Saint Gervais Cathedral - Soisson France

leaky20 @leaky20a month ago · 4 min read

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.


Heading Inside


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.

Thanks for reading and bye for now.

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I love, love, love churches @leaky20. It's a good thing to live in Portugal if you love churches, by the way :D I am a bit obsessed with religions (especially Catholicism).

The first shot is quite impressive, you managed to frame the entire building! Like you said, the interior of churches are always more fascinating than the exterior. My husband doesn't agree with me, but that's because he is more into the outside architecture of these sights. As for me ... I can just spend hours looking at the paintings, and I always look for whether they have old organ or not.

I trust that is St. Michael in your first painting. And in the second one, the personage at the forefront, I believe is St. Sebastian (he was another martyr killed by the Romans). But, I might be terribly mistaken. I will save those two images, though.

Out of your travelling posts this is my very favorite thus far <3

Beautiful post @leaky20 :)

leaky20 @leaky20a month ago

I agree that the churches are amazing. I assume they are quite spectacular across Europe in general. I love the architecture as well, so I might be in agreeance with your husband on that part.

That's funny that you like the first shot. After I got home and looked at it closer I was like "damn" - the tip of it is just slightly cut off in the photo. That irritates me a little hahaha.

It sounds like you are quite knowledgeable on the catholic religion. That's interesting that you recognize the painting as St. Sebastion. That's good to know. Thanks for pointing that out.

Anyway, I'm glad that you like the post. I'm sure there will be more church posts in the future as well :)

I'm sure there will be more church posts in the future as well :)

Weeeeeeee 😃


Really nice shots, it's quite the structure. I bet it's hard to heat.

leaky20 @leaky20a month ago

Thanks. I'm glad you like it. Yeah you're probably right about that. High ceilings and stone walls don't exactly make for easy heating lol


Once again your blog reads like a travel brochure the Cathedral would, no doubt, be delighted to have out here (on the Net) to attract more attention! Visitors (and their donations) are sure to be welcome always! The pictures have that classic (50s travel brochure) feel to them (which I consulted at my grandparents house before going on my visit), which adds to the appeal of this timeless monument to man's great inventions (architecture for one). Soissons, I recall from my own experience too, is an overwhelming feat of ambition and faith. I try not to think of the lives it has cost, but revel in the life-times its exciting coming into being must have spanned.

Looking to identify those sorry but stoic heads on the wall, I consulted Wikipedia, and learned how vulnerable even such majestic and well fortified constructs are, as a whole, as a site and how devestated we may feel when any harm comes to them, as for example, when in 2017 a storm blew out the rose window and what seems to be worse blew the bits of stone and glass onto the tracker-action of the organ "causing severe damage to the instrument." It seems like the window has been fully restored to its former glory, and I guess, by now, the organ is up and running too....


I presume the saints in the painting are the Cathedral's patron saints, Saints Gervase and Protase, who are not to be found in the Bible (as most saints aren't, post-dating the scriptures, following them rather than inspiring them).

Still don't know who those heads on the wall might be.

Your photo feature did send me back to the simple but sweet intro to Gothic Architecture from the Khanacademy, to refresh my vocab (lierne v tierceron ribs). This architecture, they are in concord with you can be overwhelmingly complex to the new eye! Loved you too cute for words "hedgehog" comparison!

leaky20 @leaky20a month ago

Im glad that you liked the post. It sounds like you know quite a bit about the location as well. I didnt know that a storm caused damage to the stained glass window and organ. I'm glad to see that they have since been restored. Yeah those heads on the wall are a mystery. That makes them all the more intriguing.

Thanks for the additional info about the location and for the comment in general :)


The rose window is stunning, what beautiful colours.

leaky20 @leaky20a month ago

Yes I agree. It's quite nice. The stained glass that they used to make is really impressive.


Wow, that's a fascinating building. Quite the impressive architecture and those are some crazy looking windows. Very cool. The paintings are pretty intense and powerful as well, I bet I'd have quite an adventure exploring that place if I had the chance. Neat stuff!

leaky20 @leaky20a month ago

Yeah it was a neat building. I'm super into the architecture of these old churches. I have been fortunate to be able to see this side of the world. I had never been outside North America before our move.
Thanks man :)

jzn @jzna month ago

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gungho @gunghoa month ago

This is all so amazing @leaky20!
I noticed something next to the gargoyle-looking thing on top of the church (the third picture you posted). It's a dude with a hat and a moustache! I magnified it so that you could see what I mean. Is this all coincidence?! I hope you enjoyed your trip that day and wasn't too hard walking around.

leaky20 @leaky20a month ago

That's funny. It does look like a face. I never noticed that before you pointed it out. Cool! Thanks for pointing that out for me