Amiens Cathedral

Amiens Cathedral is a Catholic church located in Amiens in the French department Somme in the region Hauts-de-France. Dedicated to the Virgin Mary, it the cathedral belongs to the diocese of Amiens. Its overall length is 145 meters and its height is 42.30 meters. Classified as a Historic Monument in France since 1862, it has been listed since 1981 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Western facade of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame of Amiens:

Cathédrale Notre-Dame d'Amiens

The 13th century cathedral of Amiens is huge. The next picture shows a view of the choir.

Dans la Cathédrale Notre-Dame d'Amiens

The west portals of the Cathedral of Amiens were built in the 13th-century.

West portals of the Cathedral of Amiens

The northern side aisles were built at the end of the 13th century until the second half of the 14th century. The building was enhanced in the 15th century. Which included a reinforcement of the pillar structure.

Bas-côté nord de la nef

The portal of Saint Firmin (a local saint) on the west facade. The portal was built from 1220 to 1230.

Portail du Saint Firmin

The nave of the cathedral was classified as cultural heritage site in 1862.

Nave of the Cathedral of Amiens

The portal of the Golden Virgin (la Vierge dorée) on the southern side of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame d’Amiens was built in the 13th century.

Portail de la Vierge Dorée

In the transept:

Croisillon nord du transept de la cathédrale d'Amiens

The rose window in the north transept was made at the end of the 13th or the beginning of the 14th century.

Rose du croisillon nord du transept de la cathédrale d'Amiens

The fight of James the Great against Hermogenes. This relief was created after 1511.

La Lutte de saint Jacques contre Hermogène

The chapel of Saint Joseph was created in 1291, but it was dedicated to somebody else. Later it was dedicated to Charles Borromeo (1538-1584). In 1832 it was dedicated to Saint Joseph. The marble altar was made in 1756. The statue in the center was created in 1833.

Chapelle Saint-Joseph

The painting The Assomption of Mary was made by Frans Francken II (1581-1642) in the chapel: Chapelle Notre-Dame du Puy or Chapelle du Pilier rouge.

Assomption de la Bienheureuse Vierge Marie

Tomb of Adrien de Hénencourt, who died in 1530, he was a canon (and not cannon) of the cathedral chapter. This tomb was made between 1527 and 1531. I guess the careful man starts early to build his grave. Tombs like that are called “enfeu”, in the fire.

Enfeu du doyen Adrien de Hénencourt

Windows of the chapels of Sacré-Cœur (Sacred Heart), Axiale (Axial) and Saint-François d’Assise (Francis of Assisi). Pierre Gaudin made the blueish windows to the left in 1933. His nephew Jean Gaudin made the red looking windows in the middle (left) in 1932 and 1933. The blue (and red) stained glass windows to the right were made in 1240. They were found in a storage room after a fire. Those panels were restored in 1984 by Jeannette Weiss-Gruber. She also made replacements for the window panels that were missing. Those windows were inserted in the 1990s.

Verrières de la chapelle du Sacré-Cœur, Axiale et Saint-François d'Assise de la cathédrale d'Amiens

The chapel of the Sacred Heart was built in or around 1240, but it was decorated completely different. You wouldn’t guess it, because it looks rather tasteful, but all the interior decoration except the flags and the windows was made in the 19th century. In 1866 they had a cholera epidemic and the bishop of Amiens thought it would be a good idea to follow the cult of Sacré-Cœur (Sacred Heart). Usually Sacred Heart means that there is a Jesus somewhere who points at his bleeding heart entwined by thorns. Luckily not here. Eugène Viollet-le-Duc painted the decoration of the chapel. Théodore Maillot and Auguste Steinheil painted the saints. Placide Poussielgue-Rusand made the altar and Aimé and Louis Duthoit made the statues. All in the 19th century. The windows were made in 1932-1933 by Jean Gaudin in the 20th century. And the flags are those of the allies that defended Amiens in 1918.

Chapelle du Sacré-Cœur

Built around 1240 the Axpal chapel was restored in the 19th century and changed as far as the interior goes. The altar was made in 1862 by Louis Duthoit. The statue of Madonna and Child was made in the 19th century by Louis Bachelet. The windows were made by one of the Gaudins, probably in the 20th century.

