A visit to the Basque city of Bayonne in the southwest of France is not complete without a stop at the Gothic Bayonne Cathedral. It’s a short walk from the train station, and sits on a hill above the confluence of the Adour and Nive Rivers. Nearby are numerous shops, the botanical gardens, and the Château Vieux. Construction of the cathedral, Cathédrale Sainte-Marie de Bayonne, began in the early thirteenth century but wasn’t completed until the seventeenth. The cathedral is on a little known route of the Camino de Santiago, la Voie de la Côte, or the Way of the Coast, which joins the Camino del Norte in Irún, Spain.
I visited the cathedral on a beautiful spring evening and following morning. Because of the close proximity to the adjacent buildings, it was difficult to take good photos of the exterior. The brick and stone of the front façade glowed in the evening sun.
The spires were not completed until the 19th century. This was also taken during the evening.
The façade on the lower side, taken the next morning. As you will see, the stained-glass was more noticeable from inside.
The Gothic tympanum with stained-glass.
The outside cloister on a very quiet evening.
I was awestruck when I stepped inside the cathedral. It was so peaceful and serene. The art, architecture, and stained-glass were all amazing. It was truly a special moment. Here’s some rough video, and I hope you can get a sense of the ambience inside the cathedral.
These photos show the height of the main nave or hall. In this area, the stained glass was so prominent and, in my opinion, along with the paintings, were the best features of the cathedral.
Each panel of stained glass was a piece of art. Some of them date to the sixteenth century.
The cathedral also had a fine collection of paintings. One, Nativity of the Virgin, was painted by French artist, Jacques-Philippe Caresme, circa 1768. I don’t believe it’s either of these two shown here.
For centuries, pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela have stopped at the Bayonne Cathedral for prayer and worship. It was a visit I’ll remember forever. Now, I’ll say goodbye to the Basque city of Bayonne, and board a bus that will take me to St. Jean Pied de Port, and the start of the French Way of the Camino de Santiago. Please join me on A Walk In St. Jean Pied De Port, France.
I hope you enjoyed this post. If you haven’t seen it, please read my post that featured The Medieval City of Bayonne, France.
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