Cathedral Saint-Andre Bordeaux France

We’ve always enjoyed walking through the old churches of Europe, admiring the centuries of work that has gone into them. Bordeaux has several, but the Cathedral of Saint-Andre can be easily seen no matter where we walked in the old city.

The statue below represents the man instrumental in getting Bordeaux cleaned up, renovating yet preserving the centuries old architecture while infusing some needed funding for the work as visitation increased with both locals and tourists. He was the mayor of Bordeaux and eventually the Prime Minister, Jacques Chaban Delmas.

Approaching the cathedral we came across this bronze artwork in a small nearby square having a book market. They took some artistic license with the building – the real spires are not leaning.

Approaching the entrance, we came across closed doors – they had modified their hours but not updated their website. Rats! We had planned our day based upon the morning visit. Now what? Let me see if we can find a silver-lining.

As it didn’t open until 2pm we walked around the cathedral, capturing these shots.

Really cool spires – just saying.

Finding these blooming trees along the back side of the cathedral which we believe are blooming chestnut trees – not common in the US.

Ultimately coming upon their bell tower, named Pey-Berland Tower for the man who had the vision for the structure.

It is a separate building from the cathedral which led to me to ask why. I discovered that originally the cathedral was built upon marshy land and showed signs of weakness in the foundation fairly soon. The vibration from the bells would have further weakened the structure. Hence, it was built separate.

What needs to happen when you come across this fine structure……………….climb it of course! That was our silver-lining!

Walking in we were told we needed on-line reservations. One gentleman (in reality all 3) offered (in English) to assist with downloading the app and making the reservation. Once that was complete, we waited less than 15 minutes for the prior group to ascend ourselves. Score!

Ascend really means walking up the stairs………………233 to be exact. There was no room to meet anyone going the opposite way so everyone needed to come down before the next group could go up.

I stopped to admire (nope, not to catch my breath or rest my legs) the wooden structure within which held some of the first bells. Although work began on the building in 1440 and was completed……….there were no bells until 1853. The building had several uses (dwellings and a shop) before being re-purchased by the church and bells finally added.

I captured some fabulous shots!

Look at those flying buttresses. This was their solution for foundation issues to shore up the building.

The highest pinnacle is a copper sculpture of the Madonna holding infant Jesus faced towards the direction of Pey Berland’s birthplace.

The narrow opening was the last barrier to reaching the highest level. I had to shimmy through sideways to reach the highest level for viewing.

Notice the gargoyles? They are nothing like the ones on Notre Dame in Paris (my favorite by the way) but charming none the less. They had their own style.

Research indicated that climbing this bell tower gave the highest views of Bordeaux. I believe it.

Wait! Aren’t we missing someone? Yep, there is Eric in the blue jacket waaaaaaaay down below,

Did we ever visit the cathedral? Well of course, just a minor change in our plans. Later that day we made the trek back.

With the organ at the back of the church.

So many stained glass windows it was hard selecting the few to include. Here are the twelve apostles.

So many beautiful alcoves inside the cathedral.

Loved having a clock easily seen during a service.

The entrance doors always make an impressive sight for all to enter, giving a sneak peak of the grandeur inside.

Closing out with a last shot of Bordeaux from the bell tower.


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