French Gothic architecture

The French Gothic architecture or French art designates an architectural style of the second part of the Middle Ages that emerged in what is now France as an evolution of Romanesque architecture. It appeared in the 12th century in the regions of the Île-de-France and Haute-Picardie under the name of opus francigenum – in Latin, meaning ‘work of France’, by Île-de-France – and spread quickly: first, to the north of the Loire river and then to the south: later it reached all of Western Europe and continued in use until the middle of the sixteenth century, and even until the seventeenth century in some countries.

Gothic techniques and aesthetics were perpetuated in French architecture beyond the sixteenth century, in the middle of the classical period, in some details and ways of reconstruction. In the nineteenth century there was also a true recovery with the wave of historicism, which reached the early twentieth century, a revival style that was called neo-Gothic and in France appeared somewhat later than in other European countries.

Its strong identity, both philosophical and architectural, probably represents one of the greatest artistic achievements of the Middle Ages.

Aesthetics of Gothic architecture
Although it is common to summarize the Gothic architecture by the use of the pointed arch (the “ogive” of the ancient antiquarians), you can not reduce a specific architectural style, or any other art or discipline, to its technical characteristics. Opposing the Romanesque to the Gothic by the use of the half-point arch or the ogive, in addition does not make sense historically since both the pointed arch and the cross vault were used long before the appearance of the Gothic buildings.

Gothic is also characterized by the use of many other architectural or decorative resources: the alternation of strong pillars and weak pillars, which rhythmized the naves and reinforced the impression of length, of horizontality; the handling of the height / width ratio of the naves that accentuated or diminished the height sensation of the vaults; the shape of the pillars, the decoration of the capitals, the proportion of the plants (large arches, clerestory, tall windows). Thus, the architectural elements were put at the service of choice and aesthetic research and were only tools to achieve the desired effects: to raise increasingly high ships, it was necessary to improve the technique of the flying buttresses; to increase the light and hollow the walls, the use of the pointed arch was more appropriate;

In short, the aesthetics of Gothic architecture was characterized by:

the will of height (cathedral of Saint-Pierre de Beauvais);
the search for verticality (Notre-Dame de Amiens cathedral);
the alternation of hollows and massifs (Notre-Dame de Laon cathedral);
the fusion of space (cathedral of Saint-Étienne de Bourges);
the multiplication of the games of lights and colors (cathedral of Notre-Dame de Chartres);
the will to welcome the largest number of faithful (two thirds of the Gothic church were reserved at that time to the laity).

The Gothic style appeared mainly in the Upper Picardy and the Île-de-France, although all the first protogothic buildings were erected in the French region (of Île-de-France). The main hypothesis to explain this is that at that time there were numerous early Christian monuments in the region, especially cathedrals with thin walls, perforated and armed with numerous gaps. The region was already prepared for the new technical and aesthetic choices of the Gothic. It coincided with the arrival to power of the Capetiansand with the consolidation of the State that, as it annexed domains of the feudal lords, imposed as a symbol of real power the renovation of those buildings. Finally, the area bounded with two dynamic regions in terms of architectural inventions: Burgundy – which invented the pointed arch in the abbey of Cluny and the flying buttresses in Cluny and Vézelay – and Normandy – which imported the cross vault of England (Abbey of jumièges, abbey Lessay -. Picardy and Ile-de-France, places and mixing step, the first Gothic viewed as masters synthesized all these influences.

The style evolved in France over time: the so-called “primitive” Gothic (twelfth century), followed by the “classical” Gothic (approximately 1190-1230), then the “radiant” Gothic (rayonnant, ca. 1230-ca. 1350), and finally the Gothic «flamígero» (flamboyant, XV and XVI centuries). In the Renaissance, the French Gothic style evolved into a hybrid style, which combined Gothic structures with a Renaissance decoration (church of Saint-Étienne-du-Mont in Paris).

