Cathedrals and Basilicas in France

I hope that the information that I share will help you make the most of your visit if you happen to be in the area of one of these amazing churches! This list includes only those places that I have visited. Blessings on your jouneys!

Autun Cathedral of St. Lazarus

Click here to see a photo gallery of Autun Cathedral.

Auxerre Cathedral. La Cathédrale de Saint-Etienne


For more information: 03 86 53 23 29. Presbytère de la Cathédrale 4, rue de Caylus 89000 Auxerre, France. Tel: 03 86 52 31 68. Email: Summer hours (from Palm Sunday to All Saint’s Day) 7h30-18h00; Winter hours (Nov. 1- to Palm Sunday) 7h30-17h00.

 Bourges Cathedral of St. Steven

Click here to see Jill’s photo gallery of Bourges Cathedral.

Chartres Cathedral: Notre Dame de Chartres


This UNESCO World Heritage Site is awesome in the truest sense of the word! Information is available about how to get there, the Cathedral, town and environs. If you can, visit Chartres!

Embrun Cathedral (In the Alps): Cathéderale Notre Dame de Réal


When I first walked into this cathedral my breath was taken away. The light and dark stones that were used in its construction create an atmosphere unlike any other that I have experienced. I enjoyed sitting in the nave, quietly praying while soaking in the beauty.

This was a pilgrimage church in the Middle Ages. Many miracles were linked with a fresco of Mary and the three wise men (that was destroyed in the Revolution).

Evry Cathedral: Cathedral of the Resurrection


Place des Droits-de-l’Homme-et-du-Citoyen, Évry, France

The cathedral in Evry, a planned town on the outskirts of Paris, is the only cathedral built in France during the past 200 years. Designed by Swiss architect Mario Botta and finished in 1995, the cathedral contains 800,000 red bricks. There is a small-scale replica of the Amiens labyrinth built in 1991 in the Day Chapel located at the rear of the sanctuary and down a flight of steps. It can not be walked because of the pulpit, altar and chairs that rest on top of it. For more information about the chapel, click here.

The cathedral is open Monday-Saturday from 10:00am-noon and 2:00 pm until 6:00. Sunday it is open from 2:30-7:00 pm.

Le Mans Cathedral: Cathedral of St. Julien (Previously Dedicated to Mary)

I found this cathedral to be truly inspiring. The windows are clean and clear. The central Mary window is fabulously beautiful with its blues and reds. The St. Julien window is also breathtaking. After Chartres, this is my second favorite French cathedral. It’s an easy train ride from Paris (you go right by Chartres so you could combine a trip to both) leaving from the Gare Montparnasse.Headline provides a helpful overview.


Lyon Cathedral: Cathedral of St. John the Baptist (Home page for the cathedral in French) visit, in French with lots of helpful pictures and drawings) of the services, in French)

Moissac Cathedral and Cloister

Click here to see Jill’s photo gallery of Moissac.

Paris, Basillica of St. Denis


1 rue de la Legion d’honeru 93200 St. Denis 01-48-09-83-54
Access: Metro Line 13 St. Denis-Basilique; RER line D St. Denis. The cathedral is a short walk from the Metro station. You can look for a map of the area inside the Metro station. Or, you can go up and look up–the cathedral will make itself known pretty quickly!

Jill’s comments:
As I remember the basillica, I feel speechless. It is full of inspiration and prayer. It’s influence on the Chartres Cathedral was profound. There is an audiotape guide available in English, but I love just wandering around feeling the space.

1 April to 30 Sept. 10-7; Sundays 12-7
1 Oct. to 31 March: 10am-5 pm (last admission 30 mins before closing)
Closed: 1 Jan; 1 May; 25 December and during certain services

Paris, Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral


If you can be at the cathedral when the doors open in the morning, you will have the best opportunity to experience it. I enter, go right to the transept (crossing), find a chair in the prayer area and sit facing one of the amazing rose windows. At the beginning of the day there is enough quiet to be able to really connect with the beauty!

