You are currently viewing 14 Most Beautiful Cathedrals in France!

Symbols of our history and havens of peace, cathedrals are buildings I love to visit. Like basilicas and chapels, I always feel at peace in them. In France, we are fortunate to have some magnificent cathedrals.

I’ve compiled a list of the 14 most beautiful cathedrals in France. As most of them are free to visit, I can only encourage you to discover them. Look at the details of their facades, vaults and stained glass windows, and appreciate the work of the craftsmen who sometimes dedicated their entire lives to their construction!

Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral

Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral

Address: 6 Parvis Notre-Dame – Pl. Jean-Paul II, 75004 Paris, France

Official website:

  • Style: Gothic
  • Laying the first stone in 1163
  • Length 130 meters, width 48 meters, spires up to 69 meters high
  • Three of Europe’s largest stained glass rose windows
  • Major fire in April 2019

Notre-Dame de Paris is France’s best-known cathedral.

Its Gothic architecture, with its famous gargoyles and three imposing rose windows, tells the story of the evolution of Gothic art since the first stone was laid in 1163 by Bishop Maurice de Sully.

The building has seen coronations and national funerals. For many years, Notre-Dame Cathedral was the spiritual and cultural heart of the nation.

With a length of 130 meters and spires rising to 69 meters, it is a majestic sight.

Since the devastating fire of 2019, Notre-Dame de Paris has been in the midst of a renaissance, and I can’t wait to be able to rediscover it.

If you’re visiting Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, I recommend rounding off your day with a visit to the Sainte-Chapelle. Right next door, this chapel built under Saint-Louis is absolutely breathtaking.


Notre-Dame de Chartres Cathedral

Notre-Dame de Chartres Cathedral

Address: 16 Cloître Notre-Dame, 28000 Chartres, France

Official website:

  • Gothic style
  • Construction began in 1194
  • Floor labyrinth and Romanesque crypt
  • More than 170 glass windows, covering 2,600 m².
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979

Notre-Dame de Chartres Cathedral is a Gothic work of art, fascinating for its age and authenticity. Virtually untouched since its construction in the early 13th century, it rises gracefully above the city of Chartres.

With over 170 glass windows covering 2,600 m², the cathedral is famous for its stained glass windows of unrivaled quality. My grandparents lived in the Eure-et-Loir region, so I’ve been able to enter the cathedral several times. The moment is truly special. I could stare at the windows for hours.

The labyrinth carved into the floor of the nave is also unique.

This architectural majesty never fails to amaze its visitors, and Chartres Cathedral is an important place of pilgrimage, not least thanks to the relic of the Virgin’s Veil preserved in the Romanesque crypt.

Its inclusion on UNESCO’s World Heritage List underlines its universal importance.


Notre-Dame Cathedral, Strasbourg

cathedral strasbourg

Address: Place de la Cathédrale, 67000 Strasbourg, France

Official website:

  • Gothic style
  • Construction began in 1015, rebuilt in 1176 after a fire
  • Astronomical clock
  • France’s largest cathedral before Rouen’s completion

Dominating the city of Strasbourg, Notre-Dame Cathedral stands out for its 142-meter-high spire. It is the tallest man-made structure of the Middle Ages.

Begun in 1015 and largely completed in 1439, it is the symbol of the Rhenish city’s power and a jewel of Gothic art.

The astronomical clock, added in the 16th century, is a technological feat of its time.


Notre-Dame d’Amiens Cathedral

cathedral amiens

Address: Place Notre-Dame, 80000 Amiens, France

Official website:

  • Classic Gothic style
  • Construction began in 1220
  • Can accommodate around 10,000 people
  • France’s highest nave with 42 meters of vaulted ceilings
  • Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981

Rising into the skies above Picardy, Notre-Dame d’Amiens is the largest cathedral in France. Its interior volumes are impressive.

Begun in 1220, it was designed to impress with its sheer size and capacity to accommodate 10,000 worshippers. With a nave reaching 42 meters in height, the ambition of the medieval builders is palpable.

