Carcassonne > Visit > St Michel
ust like St Vincent, St Michel cathedral dates back from the end of th 13th century, when the Lower Town was founded.
And like St Vincent, it takes the name of the former parish of the Cité which had been destroyed by the French after 1240. St Michel became Carcassonne's cathedral in 1803, when the bishop decided to come down to the Lower Town, and left St Nazaire.

This is a very massive building, but it does not give the same impression as St Vincent, which seems so gigantic ! St Michel is not stuck in the middle of the narrow streets, but stands on the Boulevards.

It was actually part of the former fortifications of the Lower Town until they were demolished in the 18th century.

In front of St Michel's main gate you can see the remains of the Maison Grassalie. These arches were put here after this house (14th century) was razed and replaced by the Post Office one hundred years ago. Other remains of this old mansion are to be seen in the Museum of the Counts' Castle.

St Michel's façade was never completed, and has now a high and flat wall without sculptures. Only the big rose window gives some decoration !

This church is also very characteristic of the Languedoc's gothic style, with its unique and wide nave without chapels. The decoration consists in big paintings by Gamelin, a carcassonnais painter from the 18th century, and the organ which was recently restored.

The famous architect Viollet le Duc first trained on this church, after it had undergone a terrible fire in 1849, before restoring the whole of the medieval citadel.

Carcassonne was till the beginning of the 20th century one of the European cities possessing most fountains... and was sometimes compared with Rome !!!

Behind in Rue Voltaire (Voltaire street !), a beautiful fountain dating back from 1755 is leaning on the wall of the cathedral.