max Ingrand (1958) Colored Rose Window  (14C) The Strutwork of the Nave
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    The Big Red Brick Church (1)

    by hquittner Written Aug 18, 2009

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    The Dominican Order was founded in 1215 by said saint and the first monastery of the Order was started in Toulouse the next year. A gift of land led to the building of the church and monastery complex in 1229. With limited funds, it was built almost entirely of brick except for added decorations along the way of small columns, gargoyles and tower toppings. The monastery buildings were added just after 1300. The only door is Romanesque in style and is on the West front where there is a small Rose Window. The impressive belfry is an imitation of that of St.-Sernin and was built and finished at the same time in 1298. Its steeple was dismantled during the Revolution. Its appearance is attractive, forceful but also restful. Its interior is a marvelous example of Rayonnant Gothic.

    The Simple Romanesque Facade with Two Roses Apse and Belfry South Side Buttresses The Plain Romanesque Portal The Spireless Belfry-Top
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    Ensemble conventuel des Jacobins

    by mikey_e Updated Dec 23, 2008

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    The Ensemble conventuel des Jacobins (the Jacobin’s convent collection, essentially) is a massive Gothic building in the maze of streets that occupy the area south-west of the Place du Capitole. It was constructed in the 13th century and actually incorporates three separate structures: a church, a cloister and a convent. The huge size of the building owes to the fact that it was supposed to aid the preaching order of the Jacobins to combat the Cathar heresy, and also because this site housed the University of Toulouse when it was first founded in 1229. The church housed the relics of Saint Thomas of Aquinas until the 1780s, when these were moved to Saint Sernin (the church north of the Place du Capitole), but they were return in the 1970s to mark the 700th anniversary of the Saint’s death. Like many religious sites, it was closed and handed over to the city after the French Revolution, but eventually regained its status as a religious institution. The sheer size of the building is awe-inspiring, especially once you enter it. Nevertheless, the real attraction in the church is the Jacobins’ Palm-tree, a column and balustrades inside the church that rise up 28 meters. The curators have been thoughtful enough to place mirrors at knee’s length below so that you can properly admire them without hurting your neck. There is also a very interesting bell-tower, not dissimilar from the one that is attached to Saint-Sernin, although without the same sort of historical importance.

    L'Ensemble conventuel des Jacobin from afar The entrance to the Church Stained glass near the entrance The Palmier des Jacobins Stained glass in the mirror
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    Le couvent des Jacobins

    by leosantanajr Written Aug 16, 2005

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    Mandatory thing to do here in Toulouse....
    ...a little bit from the official web page:
    "L'Ensemble Conventuel des Jacobins de Toulouse, ancien couvent des Frères Prêcheurs, est un magnifique exemple de construction monastique des XIIIe et XIVe siècles, entièrement réalisé en briques, véritable joyau de l'art gothique languedocien.
    L'église est un monument exceptionnel empreint d'une profonde harmonie qui, en réalité, n'est qu'apparence. Cette très forte impression d'unité dissimule, de fait, une construction compliquée, réalisée en étapes successives qui répondaient à des besoins sans cesse renouvelés de l'Ordre des Frères Prêcheurs alors en pleine expansion.
    Le contraste est spectaculaire entre l'aspect massif, voire austère, de l'extérieur et l'extraordinaire légèreté de l'architecture intérieure : une double nef est séparée par des colonnes de vingt-deux mètres de haut, d'où jaillissent, portées à vingt-huit mètres, des voûtes d'ogives qui se terminent par le rayonnement des nervures du gigantesque et célèbre palmier."

    Jardin des Jacobins
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