The Cathedral of St. Maurice is a stately and interesting edifice in the lower part of the town, raised upon an elevated basement or parvis, facing the river, on a line with the bridge, and approached by a broad flight of steps. Its W. front, flanked by 2 massive towers, is rich in flamboyant ornaments, but they are clumsy and without delicacy. It was much mutilated, like all the churches on the Rh6ne, by the fanatic Huguenot soldiery (1562), less than 30 years after its completion. The interior wants height.

“Veüe de la Ville de Vienne en Dauphiné, le 20 1619” by Etienne Martellange. 1619. Source: BnF.

The pointed roof, painted blue, and sprinkled with stars, and the 4 compartments nearest to the W. end, seem of the same age, viz. 15th or 16th centy. The pillars of the choir, and the apses at the E. end, are said to be of the 12th centy. The delicate carving of the capitals and of other ornaments is very remarkable. There are no transepts. A marble monument of an Archbishop Montmorin, on the rt. of the altar, though much vaunted, seems a heavy piece of work; its artist was called Michel Angelo Slodtz. The N. porch retains Bome statues in a stiff style.

The Romanesque tower of St. André le Bas, a curious and very old church, will be admired by the architect for its composition and proportions; but the cloister, so interesting for the varied sculpture of its capitals, is now included in a private garden, and its pillars built up in a wall.

From: A handbook for travellers in France


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