It is famous for its floor labyrinth and the relic of the skull of St. John the Baptist. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is also renowned for the “Chroma” show, which uses light projections to bring back to life the original colors of the façade’s sculptures.


Saint-Étienne de Bourges Cathedral

Address: Place Étienne Dolet, 18000 Bourges, France

Official website:

  • Gothic style
  • Construction began in the late 12th century
  • Plan without transept
  • Exceptional collection of medieval stained glass
  • One of France’s largest crypts

Bourges’s Cathédrale Saint-Étienne was begun in the late 12th century. It is a masterpiece of French Gothic architecture, with one particular architectural feature: the absence of a transept. This gives it an impressive unity of volume and the appearance of a vast hall.

The perfectly preserved medieval stained-glass windows complement the sober, elegant interior. The crypt, open to visitors, is one of the largest in France.

As for the facade, its five richly sculpted portals can be admired at length.

The cathedral is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Notre-Dame de Reims Cathedral

cathedral reims

Address: Place du Cardinal Luçon, 51100 Reims, France

Official website:

  • Gothic style
  • Construction began in 1211
  • Site of the coronation of many kings of France
  • Over 2,300 statues
  • Modern stained glass by Marc Chagall

Book a guided tour of the cathedral.

Notre-Dame de Reims Cathedral is inextricably linked with the history of the French monarchy. Many kings have been crowned here.

Built in 1211, it is an emblematic monument of the Gothic style, with a façade adorned with over 2,300 statues and an impressive array of stained glass windows, some of them the modern work by Marc Chagall.

The cathedral has survived many events, including the bombing raids of the First World War, which severely damaged the building.


Saint-Pierre de Beauvais Cathedral

cathedral beauvais

Address: Rue Saint-Pierre, 60000 Beauvais, France

Official website:

  • Gothic style
  • Construction began in 1225
  • The world’s highest Gothic vault at 48.5 meters
  • Successive vault collapses throughout history
  • Unfinished, without main nave

The Cathédrale Saint-Pierre de Beauvais is renowned for its record-breaking architecture and architectural setbacks.

At 48.5 m, the vault is the highest Gothic vault in the world.

Begun in 1225, it is a testament to the overweening ambition of medieval builders. Its nave was never completed due to successive collapses. Despite these ordeals, what remains of the cathedral is a jewel, with a gravity-defying choir and a precise, complex astronomical clock.

Its tormented history attracts and challenges visitors.


Sainte-Cécile Cathedral, Albi

cathedral albi

Address: Place Sainte-Cécile, 81000 Albi, France

Official website:

  • Southern Gothic style
  • Construction began in 1282
  • The world’s largest brick cathedral
  • Extensive collection of 15th-century frescoes and paintings
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site

Book a tour of the cathedral.

Albi’s Cathédrale Sainte-Cécile is remarkable for its all-brick construction. The first time I saw it, I was astonished. I’d never seen such a cathedral in my life.

Begun in 1282, its construction was a symbol of power in the face of the Cathar heretics. In fact, I visited it after a day in Carcassonne, the stronghold of the Cathar country.

Inside, visitors are greeted by an abundance of frescoes and a dazzling celestial vault painted with over 18,000 figures. Its Last Judgment, an immense mural fresco, is a spectacular artistic testimony to the medieval era.


Saint-André Cathedral, Bordeaux

cathedral bordeaux

Address: Place Pey Berland, 33000 Bordeaux, France

Official website:

  • Gothic style
  • Built from 1096, rebuilt in the 13th century
  • Place of marriage of Louis VII and Eleanor of Aquitaine
  • Remarkable sculptures on the portals, including the Royal Portal

Bordeaux’s Cathédrale Saint-André is famous in history for the marriage of Louis VII and Eleanor of Aquitaine. But it would be a shame to reduce it to just this event.

Built in 1096 and rebuilt in the 13th century, it is famous for its magnificent sculpted portals, particularly the Royal Portal.

