Unlike many cathedrals in France, which are Gothic, the Angoulême cathedral is in the Romanesque style. A real jewel classified as a historical monument. Built near the city wall, on the initiative of Girard II, Bishop of Angoulême, it has been enlarged and transformed over the centuries, notably by the addition of numerous chapels. Its main transformation dates back to the 19th century, between 1852 and 1875. The architect Paul Abadie (son), supported by Bishop Cousson, restored the building to its hypothetical original state by removing the chapels. The bell tower was completely rebuilt and the interior of the building was also restored.
Saint Peter's Cathedral consists of a large nave, a transept and a choir with a semicircular apse on which four absidioles are grafted. Only the northeastern Romanesque absidiola, the other three were rebuilt in the 19th century. Based on the model of the former Saint-Front de Périgueux cathedral, the nave is covered with three domes. This line of domes was imitated in the 12th century in several churches in Angoulême and Saintonge.
A facade, a key element
The highly sculpted facade is the centrepiece of the building. The decoration of statues and bas-reliefs, very rich, dates from the 12th century, except for the representations of Saint Martin, on the right of the portal and Saint George, on the left, which date from the restoration of the 19th century
Three main themes are presented on the façade: the Ascension of Christ, his return at the end of time at the last judgment and Pentecost. To the right of the gate is a hunting scene and a carved frieze depicting a cavalry fight inspired by Roland's Song.
The capital of Angoulême Cathedral, known as the "seasons", depicts scenes of work in the fields. The first face is decorated with soft scrolls: it would be spring; the second presents a man with a seal: it would be summer; the third, a man who would be picking fruit: it would be autumn; and finally, the fourth, a man sitting at rest: it would be winter.
1, Pl. Saint-Pierre,
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