Amiens Cathedral celebrates its 800th year

For 800 years, Amiens Cathedral has been watching over Picardie’s historic capital. It stands out amongst the urban landscape, along with the Auguste Perret belfry and tower, and catches your eye as you approach Amiens. Marking the anniversary of its foundation stone, 2020 will be sparkling with events celebrating this octocentenary.

In 1220, 800 years ago, bishop Évrard de Fouilloy decided to rebuild Amiens Cathedral which had been destroyed by fire, entrusting Robert de Luzarches with this project. Even though both men were to pass away shortly afterwards, the initial momentum they generated led to the accomplishment in less than 70 years of a remarkable example of 13th century gothic architecture.

As the largest cathedral in France with an internal volume close to 200,000 m3, i.e. twice that of Notre-Dame de Paris, it is still greatly admired today and considered as a gothic masterpiece. It also has the highest nave height, with a height below vaulted ceiling of 42.30 m.

Amiens’ emblem

For the last eight centuries, the Cathedral has been inextricably linked with its city. It has witnessed heart-soaring moments such as the wedding of Charles VI to Isabeau de Bavière in 1385; the celebrations when Henry IV besieged the city in 1597 after its capture by the Spanish; and the liberation of Amiens in 1944. It also underwent the vicissitudes of history, particularly during both world wars, through which it escaped both times with very little damage, amongst the ruins of its beloved city.

Listed as a Historic Monument since 1862, Amiens Cathedral is also a treasure for mankind for two reasons. It is listed twice as a UNESCOWorld Heritage Site. First in 1981 as a masterpiece and a source of inspiration for the development of gothic architecture. Second in 1998 as one of the 78 stages along the “Santiago de Compostela pilgrim route in France”.