Chapelle axiale

Darker view of the windows of the Chapelle axiale. They were made by the Gaudins. Probably in the 20th century. They tell the story of the life of Mary, mother of Jesus.

Chapelle axiale vitraux

From left to right those are the windows of the Chapelle axiale (blueish), Chapelle du Sacré-Cœur (redish) and Chapelle Saint-François d’Assise (blueish). The windows in the Chapelle Saint-François d’Assise were made in 1991 by usage of shards of the old 13th century windows. The windows of the Chapelle du Sacré-Cœur were made in 1932-1933 by Jean Gaudin.

Church windows of the Cathedral of Amiens

In the 19th century Alfred Gérente made this window in the Chapelle Sainte-Theudosie in the style of the 13th century. It shows the life of Theudosie d’Amiens, a local saint. At the bottom of the window the donors Napoleon III. and his wife Eugénie pray in front of an altar. Above them are the Pope Pius IX and the bishop Antoine de Salinis.

Chapelle Sainte-Theudosie

Fun fact about th grave of canon Guilain Lucas: it hosts five corpses. There is no space to waste in this cathedral. The first defunct here is Arnoul de la Pierre, bishop of Amiens and he died in 1247. In 1751 they needed more space and placed Cardinal Jean de La Grange (1325-1402) on top of Arnoul de la Pierre. That’s the gisant (lying figure). On top of the two is the effigy of canon Guilain Lucas, an otherwise not too important man who died in 1628. The sculptures were made in 1636. They show him, a Madonna and a weeping angel. The weeping angel is the most known sculpture of Nicolas Blasset (1600-1659), a sculptor from Amiens. In WWI British and American soldiers have sent postcards depicting this angel to their families and that’s why it’s wellknown. In this tomb lie also 2 nephews of Guilain Lucas, Guillin Lucas (who died in 1648) and Honoré Gabriel Brunel (who died in 1676). They were also canons.

Tombeau du chanoine Guilain Lucas

This choir chapel was changed in 1853. They built a spiral staircase that leads to the upper floor. You can’t see it on this photo. They added a door to a bigger choir chapel too and you can’t see it here. But there’s a small green exit-sign and under it is a door that leads to an outer building called Chapelle des catéchismes, which is or was used in winter and is also called Chapelle d’Hiver (winter chapel). It’s a small building and doesn’t need much heating. The windows of this choir chapel contain rests of the 13th century windows, that show the life of Mary, mother of Jesus and Saint Leonard of Noblac (died 559 AD). The painting to the left was created in the 18th century and shows the Transfiguration of Jesus (an event where Jesus is transfigured and becomes radiant in glory upon a mountain).

Chapelle Saint-Quentin

In the 13th-century nave.

In the nave of Amiens Cathedral

View of the northern transept.

View of the northern transept

This altar stands at the northern side of the ambulatory in Amiens Cathedral. It’s called Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Pitié. The altar was made by Jean-Baptiste Dupuis in 1756.

Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Pitié

The relief scenes to the left show the life of Saint Sebastian. The reliefs were made in the 16th century. This is the northern ambulatory in Amiens cathedral.

La partie nord de la clôture du chœur

What do we know? To the left is the gisant (lying sculpture) of Gérard de Conchy, who was bishop in Amiens from 1247 to 1257. Which means he died in 1257 and his funeral monument must be from the 13th century. But what kind of altar is the altar to the right? And the painting. It looks so much like Icons from the Eastern churches. I should have asked the woman that was sitting there. But I didn’t want to disturb anybody. I know the first line of this comment is rather metaphysical, compared to the rest of the comment. I didn’t want to write: “what do I know?” I say this a hundred times per day and it expresses my helplessness towards and ignorance of the world in general.

What do we know?

The is part of the northern fence around the choir in Amiens Cathedral. It shows life and death of Saint John the Baptist. The small reliefs in the base show how he was born and when he went into the desert and things like that. The upper alcoves show from the right to the left: John the Baptist preaches in the desert, John the Baptist baptises Jesus, John the Baptist answers the Pharisees and John the Baptist bears witness to Jesus.

