Cathedral Saint Julian, Le Mans, France

Cathedral Saint Julien, Le Mans, France

© Damien Bouhours

This Catholic Cathedral in Le Mans, Sarthe, France, is dedicated to Saint Julian of Le Mans, the city’s first bishop (4th century). The building, as it is now, has been erected and remodeled from the 9th century until the second half of the 11th century.  The cathedral combines a Romanesque nave and a High Gothic choir. It is known for its rich collection of stained glass and the spectacular bifurcating flying buttresses at its eastern end. It is often compared to the Chartres and Reims’s cathedrals.

© Damien Bouhours

The newly renovated fountain with its photogenic mermaid © Damien Bouhours

The cathedral occupies the northeastern corner of the beautifully preserved old town (known as Vieux Mans or the Cité Plantagenêt). One of the most famous sights is its prehistoric menhir placed at the southwest corner of the cathedral in 1778. Locally known as the Pierre St Julien (St Julian’s Stone), it was moved here after the dolmen of which it had been part which was demolished. Folklore advices women who want to get pregnant to touch its surface to get their wish granted.

© Damien Bouhours

© Damien Bouhours

Don’t miss the night entertainment during both summer and winter times, called “La nuit des Chimères” (or Chimera festival). Every summer in Le Mans, the Plantagenet city pursues its Chimera; pavements and the frontages of historic monuments are transformed into projection screens. Seven sites and a circuit, free, staged by Skertzò.

la-nuit-des-chimeres-affiche-apercu

From Tuesday to Saturday on all sites, every evening on the fountain and chevet. Some of the projected images can be seen again over the Christmas and New Year period. To know more: http://www.nuitdeschimeres.com/?lang=en

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