Saint Just Saint Pasteur Cathedral
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Saint Just Saint Pasteur Cathedral of Narbonne is its - unfinished by the standards of its initial planning as 120 meters (around 370 feet) long edifice! - Crown jewel.
The Cathedral is located on the site of 3 former successive churches.
The initial church was built right after the Edict of Milan in 313 AD when the Christianism became the official religion of the Roman Empire. This structure was replaced in 445 AD, after it was destroyed by fire, by another church which later, in 782 AD, was dedicated to the Spanish martyrs Just and Pasteur. This second basilica was in its turn replaced by a pre-Romanesque church - now referred to as the Théodard church due to the name of the Archbishop of Narbonne of the time - at the end of the 9th century but this third edifice fell into ruins throughout the centuries that followed.
The construction of the Flamboyant Gothic style cathedral that subsists to this day started on the 3rd of April 1272 on the order of Pope Clément IV, former Archbishop of Narbonne, who wanted as a magnificent cathedral for this Southern region as the grandiose churches of the North of France. Throughout the centuries that followed there were many failed(!) attempts to finish the cathedral - only its 55 meters long and 48 meters wide choir was finished in 1332 - and on the 14th of June 1587 the church was consecrated while still not completely finished by Cardinal Archbishop Francois de Joyeuse.
Even considered an unfinished project, the cathedral holds some records owning the highest located pipe organ - dating from the 18th century - in Europe and having in the interior of the nave arches reaching as high as 41 meters (131 feet), the 4th highest arches in France.
The Cathedral cloister was built starting in 1349 and links the cathedral with the Archbishop Palace. Its construction continued intermittently until the 17th century. On the south-east side of the cloister the bell tower built by Théodard, Archbishop of Narbonne in the later part of the 9th century is still standing.
On the East side of the cloister on the place of the choir of the former Carolingian Théodard church is found the Annonciade chapel. This chapel that can be reached through the cathedral or from the cloister was built in the early 15th century. Above this chapel and accessible via a spiral staircase is located the so called "round chapter" hall that houses the cathedral Treasure. The treasure contains vestiges of the tomb of King Philip III, gold and silk tapestries, manuscripts and liturgical furniture and items.