Vie et mort de Saint-Jean-Baptiste

Funeral monument of François Faure. François Faure (1612-1687) was bishop in Amiens from 1653 to 1687. He died from a stroke in Paris. His body is buried in the cathedral, his heart in Paris. The funeral monument was made by Jean-Baptiste Duquet in 1687.

Funeral monument of François Faure

The funeral monument of bishop (1706-1733) Pierre Sabatier (1654-1733) was created in 1748 by Jean-Baptiste Dupuis. Imo Pierre Sabatier looks rather happy. I like him. He forbade hunting for clerics in 1715 and they didn’t kill him right away.

Tombeau de l´évêque Pierre Sabatier

Chapelle Saint-Jean-du-Vœu. The original chapel in this place was created in 1291. But from 1709 to 1711 it was refurbished. François Faure (we met him already on another photo) commanded the changing because of a plague (Black Death) in 1699.

Chapelle Saint-Jean-du-Vœu

Rose of the southern transept. There is a net in front of the lower part of the window. It’s because there are small stones falling down? I think it was something like that. The southern rose of the transept of Amiens Cathedral was made at the end of the 15th- and start of the 16th-century. There are a lot of angels depicted. The artist was a man from Picardie (northern France).

Rose du croisillon sud du transept

The Temple of Jerusalem. This bas-relief in the transept is officially classified as historical monument. It was made after 1500 but before 1522/1523. The canon that payed for it died in 1522 or 1523. It shows the cleansing of the Temple. It’s made of stone.

Bas-relief le Temple de Jérusalem

Chaire de verité. This pulpit was made in 1773. “Chaire de verité”, pulpit of truth is a rather dramatical designation the French use for every pulpit, not only this one. The sculptor was Jean-Baptiste Dupuis and the architect Pierre-Joseph Christophle ( 1715-1781).

Chaire de verité

Door at the transept. I have no idea if this is the exit to the west or east. It might be built at the end of the 13th or at the start of the 14th century. Looks much better in monochrome.

Porte du transept

View of the transept.

View of the transept

The rose of the northern transept in Amiens Cathedral was made at the end of the 13th- or beginning of the 14th-century.

Rose du croisillon nord du transept de la cathédrale d'Amiens

View of the ambulatory of Amiens Cathedral. The red windows are those of the Chapelle du Sacré-Cœur. This part of the bulding was created in the 13th-century around 1240.


In the far left corner is a war memorial for Australian forces that fought on the side of the French to defend Amiens in WWI in 1918. I think this is a side aisle of the transept. Amiens cathedral is huge and a bit puzzling.

Side aisle Amiens Cathedral

The chevet seen from the southeast. This part of the cathedral was built between the years 1290 and 1375. The statue shows Peter the Hermit (1050-1115 or 1131). He looks rather angry, as if he wanted to ram the crucifix in our hearts or as if we were all vampires. Reason for this is, his legend. He is said to have initiated and conducted the First Crusade (1096-1099). He WOULD ram his crucifix somewhere if he were with us today and if we were no devoted Catholics (which I’m not). In the late 11th century they were kind of serious concerning religious devotion. They probably thought after all Peter is from Amiens. But that makes me wonder, if they have a Hitler monument in the Austrian town where Hitler was born. Okay I exaggerate, but: ” Jerusalem was reached in June 1099 and the Siege of Jerusalem resulted in the city being taken by assault from 7 June to 15 July 1099, during which its defenders were ruthlessly massacred.” (Wikipedia The statue was inaugurated in 1854 and made by Gédéon de Forceville (1799-1886).

Cathédrale Notre-Dame d'Amiens

This gisant (lying tomb figure) was made of bronze in the 13th century. This gisant and the other one in the Cathedral are the only bronze sculptures of the 13th century that still exist in France. All the others were destroyed by the revolutionists. They were recast as cannons.

Évrard de Fouilloy (1145-1222) initiated the construction of Amiens Cathedral and he even placed the cornerstone. He had the vision that the Cathedral would be visited by pilgrims of whole Europe and to ensure that, he brought relic of the face of John the Baptist to Amiens.