Its geographical expansion was mainly in Western Europe and declined in many local variants: gothic Angevin, gothic Norman, Perpendicular…

Before the Gothic
From the end of the tenth century in France the churches were already built in the Romanesque style common in a large part of Western Europe: the naves were often covered with a barrel vault; the walls were thick and stabilized with massive buttresses located on the outside. The number and size of the windows was limited and the interior of the buildings was decorated with colorful frescoes.

Modern art historians tend to reduce the gap between the Romanesque and Gothic styles, showing that the ancient heritage was not completely forgotten in the Gothic style and that sculptors and architects were often inspired by the well-known Romanesque methods.

The primitive gothic or protogótico (1130-1180)
Although the technical elements used by the masters of the time already existed for many centuries (warhead), the construction of the choir and the facade of the basilica of Saint-Denis and the cathedral of Saint Etienne de Sens are generally considered as the first major milestones in the genesis of Gothic aesthetics in architecture.

The first Gothic buildings appeared around 1130-1150 in the Île-de-France and especially in Picardy. At that time, the increase of the population, consequence of the agricultural and commercial growth, also required the increase of the size of the religious buildings. The cathedrals of Trier and of Geneva, in the fourth century, had already been enormous in relation to their population, a faithful reflection of another motivation: the pride of the bishops or abbots for the construction of these first Gothic buildings and after “urban patriotism” ») Religion, the cult of relics, was already an essential component of the life of the faithful.

The diffusion of technical innovations made construction work more productive. And the development of cities and commerce gave rise to the emergence of a rich bourgeoisie who wanted to free themselves from the power of feudal lords of the 11th century through communal letters, with the obtaining of franchises (rights of taxes, of justice…) and the exemption of the seigneurial rights specified in said letters. This bourgeoisie also wished to emancipate itself from the ecclesiastical power, celebrating its councils no longer in the churches, but in the town councils of the city whose beffroisCivic churches with bells competed with the religious bell towers. According to the circumstances, these three powers competed or allied to finance the new churches and cathedrals: there was even competition between the clergy of the cathedral and that of other parochial churches, whose responsibility in the collection and administration of the funds for its construction was guaranteed by the factory council (conseil de fabrica).

These sources of funding were mainly the income of the bishop (who always participated in the initiative of the first Gothic buildings), the chapter of canons (which will take over in the mid-thirteenth century, as the canons go playing a role more important), the donations of the nobles (donations in “pure, perpetual and irrevocable gift” (“pure, perpétuelle et irrévocable aumône”) or solicitation of masses) and of the bourgeois (especially for petitions about their health), corporations (being represented in the stained glass windows in exchange) or by the contributions of all the faithful (petitions, indulgences, transport of relics…).

First realizations
Although it was not consecrated until 1163, the work of the cathedral of Saint-Étienne de Sens began in 1135 and, in fact, is considered to be the first of the Gothic cathedrals. However, the first essays of the new style did not concern the cathedrals.

The churches and abbey buildings of the Abbey of Madame de Morienval (a warhead cruiser of about 1125), of Saint-Martin de Paris (choir of 1130) and of Saint-Germer-de-Fly (1135) already have some Gothic characteristics. They predate the abbey of Saint-Denis, but this was one of the first religious buildings still standing that clearly stood out from the Romanesque style.

The Benedictine abbey of Saint-Denis was a prestigious and rich establishment, thanks to the action of Suger de Saint-Denis, abbot of it from 1122 to 1151. Suger wanted to renovate the old Carolingian church to highlight the relics of Saint Denis with a new chorus: for this I wanted to make an important elevation and have holes that let in the light. Suger decided to finish the construction of his new abbey inspired by the new style already glimpsed in the cathedral of Saint-Étienne de Sens. In 1140, he built a new western facade of the “harmonic” type (harmonique), drawing on models Normans románicos such as theAbbey of Saint-Étienne de Caen that offers a good example of Norman-harmonic facade, and breaking with the Carolingian tradition of the western massif. In 1144, the consecration of the choir of the basilica marked the advent of the new architecture. Returning to the principle of the ambulatory with radiant chapels, duplicating them, he innovated taking advantage of the juxtaposition of the chapels, previously isolated, separating them by a single buttress. Each of the chapels will have large twin holes equipped with stained glass that filter the light; the vaulting adopted the technique of the vault of crucería to distribute the forces better towards the pillars.

