The Church of Saint-Nazaire and Saint-Celse

The building would be high on the site of a church of the time wisigothe (VIth century). The crypt would be only testimony. Started at the XIth century (blessing by the Pope Urbain II of materials into 1096), it will be altered on several occasions.

When Carcassonne becomes royal possession (XIIIth century), the Romance cathedral must be entirely destroyed and replaced by the Gothic style. For lack of appropriations, all will not be destroyed, the nave will be saved. It A was necessary to make a junction between the Romance nave with restricted dimensions and the Gothic transept intended for a more significant building.

The two styles, novel and Gothic, combine harmoniously: it is one of the interesting characteristics of this monument.

- a great Romance nave, the 2 side aisles are constant alternatively by round or square pillars (other characteristic).
- the ogival transept and the vaults (built by Pierre of Rochefort) are of Scandinavian influence, therefore purer Gothic.

"the Saint-Nazaire basilica presents the invasion of the ogival style, of north, in a Romance monument of the South." Eugène Viollet-le-Duc.


Cliquez on the plan to see the detail of the following elements:

1 : Saint-Pierre Vault
2 : Pierre of the seat
3 : Tomb of the Radulphe bishop
4 : Organ

Total length: 48.50 m
Length of the transepts: 34 m
Width of the 3 naves together: 16 m
History | Pictures | Guided visit | Architecture | The church | Let's attack the city

Saint-Pierre Vault

In this vault, which dates the XIV°century, is the tomb cenotaph of Pierre of Rochefort. The architectural type of this monument is rather rare in France (V the Duke): applied against the wall, it presents on a vertical surface the development of all the parts which constitute the mausoleum, with base, image of died and platform.


The bishop (in the center) is not lying on the base but draws up himself on this one. He is crowned by a plated platform; a canon and a deacon accompany it (2 side blind arcades).

This tomb measures 5m top; the 3 niches have a width of 1.20m each one and are divided into 3 stages: statuettes under blind arcade, statues and gâbles.

One owes to Pierre of Rochefort (bishop of Carcassonne from 1300 to 1322) practically all the Gothic work of the basilica.


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Stone of the seat

Simon de Montfort killed with the head office of Toulouse on June 25 1218 was brought back to Carcassonne and was buried in the Saint-Nazaire church. Its remainders were exhumed 3 years and were later carried in a monastery close to Montfort - Amaury (the Seine and Oise). It is possible that the stone known as hones seat, discovered in 1835 by Mérimée in the basilica, that is to say one of the pieces of the tomb of the head of the Albigensian crusade.

Length:  1.08m Width:  0.80m Thickness:  0.20m

Any gate to believe that this fragment represents the head office of Toulouse. One can see there the weapon (precision balance operated by women) which killed Simon de Montfort as his heart guided with the sky by an angel while its body is carried on a stretcher. The Garonne and the ramparts of Toulouse are present also.


At side of the stone of the seat is a cenotaph of Simon de Montfort who unfortunately is a forgery!

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Tomb of the Radulphe bishop

This plated tomb fits in a Gothic blind arcade. Guilhèm Radulphe, deceased in 1266, had obtained that the inhabitants of the borough (destroyed at the time of the crusade) can be established in a new borough, the current city-low one. The Radulphe vault was below built the basilica (level of the ex-cathedral Romance) and filled with middle height to equalize with the level of the Gothic cathedral. It is in 1839 that it was cleared and that Cros-Mayrevieille discovered the tomb.

This tomb is composed of 3 stages:

- 1er stages: scene of the funeral of the bishop whom one sees in the center on the funeral bed.

- 22nd stage: broad arabesque of plants.

- 32nd stage: effigy of late in high relief, covered ornaments pontifical and blessing.

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The organ of the Saint-Nazaire basilica is one of oldest of France.

History of the organ:

- 1680-1688: construction of the organ (from that existing 40 years before) by Jean de Joyeuse. Piping will be entirely remade.

- 1772-1775: complete raising by Jean Pierre Cavaillé; the instrument will be increases (32 plays and 3 keyboards).

- At the end of XIX2nd- at the beginning of XX 2nd century: the instrumental part is remade by Michel Roger (addition of romantic elements, of undulating plays).



The organ is in very bad condition in the Fifties. The association of the Friends of the organ (created in 1962) lance a great restoration which will take several years.

- 1970: classification like Historic building. A complete restoration is decided by the Commission of the Historical Organ.

- 1982: work of restoration is entrusted to Barthélémy Formentelli.

The organ of the basilica is a splendid instrument which have 4 keyboards, 40 plays and pedals called " to the Frenchwoman ".

The summer, from June to September, are organized " estival organ of the city " by the association of the friends of the organ: one can attend the concerts free.


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