The Tour Pey-Berland, the cathedral’s independent bell tower, is within easy reach. When you climb to the very top, you’ll have a fine view of Bordeaux and the surrounding area.

Inside, the spacious nave leads the eye to the stained glass windows, which gently filter the light. As an integral part of France’s Pilgrimage Route to Santiago de Compostela, it attracts many pilgrims and tourists.


Notre-Dame de Rouen Cathedral

cathedral rouen

Address: Place de la Cathédrale, 76000 Rouen, France

Official website:

  • Gothic style
  • Construction began in the 12th century
  • France’s tallest lantern tower at 151 meters
  • Inspiration for a series of paintings by Claude Monet
  • The tomb of Richard the Lionheart

Located in the heart of Rouen, Notre-Dame Cathedral is a symbol of Normandy, built in the 12th century.

Its lantern tower, which rises to 151 meters, is the most striking feature.

If you’re a painting enthusiast, you may have seen its façade in paintings by Claude Monet.

Inside, the building preserves traces of the historical periods it has witnessed, including the tomb of Richard the Lionheart. It contains his embalmed heart.


Saint-Jean-Baptiste Cathedral, Lyon

Address: Place Saint-Jean, 69005 Lyon, France

Official website:

  • Gothic style with Romanesque façade
  • Construction began in the 12th century
  • One of Europe’s oldest working astronomical clocks
  • Magnificent 13th-century stained glass windows

The Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste is located in Vieux Lyon. It is Gothic in style, but its façade is Romanesque.

Built in the 12th century, it is notable for its 14th-century astronomical clock. The clock is still in operation.

The stained glass windows, particularly those from the 13th century, are masterpieces of color and biblical narrative.


Saint-Pierre de Poitiers Cathedral

Address: Place Charles de Gaulle, 86000 Poitiers, France

Official website:

  • Romanesque and Gothic styles
  • Construction began in the 12th century
  • 18th-century organ
  • Facade adorned with remarkable Romanesque sculptures

Cathédrale Saint-Pierre de Poitiers was built in the 12th century. It is a fusion of Romanesque and early Gothic styles. The cathedral is representative of the stylistic evolution of religious architecture.

The interior boasts elegant Gothic arches and an impressive 18th-century organ, renowned for its exceptional musicality.


Saint-Denis Basilica

basilica saint denis

Address: 1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 93200 Saint-Denis, France

Official website: https//

  • Forerunner of Gothic architecture
  • Construction began in the 12th century
  • Royal necropolis: the final resting place of many kings and queens of France
  • Impressive rose window on the western façade
  • First systematic use of cross vaults and buttresses

Book a tour of the cathedral.

Architecturally, the Cathedral Basilica of Saint-Denis is the cradle of Gothic architecture. Begun in the 12th century under the impetus of Abbé Suger, it features major architectural innovations such as intersecting rib vaults and flying buttresses.

But it is best known to the general public as the necropolis of the kings of France. This special place in French history explains why so many people visit the cathedral. It is one of the few cathedrals in France to charge a fee, even for self-guided tours.

The atmosphere is charged with history and emotion. If, like me, you’re attached to our ancestors, you’ll see your visit as a tribute to the historical figures who shaped the French identity.


Saint-Maurice Cathedral, Angers

Address: 4 Rue Saint-Maurice, 49100 Angers, France

Official website:

  • Mainly Plantagenet Gothic style
  • Construction began in the 12th century
  • Two asymmetrical Romanesque towers
  • Europe’s largest medieval glass roof after Saint-Denis
  • Some of the best preserved 12th-century frescoes in France

Saint-Maurice Cathedral in Angers is a landmark building in the Plantagenet Gothic style, an architectural style specific to the Plantagenet dynasty.

Begun in the 12th century, it is famous for its two Romanesque towers framing an imposing façade. The interior is luminous thanks to a glass roof, the largest after that of Saint-Denis.

The 12th-century frescoes are among the best preserved in France, and provide a rare glimpse of medieval religious art.


As a professional blogger, I take advantage of my flexible schedule to travel a lot. I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list!