The first Gothic art was extended during the second part of the 12th century in the north of France. The secular clergy was then tempted by a certain architectural splendor. Saint-Denis is going to be the prototype but that direction, very daring, will not be immediately understood and followed: harmonic facade, double ambulatory, ribbed vaults. The cathedral of San Esteban de Sens was another initiating example of this movement, although less daring than Saint-Denis: alternating supports (strong pillars and weak pillars), sexpartite vaults, walls that remain relatively thick – the use of flying buttresses is not it generalized until the classical period (although its first appearance was dated in the 1150s at Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Until the discovery of that architectural element in 1130 in the Abbey of Cluny.) However, we can see innovations, such as the absence of a transept that unifies the space and allows for more abundant lighting. The contributions of Sens were understood more quickly than those of Saint-Denis and will have a greater impact: soon many buildings will follow their example, initially at the north of the Loire.

The cathedral of Laon still presents an “archaic” shape, conserving an elevation on four floors, including the grandstands. The contraempuje of the ship, in spite of the vaults sexpartitas and the alternacia of strong / weak pillars, is still not totally solved.

The classic Gothic (1180-1230)
From the time of Philippe-Auguste, at the end of the 12th century, the French monarchy asserted itself with an expansion of its power and territory: as a result of its rivalry with the Plantagenet, the regions of Aquitaine and Normandy were incorporated into France from the beginning of the thirteenth century, and the completion of the Albigensian Crusade, in 1229, ended with the annexation of the county of Toulouse in 1271. The Holy Roman Empire also lost its prestige in favor of the King of France after the Battle of Bouvines. Thus, France was consolidated as the first power of the Christian West, which will be manifested by the two crusades of the reign of Saint Louis and the foundation in Paris of the first university in Europe.

The classic Gothic opens what is called in the thirteenth century, the Age of Cathedrals: corresponds to the maturation phase and balance of forms (late XII-1230 approx.). The main cathedrals were built at that time – Reims, Bourges, Amiens, etc – and also hundreds of churches, new or modified, in cities and towns, or for monasteries, following the new principles of the late twelfth century. In the cathedrals, the rhythm and decoration were simplified; the vertical impulse was increasingly pronounced; and the architecture became uniform. Meanwhile, the flying buttress, which crosses the lateral corridors to transmit the thrust of the central vault, becomes an essential organ. Its systematic use allowed Chartres the regular creation thanks to the sexpartite vault and the abandonment of the principle of alternating pillars very marked in Sens. It was in the royal domain of the Capetian dynasty that this style found its most classical expression. eleven

In this period the names of the architects begin to be known, especially thanks to the labyrinths (as in Reims). The construction masters rationalized the production using progressively the resource to the prefabrication of stones carved in quarry, and to the standardization of masonry modules. The development of the flying buttresses allowed to suppress the tribunes that previously played that role. The prototype monument is the cathedral of Chartres, an ambitious project with a three-storey elevation that could have been possible thanks to the improvement of counter- pushes (contrebutement). Other European countries are beginning to approach this new architectural form as in England – Canterbury and Salisbury cathedrals – or in Spain – principals of Toledo and Burgos.

Opposition of the Chartres and Bourges models
Art historians considered too early the ambitious project of Chartres Cathedral as the prototype of classical Gothic: the Chartrean model where the balance between vertical lines and horizontal lines will be sought, as well as the flatness of the walls.