One of the cathedral relics is the crown of thorns. It is brought out one Friday a month and on Good Friday. It is worth waiting in line to experience it (even if the relic is covered in plexiglass)!

A trip up the tower will help you know the cathedral differently. There are a lot of steps. As you pant up them, wonder about how they were put there in the first place!

8h00-18h45, closed Sat. 12h30-14h00 (Summer hours: opens at 7h45)
Notre Dame de Paris–Tower 10h00-17h00

Orléans, Cathedrale de la Croix


This is the cathedral where Joan of Arc attended mass on May 2, 1429 when the city of Orléans was under seige. Buidling was started here in 1287, It has been through numerous alterations and additions since that time. It is known for its wedding cake-like towers in the west.

April 1 to September 30 Orléans Cathedral of the Ste. Croix

Open 9:15 9:15 9:15 9:15 9:15 9:15 9:15
Closed 12:00 12:00 12:00 12:00 12:00 12:00 12:00
Open 14:15 14:15 14:15 14:15 14:15 14:15 14:15
Closed 18:45 18:45 18:45 18:45 18:45 18:45 18:45
October 1 to March 31
Open 9:15 9:15 9:15 9:15 9:15 9:15 9:15
Closed 12:00 12:00 12:00 12:00 12:00 12:00 12:00
Open 14:15 14:15 14:15 14:15 14:15 14:15 14:15
Closed 17:00 17:00 17:00 17:00 17:00 17:00 17:00

Sens Cathedral: La Cathédrale Saint-Etienne.


148, rue des Déportés et de la Resistance. 03 86 65 06 57 (Presbytère). Open from 8h30 t0 18h00 all year long. In you would like to arrange a group visit, contact the Office of Tourism de Sens 03 86 65 19 49. When I asked, I was told that the labyrinth was located in the area closest to the west doors. I could not confirm this.

St. Benoît-sur-Loire (Abbey & Basilica)


Abbaye de Fleury
Telephone: 33 (0)2 38 35 72 43
Fax: 33 (0)2 38 35 77 71

This Romanesque Basilica is the home of an actively worshipping Benedictine community which invites you to join them in prayer. The community is also the guardian of the relics of St. Benedict who wrote the rule that governs most monasteries world-wide. The reliquary is in the crypt, a wonderful, meditative place for prayer.

If you would enjoy a delicious (expensive) meal while in St. Benoit-sur-Loire, try Restaurant de Grand Saint-Benoît 7, place Saint-André 45730. 02 38 25 11 92.,  Reservations recommended.

Horaires des Offices Monastiques


Dimanches et Fêtes


6 h 30

Laudes (1/2 h)


7 h 15

8 h 10

Tierce (1/4 h)

9 h 00


12 h 00

Messe concélébrée en Grégorien (1h15)

11 h 00

14 h 30

None (souvent à la crypte1/4 h)


15 h 00


18 h 10

Vêpres (1/2 h)

18 h 10


21 h 00

Vigiles (1 h)


21 h 00

La messe est chantée en Grégorien tous les jours.

Les Vêpres et les Laudes le sont quand il y a une très grande fête..

Participation des groupes aux offices: les groupes doivent être installés dans la basilique ou la crypte au plus tard 10 mn avant le début des célébrations.

Pendant celles-ci, photos et déplacements sont strictement interdits.

Vézelay Basilica: The Basilica of Saint Mary Magdalene

This wonderful basilica, the largest romanesque church in France, will invite your prayer in so many different ways! If possible, try to coordinate your visit with one of the three daily services (see below). Be sure to allow time for quiet prayer in the crypt dedicated to Mary Magdalene’s relics.

Information the help you prepare for visiting the Basillica can be found at

Information about the worshipping Community of Jérusalem which gathers for services in the basillica can be found at

Directions to the basilica can be found at

More information on French Cathedrals and Basilicas will be added as I visit them.
Feel free to let Jill know what would be most helpful to you.