A valuable work of art in the heart of Le Mans, Saint-Julien cathedral is a monument built stage by stage, from the 11th through the 15th century. The diversity of styles characterizing this amazing edifice bears telling testimony to the evolution of religious art during the Middle Ages. Inside, precious ancient paintings are juxtaposed to superb sculptures constituting the best of funerary art.

On the Cathédrale du Mans vault, no less than forty-seven 14th-century musician angels welcome visitors, rendering the monument a reference for specialists in medieval instrument manufacturing. Their remarkably preserved bright colors and 24 different instruments bring sweetness and joy to whomever passes through the doors of the religious structure. The supposed creator of these amazing paintings,  Jean de Bruges, was the author of the sketches for the Apocalypse Tapestry in the château of Angers. Also known as the painter of the princes of Valois, it was in Le Mans that Jean de Bruges produced his most impressive work by spectacularly adorning the vault.

The Cathédrale du Mans also contains a number of masterfully crafted tombs, starting with that of Guillaume du Bellay, of which the production has been ascribed to Pierre Bontemps, an artist owing his renown to  his participation in the erection of the tomb of François I. It was here, of all places, that on the occasion of Guillaume du Bellay’s funeral, there occurred an initial meeting of the founders of the group of poets known as la Pléiade.

Jacques Peltier du Mans, Pierre de Ronsard and Joachim du Bellay. The art of sculpture likewise throve in the cathedral, with the elegant 17th-century terra cotta creations of Gervais Delabarre and Charles Hoyau. These different masterworks are dominated by a majestic organ bearing the imprint of the celebrated architect Simon Hayneufvre. Dated 1519, it presents beautiful French Renaissance casings.  Finally, valuable tapestries portray the lives of Saints Gervais and Protais, as well as the emblematic Saint Julian, complete the collection.

To top everything off, Saint Julien Cathedral offers an exceptional panorama of glasswork production from the 11th century up until our times. Among the stained glass windows, there is a true treasure: The Ascension; created in the late 11th or very early 12th century, is the oldest stained glass window to have been conserved in a religious building.

Offering invaluable testimony to history and architecture, the Cathédrale du Mans is a truly unique monument characterized by a sublime combination of Roman and Gothic styles.  Composed of thirteen chapels and a choir of which the height under the vault reaches 34 meters, it is distinguished by the numerous pictorial and other artistic works it contains, as well as splendidly spectacular stained glass windows.

Photo gallery of Cathédrale du Mans

Visits

  • Free individual visits
  • Guided individual tours on request
  • Groups welcome
  • Guided group tours on request
  • Group educational visits
  • Point of interest visible without visit
  • Available languages
    • Parlées : French, English

Activities

Opening time

Details on opening hours : Tous les jours de 9h à 17h (19h à partir de Pâques et en été)

Prices

  • Free admission
  • Group price Forfait 2h de visite guidée pour un groupe. Renseignez-vous à l'Office de Tourisme.

    Full adult price Visite guidée adulte individuelle. Tarif réduit pour les scolaires, étudiants, demandeurs d'emploi. Renseignez-vous à l'Office de Tourisme.

    Children's price Visite guidée individuelle enfant de 6 à 12 ans. Gratuit pour les - de 6 ans.

    Child group tarif Forfait 2h de visite guidée pour un groupe. Renseignez-vous à l'Office de Tourisme.

    Further information

    Payment method

    • Cheques and postal orders
    • Holiday vouchers

    Access

    • SNCF train station at 3 km
    • Bus station at 3 km
    • Public transport at 0,1 km