The construction of the cathedral of Chartres is framed since 1194 in a context of general emulation made of exchanges and transfers of experiences. It was possible thanks to the improvement of counter-pushes and a better mastery of the ribbed vault, sacrificing the grandstands so characteristic of the years 1140-1180. The large nave now adopts the elevation on three floors: large arcades, clerestory and tall windows. Given the staging in a single plane, you get a new flatness of the wall mural.

The base of the pillars is reduced in relation to the cathedral of Noyon and the lower crushed bull begins to overflow the lead from the base. The establishment of a new type of pilaster of four attached columns will be able to create an endless repetition while visually increasing the vertical thrust. The large arches in pointed arches are extended and outlined with a méplat (flat part) arranged between two moldings that rest on columns of attached supports. In order not to break the impulse of the vertical lines, the hooks of the capitals are now replaced by foliage rings applied to the abacus. The abandonment of the sexpartite vault in favor of a quadripartite vault calledbarlong was a great innovation that creates a regular order obtained by the definitive suppression of the alternation of supports. However, it is subtly remembered as a decorative pattern, varying the design of the pillars that are alternately circular and octagonal. The clerestory of four pointed arches, emphasized by two almond-shaped bands, becomes “continuous” here, creating a horizontal thrust. Another novelty is that the walls and lightweight are seen not only as carriers, but rather as a garment, in which the high windows can now occupy the entire width of the wall and expand the space reserved for the windows: Composed of two geminated lancets systematically pointed, these windows then reach the same height the large arches, bringing more light to the building. They are crowned by a large rose of eight lobes that allow the flowering of the stained glass technique.

This elevation on three floors is still not recognized as a founding act of classical Gothic. It will be rather the transformation of the perception of the volumes and of the interior space by the flatness of the walls and by that new balance between the vertical lines and the horizontal lines which will mark a real advance. The defined aesthetics will have a great posterity. The model of Chartres will not only be retaken in Reims (1211) and Amiens (1221), but also abroad, first in England, in the cathedrals of Canterbury and Salisbury, followed by Spain in the Cathedral of Burgos and later in the Sacrum Germanic Roman Empire in theCologne cathedral.

Following the model of Chartres, the cathedral of Bourges, from 1195, represents another aesthetic, with the desired effects being mainly the games of volumes with a longitudinal perspective and a pyramidal profile.

Henri de Sully, archbishop of Bourges, made a donation to the chapter of the cathedral of Bourges for the construction of a new building. The archbishop was the brother of Eudes de Sully, bishop of Paris, from where there is a similarity of plan and elevation with cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris. Although the idea of a double ambulatory is retaken, the transept disappears, which contributes to the feeling of unity of space and length of the building, completely devoid of the axiality that characterized the Chartrian model. Novelty at that time, all the moldings and capitals have the same height, with only two diameters of columns, whatever their position in the building. If, as in Chartres, the stands are sacrificed for an elevation on three levels, it remains faithful, as in Paris, to the Gothic vault sexpartite, which entails in the central nave, the adoption of alternating strong and weak pilasters that will be skillfully disguised by the presence of eight columns attached to a cylinder. This plasticity is also maintained in Burgundy, in the Saint-Etienne cathedral in Auxerre or in the church of Our Lady of Dijon.

The effect obtained is surprising both for the absence of transept and for the visual opening on the double corridor that extends around the choir: it results in a longitudinal perspective with an impression of immense outer space, freed of limits and whose volumes open in others, in stark contrast to the Chartres model that focuses mainly on the height and the axis that leads to the choir. This leads to the pyramidal profile of the cross section, the five naves having respective heights of 9.0 m, 21.30 m and 37.50 m From the exterior ships to the central nave. In addition, the Bourges model offers a new search for light: the internal collaterals, equipped with triforiums, have an elevation on three floors and the arrangement of buildings, each with tall windows, allows to provide a lateral illumination that is added to the the upper part of the central nave and the choir.

