Cathédrale Saint-Michel

Cathedral Saint-Michel de Carcassonne, the ancient parish church located in a suburb of the city of Carcassonne, the Bastide Saint-Louis, is a Gothic building constructed from the Languedoc from 1247 on the orders of King Louis IX, eager replace an old shrine destroyed during the siege by Raymond Trencavel II in 1240.

Smaller in size at the origin, the church will be revealed soon enough size to the point that it will be useful to enlarge upon 1283. During the fire at the country house by the troops of the Black Prince in 1355, right in the Franco-English conflict, the Saint-Michel is one of the few buildings still standing, but it suffered terrible damage. During the reconstruction campaign that ensued, it was decided to incorporate the church into the new fortifications: it is still possible to see some traces of these changes, particularly with regard to the apse, which remains almost a cylindrical tower of the military aspect. Trenches up to 10 meters wide will be drilled around the building, before being filled and replaced in the nineteenth century by a wide public promenade.

In 1803, it was decided to transfer the Episcopal, which stood since the Middle Ages in the cathedral of Saint-Nazaire, in the church of Saint-Michel, who takes on the title of cathedral. Profound changes are decided to adapt the building to its new function, but a fire broke out in 1849, significantly disrupting the work. In 1857, the direction of the work is entrusted to the architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc, who has made his first major project in the city of Carcassonne.

The plan of the cathedral is characterized by relative simplicity. It forms a nave of eight bays with a remarkable range of 20 meters (it is only exceeded by the cathedral in Mirepoix and Girona in Catalonia, and bordered by several side chapels. These are topped with roses that were added by Viollet-le-Duc. The choir of the sanctuary consists of a seven-sided apse, which are grafted two chapels. It is pierced by several large bays Gothic style, containing windows dating from the fourteenth century were thoroughly restored by master glass artist Alfred Gerente, shortly after the fire of 1849. The nave is covered with ribbed vaults, which were mounted from 1657 to 1752, replacing an exposed timbers, while the vaults of the choir date from the thirteenth century .

The front, quite severe, has the sole decorative element a large rosette of 8 meters in diameter, like many area churches, beginning with the Cathedral of St. Nazaire. She is flanked by a rather massive tower forming a rectangular base on three floors before moving to a model with octagonal top. The tower contains eight bells stolen. Cathedral Saint-Michel is a listed monument since 1886.

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