See also: Notre-Dame

The Cathédrale Notre-Dame of Rodez (Aveyron) is the seat of évêché of Rodez and Vabres.

Rodez was christianized from 4th and 5th centuries and the first traces of the cathedral go up at the time of the bishop Saint Dalmas, towards 516. It seems however that the whole of the building was rebuilt about the year 1000. From this time, it remains only little of vestiges (primarily at the time of excavations) because the collapse of the bell-tower of the Romance cathedral in 1276 involved a total rebuilding of this one which will last more than three centuries.

The first stone of the current cathedral was posed in 1277 by the bishop Raymond de Calmont d' Olt. However, the War One hundred Year old, then the epidemics and in particular the Black Death of 1348 as various quarrels within the diocese caused a long interruption of this monumental building site.

At the end of the 14th century, a purely defensive bell-tower was set up, crowned of a wood arrow. At the 15th century, work was resumed of more beautiful with the completion of the chorus and of its vault, then the launching of the construction of the transept and the first spans of the nave.

For the achievement of this work, the largest artists of the time were solicited of which the Burgundian sculptor Jacques Morel. This explains the origin of this new medieval style described as blazing in Rodez.

To the 16th century, François d' Estaing and Georges of Armagnac gave a new dash to the construction of the cathedral. After the fire of the bell-tower in 1510, its rebuilding such as it exists today, was undertaken by a hundred stone masons, under the direction of Antoine Salvan of 1513 with 1526. The completion of the bell-tower and the cathedral intervened towards 1531. Although the building work lasted of 1277 until the end of the 16th century, the Cathédrale profits from a remarkable unit as well inside as outside. Indeed, the general party of the building was fixed right from the start. It is allotted to the Architecte Jean Deschamps, which into practice put in the Midi the principles of the Gothic architecture defined in France of North. The plan and the rise in the building make it possible to establish a filiation between Rodez and Limoges, Clermont-Ferrand or Narbonne.

The severe face of the Western frontage testifies to its defensive vocation: it is flanked of two massive towers which were incorporated in the ramparts. Only “anomaly” with the blazing rigor of the unit: a traditional frontispiece, placed at the ridge of the frontage in the middle of the 16th century. The bell-tower, surmounted of a openwork lantern carrying a statue of the Virgin , surrounded by four Angel S flatterers, presents a decorative exubérance blazing which is found in the sculpture of the gates of the Transept and in furniture (Jubé and Stalles of the 15th century).


  • Length: 102 m
  • Width: 37 m
  • Height of the nave: 30 m
  • Height of the bell-tower: 87 m


The cathedral shelters a superb dresser rebirth of a perfect balance, fitting in the arc of the northern transept. This organ was built in 1629 by Antoine Vernholes, of Poitiers, with the assistance of Raymond Gusmond, main sculptor of Périgueux. Vernholes employed again parts of woodworks of an organ older, Gothic, on the sides and with the back. The whole of the platform and the dresser is 63 feet top and 32 feet broad, the whole in drowning polished. Partly high, of the angels and the armorial bearings bright colors were raised.

Until the end of the 18th century the large dresser could be hidden by a curtain and the positive one was equipped with shutters. It is all that remains to us organ of Vernholes.

  • In 1676 Jean de Joyeuse undertakes a complete restoration. He will introduce the Parisian fashion there. He privileges the smoothness and elegance there rather than the power: few sets of sheers but of the plein-jeus and the plays of third to all the keyboards.

  • In 1728 François Espine, of Toulouse, remade the watch with nine, replaces the human voice of the echo by a cromorne, adds a bumblebee 16, a large third and a cromorne with the large organ, gives in state the diagrids, remade to nine that of “the echo of horn” on 3 octaves as well as the 3 keyboards.

It will lower the whole of the organ of a half your, in B flat, that of Jean de Joyeuse being in if.
  • In 1775, Joseph Isnard remakes the diagrids of the Large organ in 4 parts, that of positive in 2 parts, those of pedal and place the horn of echo in account, and adds in 1776 a keyboard of bombards and carries the extent of the keyboards to 50 notes.

The organ was left with the abandonment for the revolutionary period and was restored little at the 19th century. The instrument approaches the 20th century with a great majority of pipes of 18th and 18th century, but mechanics shows large signs of tiredness, so much so that in 1902 the Servières canon speaks “about a fossil organ”.

Vis-a-vis the reserve of the ministry for the worships undertaking work again, the bishop of Rodez takes responsibility for his the repair of the organ by Charles Anneessens, of Halluin which poses an entirely tubular traction. This radical intervention sounds the death of the instrument of Jean de Joyeuse. Maintained periodically, tubular traction will function until in 1970, date on which it will return the heart.

Lastly, in 1975 Paul Manuel entirely dismounts the organ and reclassifies piping, before the house Maison J.G and Y. Koenig does not restore it entirely in 1986, so as to find a sound design in the spirit of Old to obtain qualities to touch and adequate sonorities with the French repertory of 18th and 18th centuries, while allowing a broader use of the instrument by its extents.

See too

  • List of the bishops of Rodez

External bonds

  • Card on the site

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