Saint Front Cathedral
Although we first visited Périgueux three years ago and only for a short time, we did stay long enough to visit the cathedral of Saint Front. This week we went to it again this time with the intention of viewing it from the the bridge that crosses the Isle River (the island). Saint Front is unique among French cathedrals in that it is capped with sixteen cupolas topped with spires. The style is clearly Roman but the scale is massive. Built on top of an 9th century monestary that burnt down (its roof was timbered), the Cathedral of Saint Front was build in the 12th century. The cathedral has undergone major architectural renovations most especially in the 1800’s.
The view from the bridge is quite impressive and as you approach the church on foot, it seems to grow in scale. Inside is a cavernous space that is divided by huge columns that support the domes. The supporting columns are so large that arches cut through them from each side so that you can easily walk through them. Looking up you get a sense of how large the domes are. There are three very big central domes down the center and two on each side forming a Roman cross. There are also many small cupolas surrounding the larger domes. Tall arched windows frame the beautifully crafted stained glass picture-graphs. There are original paintings of religious scenes some dating back several centuries. One of the things that struck us about this cathedral is that, being Roman in style, it is devoid of ornate detail that later Gothic and Baroque style cathedrals displayed.
Here are some of our favorite images…