That’s another story, but in short: this relic consists of the front of a human skull and legend has it that it was stolen in Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade by a canon from Picquigny (Somme) named Wallon de Sarton. The story is of course rather exotic. They wouldn’t have said the relic was stolen, it was regained. And legend has it, that Wallon de Sarton got it in 1206, while the Fourth Crusade went from 1202 to 1204. And the crusaders sacked Constantinople in 1204. We’ll never know.

Gisant Évrard de Fouilloy

This chapel is called Chapelle Notre-Dame de Foy. The wood panelling was made in 1765. The altar in the centre hosts a relief made by Nicolas Blasset (1600-1659), who made also the weeping angel. The relief made in 1655 of white marble against red marble rouge de Rance shows the Annunciation.

Chapelle Notre-Dame de Foy

The Chapelle Saint-Étienne was built in 1300. The decoration was carried out like this in 1768. The painting on the altar however was made by Laurent de La Hyre (1606 -1656) in 1628. It depicts the “Swoon of the Virgin”. Nicolas Blasset (1600-1659) sculpted the statues of Saint Stephen and Augustine of Hippo. The painting to the left was painted by G. Gouget (whoever that was) in 1841. Its theme is “Jesus Descent from the Cross” and it was added because the chapels serve as Stations of the Cross.

Chapelle Saint-Étienne

Southern side aisle in front of the chapel Sainte-Marguerite. The chapel was built in 1292. The metal fence was made in 1769. The north and south side aisles or collaterals of the nave are 19.7m high and the width between the axes of the columns is 8.65 m. The view leads to the ambulatory.

Nef collatérale sud

The choir of Amiens Cathedral was built in 1260, 30 years after the nave. The wall around the choir was made in 1530. The iron gate was forged in the years 1755 to 1768 by Jean Veyren (1707-1788). The two statues depict Vincent de Paul and Charles Borromeo were created by Jean-Baptiste Dupuis (1698-1780).

Chœur de la Cathedrale Notre-Dame d'Amiens

Chapelle Saint-Sébastien. First a comment regarding the light. The first version I made was rather dark. It had beautiful natural light. But the light was on the chairs and chairs aren’t that interesting. So I made this version. It IS dark in Amiens Cathedral and thus this picture was made with ISO 1600. And it was still rather dark. Therefore the structure is not as smooth as it would be with ISO 100.

Now to the content. In the front to the left is the chapel of Saint Sebastian. Its place is at the northern end of the ambulatory. It was built in 1339. Its sculptures were carried out by Nicolas Blasset (1600-1659) in 1634. To the left of the altar stands Saint Roch with his dog, to the right stands Louis IX of France and above the altar stands Saint Sebastian. The female statues at the head of the altar are Justice (left) and Peace (right).

The altar carries a painting by Guillaume Hergosse (1640-1711). It shows the Crucifixion of Jesus.

Chapelle Saint-Sébastien

The is the center stone of the labyrinth in Amiens Cathedral. The inscription reads: “In the year of grace 1220, this work was begun. The blessed bishop of this diocese was then Evrard, King of France was Louis, son of Philippe le Sage. The one who was project manager was named Master Robert and nicknamed “of Luzarches”. After him came Master Thomas de Cormont and after him his son Master Renaut who put in this place, this inscription in the year of the incarnation 1288.”

La pierre centrale

The nave of Amiens Cathedral was built from 1220 to 1236.

In the nave of Amiens Cathedral

War memorial in Amiens Cathedral for the soldiers of Great Britain and Ireland who fell in WWI.

Monument aux morts

The portal of the “Vierge Dorée” (Golden Mary, mother of Jesus). If I understood right, those statues depict local saints.

Le portail de la Vierge Dorée

Le portail de la Vierge Dorée

All the photos in this article were made by myself and uploaded to Flickr beforehand.

One thought on “Amiens Cathedral

  1. […] baptismal font in Amiens Cathedral doesn’t look like much and by all means not like a baptismal font. It is one though. The […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s