Arras Cathedral

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Cathedral of Our Lady and Saint Vaast
Cathédrale Notre-Dame-et-Saint-Vaast
Arras cathedral.jpg
Arras Cathedral
Basic information
Location Arras, Pas-de-Calais, France France
Geographic coordinates 50°17′35″N 2°46′29″E / 50.29306°N 2.77472°E / 50.29306; 2.77472Coordinates: 50°17′35″N 2°46′29″E / 50.29306°N 2.77472°E / 50.29306; 2.77472
Affiliation Roman Catholic
District Diocese of Arras
Ecclesiastical or organizational status Cathedral
Architectural description
Architect(s) Pierre Contant d'Ivry
Architectural type Church

Arras Cathedral (French: Cathédrale Notre-Dame-et-Saint-Vaast d'Arras) is the Roman Catholic church in the city of Arras, France. It is the seat of the Bishops of Arras.

The original cathedral of Arras, constructed between 1030 and 1396, was one of the most beautiful Gothic structures in northern France, until it was destroyed in the French Revolution.[1] The cathedral was the resting place of Louis de Bourbon, Légitimé de France, illegitimate son of Louis XIV and Louise de La Vallière.

The church of the former St. Vaast's Abbey was rebuilt in classical style as a replacement cathedral. It is 'a very large building, the erection of which was begun in 1755 from plans by Pierre Contant d'Ivry, the architect who later created designs for the Church of La Madeleine in Paris. The work was interrupted during the Revolution, then resumed by virtue of a municipal decree dated “Nivôse 27, Year XII”, which ran: “... to erect the edifice, abandoning everything in the original plans connected with decoration and architectural beauty, limiting the work to the requirements of solidity and decency.” The church was finished in accordance with these prescriptions, being completed in 1834. The interior was of plaster-coated brickwork, whilst the columns were of undressed stone, covered with stone-coloured mortar. The capitals were of stucco-work.'[2]

The design was chosen by the former abbot of St. Vaast's, the Cardinal de Rohan, and is of remarkable simplicity.

Cathedral showing damage during World War I.

Arras Cathedral was destroyed by shelling in April 1917, during the run-up to the Nivelle offensives of World War I.[3] and subsequently rebuilt in its previous form.


  1. ^ What was the Cathedral like before the Revolution? (accessed 2015 Jan 21)
  2. ^ The Cathedral of St. Vaast (accessed 2015 Jan 21)
  3. ^ G.J. Meyer, A World Undone: The Story of the Great War, 1914 to 1918, at 532 (Delta 2007),

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