Lillian : We also took a day-trip to Auxerre last spring when we were visiting Bourgogne.
|View from the train - somewhere between Avallon & Auxerre|
|Auxerre's train station|
Lillian : Auxerre is a major town - and whereas Avallon & Vézelay are perched on top of hills, Auxerre is in a valley and sits beside the Yonne River.
Audrey : But just like those other towns, Auxerre has a famous church - the Cathédrale Saint-Étienne. This Cathedral is very decorated compared to the other ones - though only one of its towers was built.
Lillian : This more ornamental style gets called Gothic, later than the Romanesque Basilica in Vézelay. Although most of the Cathedral was built in the early 1200s, this western facade wasn't finished until the 1500s.
Audrey : Well, it still isn't really finished - they forgot about that other tower!
Though that one they did build is very nice - did you notice how the falls of the wisteria flowers echoed the decoration on the tower?
Lillian : The three doorways on the Western side have wonderful Tympanum.
This is right-hand side as you are facing the Cathedral and probably completed close to 1240. The central part tells the story of David and Bathsheba and the tympanum portrays the story of John the Baptist.
|The South Portal|
Audrey : The Main doorway has even more people and they have fancy little platforms to stand on.
|The Main Portal|
|Here is a close up|
Audrey : Unfortunately all the people down low and within reach, had been beheaded - the poor things!
And on this side - in the middle - the north transept and another wonderful tympanum and lots of filigree carving. This dates from the end of the 1400s.
Audrey : So, if I have this correctly - the Gothic style has lots of fancy, filigree carving, and pointy arches and lots of gargoyles. This Cathedral has wonderful gargoyles.
|A monk with an animal's face?|
Lillian : I think they are meant to be scary - here is a Wikipedia article.
Audrey : Well, that man with the lizardy skin doesn't look happy and he might club you but the dragon is lovely - look how he is sitting on the corner, like he'll fly off any minute.
And these Gargoyles aren't scary at all.
|Smiling Lion sheltering a child|
Audrey : This one is clever - we'll show it turned round - the water pours from the jug on his shoulder and he has a sweet little doggy.
Lillian : This is the apse or chevet - it is at the Eastern end which is the tradition. Some of that was built in the first half of the thirteenth century - you can also see the buttresses.