Toulon Cathedral

The Toulon Cathedral is one of the most popular attractions in the city of Toulon. It also serves as a Roman Catholic cathedral and is a national monument of France. Much of the Toulon Cathedral’s allure for tourists is related to the structure’s architectural beauty and its rich artwork. Visitors certainly have plenty to admire both inside and out. As for the city of Toulon, it can be found along the southern coast of France approximately 42 miles east of Marseille.


Toulon’s first cathedral dated back to the fifth century. No trace remains of the old structure. Work on the current cathedral began in 1096 under the then Count of Provence, Gilbert. At first, a Romanesque church was erected, of which three bays of the nave remain. The 11th century choir apse of the church also remains and is now the St. Joseph Chapel. Another chapel, the Chapel of Relics, was constructed in the 15th century. This chapel was better incorporated into the rest of the complex during additions that were made in the 1600s. The Classical facade was created between the years of 1696 and 1701. This coincided with the reign of Louis XIV. During the French Revolution, the facade was severely damaged. It was later restored to its original glory in 1816. Finally, the Toulon Cathedral’s clock tower was built between the years of 1737 and 1740.

Art & Architecture

The Toulon Cathedral exhibits a mix of art and architectural styles. The 11th century church is in the Romanesque style and has hints of the Gothic style that started to become popular in the 12th century. The facade, on the other hand, is in the Classical style, while the 17th century retable that is housed inside the building is a remarkable example of the Baroque style. The retable, it should be mentioned, is without question one of the best Toulon Cathedral features. The dynamic framed altarpiece is made of marble and stucco and was installed in 1681. It replaced the original retable, which was made of wood and fell victim to fire in 1661. The designer of the original Toulon Cathedral retable was a sculptor and painter by the name of Pierre Puget. Pierre hailed from Marseille and largely plied his trades in both France and Italy. His nephew and student, Christophe Veyrier, is credited with creating the Toulon Cathedral’s replacement retable. Other Toulon features of interest include, but certainly aren’t limited to, beautiful stained-glass windows and an immaculately-carved wooden pulpit.

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