The Les Jacobins Toulouse monastery complex is the largest of its kind in France. This isn't the only thing that it is known for, however. The Gothic architecture of the complex is quite impressive, and no visit would be complete without stepping inside for a look at the famous "palm tree" vault. This vault is comprised of a column that is attached to the ceiling by a series of differently sized ribs, and the achieved effect is splendid. Other simpler vaults serve as complements.
Work on the renowned Jacobin Convent in Toulouse began in 1230, and the project was carried out in different stages. The first mass to be held there was in 1292, and for centuries, the Dominican convent functioned without issue. During the French Revolution, however, the Dominicans were forced to abandon the Les Jacobins Toulouse Convent. The state took over, and at one point, the complex was actually used as a stable and barracks. Interesting to note is that during this same period, the relics of Saint Thomas Aquinas were moved from the Jacobin Convent to the Basilique Saint Sernin, which is also in Toulouse. In 1974, the relics of this famous saint were returned to the convent.
Visiting the Jacobin Convent is one of the most popular things to do in Toulouse. Thankfully for tourists, the complex can be found approximately equidistant from the Capitole and the Garonne River. This means that it can be easy to include on a multi-attraction itinerary. It doesn't cost anything to access most of the Les Jacobins Toulouse complex. There is a small fee for admittance to the cloister, however, and it is worth every euro. The views of the church's eight-sided tower from the cloister are great.
Visitors to the Jacobin Convent in Toulouse will find that the interior is rather austere, though cheerful at the same time. There is a sort of bright and airy appeal, and this has a lot to do with the stained glass windows that were designed in the 1950s and ‘60s by Max Ingrand. This famous French artist, who specialized in decorative arts, is especially known for his stained glass windows. Other examples of his work are found at many French churches, including the Saint Pierre de Montmarte Church in Paris. Ingrand didn't limit himself to stained glass windows, however, and his work isn't only on display in France. The roof of the theater at Bucharest's Royal Palace was designed by Ingrand, for example.
There are plenty of things that visitors can enjoy during a visit to the Les Jacobins Toulouse complex. The fourteenth-century frescos that decorate the Saint Antonin Chapel are interesting, for example, and the lovely arches that are found in the cloister deserve attention as well. There is a lot to take in overall, so it's good to know that the complex is open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. That gives visitors plenty of time to make the rounds.