In spite of all these innovations, the model of Bourges will be little followed: it will only be retaken in Saint Julien of Le Mans, redesigned in Saint-Pierre de Beauvais and will not be abroad more than in the cathedral of Santa María de Toledo.

The radiant Gothic
Once again, this style was born in Saint-Denis, with the rehabilitation of the upper parts of the choir of the abbey church in 1231. It was really promoted from the 1240s; the buildings still under construction immediately take into account this new fashion and partially change their plans. The radiant Gothic will grow gradually until around 1350 and will spread throughout Europe with a certain homogeneity. French architects and master builders are employed even in Cyprus or Hungary.

The churches are getting higher and higher. Technically, what allowed building such large buildings with very large windows was the use of iron armor (technique of the ” armed stone “). The windows were extended until the walls disappeared: the pillars formed a skeleton of stone and the rest will be made of glass, letting in an abundant light. The illuminated surface was further increased by the presence of an openwork triforium, as in the cathedral of San Esteban de Châlons. In the cathedral of Saint-Étienne de Metz, the surface of the glass reached 6496 m 2. The windows were also characterized by a traceryof great finesse that did not obstruct the light. The rosette, already used before, ended up becoming a key element of decoration (transept of Notre-Dame de Paris, facade of the Strasbourg Cathedral).

The space of the cathedral was enlarged – a multiplication of the lateral chapels – and a certain spatial unity can also be seen – the pillars become all identical. The pillars were often fasciculated, that is, they were surrounded by several columns grouped in facets. In contrast to the tendency of the fasciculated pillar, a whole group of cathedrals and large churches, however, adopted the cylindrical pillars, in imitation of the cathedral of Châlons.

Flamboyant Gothic and International Gothic
The Flamboyant Gothic, sometimes misnamed late Gothic, was born in the 1350s and, especially, in Paris – chapel of Notre-Dame-de-Bonnes-Nouvelles (now defunct), which depended on the hospitable – and in Riom – Sainte-Chapelle built according to the plans of Guy de Dammartin for the palace of Jean de Berry. It was developed until the sixteenth century in some regions, such as Lorraine or Normandy (see for example the basilica of Saint-Nicolas-de-Port or the abbey of Saint-Ouen). His last fires did not go out until the seventeenth century, as for example in the church of Saint-Samson in Trégastel-whose construction began in the late sixteenth century and was not completed until around 1630-, or in the cathedral of the Holy Cross of Orleans -which was destroyed by the Huguenots in 1599 and which was rebuilt in the flamboyant Gothic style of origin -. One can even mention, at the beginning of the 18th century, a church project for the celestial of Orléans by Guillaume Hénault, in Flamboyant Gothic. In the ancient province of Champagne he arrived after 1450 with master masons such as Florent Bleuet, active in Troyes and in the basilica of Our Lady of L’Épine.

The term “flamboyant” (flamboyant) would have been used for the first time by Eustache-Hyacinthe Langlois, Norman antiquarian, to describe the motifs in the form of flames (soufflets and mouchettes) that can be seen in the tracery of the holes, rosettes or gables, for example.

The structure of the buildings remains the same as in the previous period, but they will have an exuberant ornamentation, characterized by a great virtuosity in stereotomy (cutting of the stone). The technique of the armed stone of the radiant period gave way to the carved stone: this explains, for example, that the rosettes are of more modest dimensions, even though they are more aerial when resting on lighter structures, as in the Sainte- Chapelle de Vincennes. The facades are also carved in several planes. Inside the buildings, the ribbed vaults are becoming more complex, becoming, in some buildings, a decorative element; this is the case in theSt. Vitus Cathedral of Prague. The key or lamp pendant, a real technical feat, is more common (abbey of Saint-Ouen, portal of the Marmousets).

In this period different styles emerge in different parts of Europe: in France, the elevation is simplified a bit and often rises to two levels (Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois), or with an elevation on three floors, but with a blind triforium; the pillars extend continuously, without interruption, from the floor to the vault key; the multiple columns that flank them are replaced by ribs. The bases of flamboyant Gothic take many forms: buticular, braided, prismatic bottle… The pointed arches of the portals are overhung by keys. The capitals are sometimes reduced to decorative rings, or disappear when the moldings penetrate without interruption from the ogive in the column that supports it.

hat Flamboyant Gothic is more of a style than a period, and that this appeal refers to Gothic architecture dominated by curvilinear motifs, arabesques developed in curves and counter-curves, and in which tracery covers the surfaces with motifs that evoke “flames, hearts or tears”, as Jules Michelet said. But that this style is only one of the forms adopted by Gothic architecture of the mid-fourteenth century. England then knows the perpendicular Gothic, which appears particularly in the cloister of Gloucester, probable work of Thomas of Cambridge. Some German regions see developing a particularly sober Gothic style, subtly fragmented white surfaces in polygonal geometric shapes, as in the Albrechtsburg of Meissen, Arnold of Westphalia, as well as in many buildings in the city of Slavonice, in the current Czech Republic.

Decline of Gothic art in the Renaissance
The humanists of the Renaissance wanted a return to the inherited forms of classical antiquity, considered as a model of perfection. In this period it was when the term “Gothic” was first used by Giorgio Vasari in 1550 to designate medieval art, with a pejorative connotation: it refers to the Goths, barbarians, whose armies had invaded Italy in particular and plundered Rome in 410.

The contempt for this art was such that he even planned to destroy the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris and replace it with a new building. This project could not be carried out, however, because the Revolution broke out. The sale or abandonment of church property led to the disappearance of many masterpieces of Gothic architecture, mostly abbeys, but also of several cathedrals, such as Arras, Cambrai or Liège (Belgium).

Despite this avowed contempt, the Gothic continued to experience successes in the first half of the eighteenth century. The Gothic forms gradually disappear, mixing with the Renaissance forms, as in the church of Saint Eustaquio in Paris, where a Renaissance decoration dresses a Gothic structure. Some Gothic churches of the late 16th century underwent the influences of Renaissance art in their architecture, such as the Cathedral of Our Lady of Le Havre.

Romanticism rehabilitates the Gothic: the neo-Gothic
The construction of buildings characteristic of Gothic architecture had not completely ceased in the sixteenth century, both in France (in Tours) and in England (in Oxford) or Italy (in Bologna). In England Baroque architect Christopher Wren built the Tom Tower for the College Christ Church (Oxford) and his student Nicholas Hawksmoor added the western towers of Westminster Abbey, all in Gothic style in 1722. When the late 18th century was born, the romantic movement, an interest for the whole of the Middle Ages developed, including Gothic architecture, and the Gothic term lost its negative connotation. Amateurs like Horace Walpole created mansions with Gothic details. The technical innovations allowed the constructions to overcome certain limitations that constrained their form, and a new architecture reinterpreted their historical heritage: after the neoclassical, the neo-Gothic style appeared, especially in England, followed by the United States in the 1840s. he was employed in new buildings such as stations (St. Pancras Station in London), museums (London Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution) and the Palace of Westminster. Following Oxford, this style met with great success in the universities of the United States, as in Yale.

France appears quite late in the neo-Gothic scene due to the Napoleonic wars, which mobilized all the forces of the French nation, and the taste of Emperor Napoleon I for the Neoclassical Empire style. Victor Hugo’s novel, Notre-Dame de Paris (1831) revived interest in the cathedrals of Île-de-France. The Restoration of the Bourbons allowed the young architects to reconnect with the artistic past of the kingdom of medieval France, especially with the French Gothic style of the thirteenth century. The architect Jean-Baptiste-Antoine Lassus was one of the precursors of this architectural renovation. Eugène Viollet-le-DucHe worked with Lassus on several projects -particularly at Notre Dame and Sainte Chapelle, both on the Isle de la Cité in Paris- and he will owe many of his points of view that he applied in his restorations of the walled city of Carcassonne, in the castle of Roquetaillade and even more characteristic through the “pedagogical” example of the castle of Pierrefonds and the castle of Pupetières.

