Two Sundays ago while my wife and I were visiting the town of Soisson France and after we visited the Abbey of St. Jean des Vignes, we headed over to the Cathedral of Saint Gervais, located just a few minutes walk down the road. My wife and I had been to a few churches and Cathedrals in France at this point but none were even remotely as impressive as this one.
The first thing that I noticed when approaching the Catherdral were the many flying buttresses that line its perimeter.
For me they give the church a sort of unique armored appearance. In a way the building kind of reminded me of a spiked hedgehog or something.
As always, I got caught up in the intricacy of the buildings gothic style architecture. Though the style seems to be common among the churches and cathedrals in France, having been born and raised in Canada it still remains new to me. The level of detail and worksmanship put into these buildings never ceases to impress me.
Between each of the buttresses were elongated windows. Despite their muted appearance from the outside, these are all made from stained glass which is really impressive when viewed from inside the church.
Heading around the builing we came to a brightly painted red door that stood at least 10-12 feet in height. Though pictures never do the real thing justice, this picture somewhat shows the shear height and size of the overall church.
Surprisingly for me (probably not for others) the inside of the church was even more spectacular then the outside. The ceilings were made up of countless arches that were incredibly high in the air. The church was also relatively empty inside except for a few people praying and a couple of tourists taking pictures. These aspects gave the church an immense feel overall.
Stepping back and zooming in, the next image is a close up of an impressive stained glass window that dates back to the 14th century. I'm not overly thrilled by the quality of the photo that I took but unfortunately I'm limited by my smartphones capabilities. Nonetheless, I think that you can still get a sense of the size of the window and the level of detail put into its design.
The church itself had many little alcoves to explore within it, each of which contained its own unique items to view and explore. In this area I again focussed on the buildings architecture. I was impressed with how many windows and arches were packed into such a small area. The natural light also really highlighted the beauty of a lone chandalier that hung from above.
The walls throughout the church were also lined with beautiful statues and paintings, like this one of the Arc Angel Michael.
Among the paintings and statues in the church were even some old ruins that have been preserved over time and now hang as historic ornamentation. Most of the information at the site was written in French (which I still have not mastered despite my lessons) so unfortunately I do not know the story behind these particular stone figures.
Another painting that I found interesting is the one below. The saints appear to have a peaceful look on their faces even though they are about to be beheaded by Roman soldiers. I do not know what passage of the bible that this painting represents or if it is supposed to depict an actual event in history, but I find it quite beautiful, captivating and even a bit thought provoking. I viewed this painting for a while before moving one.
Heading back outside we snapped a few more pictures of the church and surrounding area. This last picture was of a fountain sitting among some trees and a garden located just outside the church. The church tower stands in the background.
With its two prominant church sites and beautiful downtown core, the city of Soisson is a really lovely place to visit. I would highly recommend it to anyone planning a trip to France in the near future.