Soissons Cathedral

Soissons Cathedral (French: Cathédrale Saint-Gervais-et-Saint-Protais) is a Gothic basilica church in Soissons, France. It is the seat of the Bishop of Soissons, Laon, and Saint-Quentin. The construction of the south transept was begun about 1177, and the lowest courses of the choir in 1182.

Cathedral of Saints Gervasius and Protasius
Cathédrale Saint-Gervais-et-Saint-Protais
Soissons Cathedral
AffiliationRoman Catholic
DistrictDiocese of Soissons, Laon, and Saint-Quentin
Ecclesiastical or organizational statusCathedral-Basilica
LocationSoissons, France France
Geographic coordinates49°22′51″N 3°19′31″E / 49.3808°N 3.3252°E / 49.3808; 3.3252Coordinates: 49°22′51″N 3°19′31″E / 49.3808°N 3.3252°E / 49.3808; 3.3252


The choir, with its original three-storey elevation and extremely tall clerestory, was completed in 1211. This was earlier than Chartres, on which the design was supposed to have been based. Work then continued into the nave until the late 13th century.[1]

The single western tower dates from the mid-13th century and is an imitation of those of Notre-Dame de Paris, which it equals in height (66 metres (217 ft)). The tower was restored after it and part of the nave were severely damaged in World War I. A matching tower on the other side of the façade was originally planned, but never built.


The graceful southern transept, the oldest portion of the whole edifice, terminates in an apse. Unlike the rest of the building, it is divided inside into four (rather than three) levels.

The choir end of the cathedral contains stained glass from the 13th century. A tapestry from the 15th century depicts the life of the martyrs Gervasius and Protasius, the patron saints of the cathedral. Rubens' Adoration of the Shepherds hangs in the northern transept, as does a painting by Philippe de Champaigne.

Maurice Duruflé composed his work for organ "Fugue sur  Le carillon des heures  de la Cathédrale de Soissons" op. 12 (1962)

Some stained glass windows from the Cathedrale de Soissons are on permanent exhibit at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland,[2] and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.[3]

2017 Storm DamageEdit

On January 12, 2017, during a winter storm, strong winds collapsed in a significant portion of the west rose window.[4] Large stone pieces of the window's tracery and sections of stained glass fell onto the tracker-action pipe organ located below the rose window, causing severe damage to the instrument.[5][6]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ James, John (1989). The Template-makers of the Paris Basin. Boydell & Brewer. pp. 119–133. ISBN 978-0-7316-4520-6.
  2. ^ Caviness, Madeline H. (1990). "Modular Assemblages: Reconstructing the Choir Clerestory Glazing of Soissons Cathedral". The Journal of the Walters Art Gallery. 48: 57–68. JSTOR 20169060.
  3. ^ "Window: Scenes from the Lives of Saint Nicasius and Saint Eutropia". Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Archived from the original on 2006-10-02. Retrieved 10 December 2021.
  4. ^ "Tempête. La cathédrale de Soissons très endommagée par le vent" [Storm: The cathedral of Soissons badly damaged by wind]. Ouest-France (in French). Rennes. 13 January 2017. Retrieved 2021-12-10.
  5. ^ "La rosace de la cathédrale Saint-Gervais-et-Saint-Protais de Soissons "éventrée" par la tempête" [Rose window of the Saint-Gervais-et-Saint-Protais cathedral in Soissons "gutted" by the storm]. Le Huffington Post (in French). 13 January 2017. Retrieved 2021-12-09.
  6. ^ "Tempête Egon: la rosace de la cathédrale de Soissons s'est effondrée sur l'orgue" [Cyclone Egon: Rose window of Soissons Cathedral collapses onto the organ]. Journal L'Union (in French). 13 January 2017. Retrieved 10 December 2021.

External linksEdit