Inspired by the research work of Lassus and Viollet-le-Duc, many buildings, especially religious, imitated the medieval style: in Paris, a famous example was the church of Sainte-Clotilde. Since 1840, basilica of Our Lady of Bonsecours, near Rouen, inaugurated the era of neo-Gothic churches, followed closely by Nantes by the church of San Nicolás. They followed, among others, the Sacred Heart of Moulins, in Allier, the church of Saint Vincent de Paul (or of the Reformed, in Canebière) in Marseille, the church of Saint Paul of Strasbourg, etc., without forgetting, especially, the completion of cathedrals never finished as in Moulins and, especially, in Clermont-Ferrand, with its high arrows.

The success of the neo-Gothic extended into the early twentieth century in many skyscrapers, especially in Chicago and New York. In Europe, the most famous monument that was inspired by the Gothic heritage while clearly distinguishing itself from Gaudí’s organic style was probably the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona (Spain).

The different local forms

The gothic Angevin
The Angevin Gothic, also called Gothic Plantagenêt, which developed in western France – in Anjou, in Touraine, in Limousin, in Poitou, in Aquitaine, Maine and in the Angevin kingdoms of Naples and Sicily – is distinguished by the facades different from those of the Île-de-France that do not have three portals. Their heads do not necessarily have flying buttresses (as in the cathedral of Saint-Pierre de Poitiers, whose head is a simple vertical wall).

But what characterizes the Angevin Gothic are mainly the vaults: the angevin vault has a very domed profile – key significantly higher than the pointed arches and arches formeros -, while the vault of the Ile de France is flatter – key of vault at the same level as the pointed arches and arches formeros-.

This system, typical of the mid-twelfth century, is a combination of the influences of the renovated Gothic (vault of warheads) and the Romanesque architecture of western France (churches with rows of domes, such as the Saint-Front de Perigueux cathedral or the Cathedral of Saint-Pierre de Angouleme). It is characterized by a single ship, that is to say, without lateral naves, and by the vaults of very bulging edges that grow with very little slope and that do not require flying buttresses.

Among the most beautiful examples of Angevin vaults are the Saint-Maurice de Angers cathedral and the former hôpital Saint-Jean de Angers, currently the Jean-Lurçat museum.

The Norman Gothic
Normandy was very early associated with the Gothic movement. One of the characteristics of Norman Gothic is the presence, on the transept, of a central tower that can be a shark and / or bell tower, built in many of the great churches and cathedrals in almost the entire province (Cathedral of Coutances, Notre -Dame of Rouen, Notre-Dame d’Evreux, old cathedral of Lisieux, abbey of the Trinité de Fécamp, etc.). The cathedral of Notre-Dame de Séesit does not have it, but it was originally planned. This architecture was influenced to a large extent by English Gothic art, in which the presence of a central tower was the rule. Exceptionally, there is also a tower in other parts of Europe, such as in the cathedral of Burgos or in the cathedral of Lausanne.

The southern Gothic
The southern Gothic, Toulouse or Languedocian, designates a current developed in the south of the country, which is characterized by the austerity of buildings, by the use of buttresses instead of flying buttresses and the few and narrow openings (examples: cathedrals of Santa Cecilia de Albi, San Fulcran de Lodève or San Pedro de Montpellier). In addition, many buildings of this style do not have side aisles and are covered by carpentry that rest on diaphragm arches. It had a somewhat military, fortified look, designed to show the power of the Church.

During the heyday of the Cathar heresy, the luxury of the Catholic Church was constantly undermined by the perfect Cathar ecclesiastics. After the political eradication of the Cathar aristocracy during the crusade against the Albigenses (1209-1229), he reconquered the spirits. In addition the establishment of the Inquisition put the emphasis on a more austere and stripped architectural style.

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