Beauvais - the highest vault of the Gothic world
A cathedral with more ambition than sense?
Ambition is good. But sometimes, it goes too far.
The builders of Beauvais cathedral wanted to build the tallest cathedral in the whole of Europe. And they succeeded - up to a point. Despite the collapse of the choir vaults during the building process, they carried on, creating a terrifying high, narrow choir and incredible transepts.
And then it all went wrong. The central tower started to collapse, and the money ran out. As they say, pride comes before a fall. So now, Beauvais is left with a half a cathedral - but what a half! It even has two astronomical clocks - a medieval one and a nineteenth century timepiece - since one wasn't enough.
We also visit the church of Saint-Etienne, an earlier building with some masterpieces of stained glass and a romanesque window which shows the Wheel of Fortune. And we learn about the Feast of Fools and the canons who made donkey noises at Mass!
This Podtour™ starts outside the Archbishop's Palace, at the west end of the cathedral.
.Other French cathedral Podtours include: