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Early in the first millennium, an episcopal quarter is established on the eastern slope of the Poitevan plateau. It includes a baptistery, a bishop's palace and a cathedral church. If nothing remains of the original building, it can be likely situated in the immediate proximity of the baptistery. Later on, it was moved, probably northwards towards the present day location. On that spot, several buildings followed before a great reconstruction began around the year 1160, giving the present-day cathedral its basic appearance.


As a masterpiece of Angevin Gothic, Saint Peters cathedral shows individual dome-shaped vaults and massive reinforcement of the side walls (by rows of arches inside and huge quadrangular buttresses outside), typical elements of this style. The spare decoration and simplicity of the volumes make a good setting for the rich furniture :  the great 18th century organ, the baroque altarpieces, the medieval choir stalls, and the remarkable Romanesque style stained-glass window of the Crucifixion.









Continued during the 13th century, the façade is more characteristic of the Parisian Gothic style, with sculpted portals and a rose-window. It remained nevertheless unfinished; in the 19th century, after important consolidation and repair, a revival style gable framed by towers was placed to crown the medieval façade on its upper levels.

 

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