CATHEDRAL QUEST: our quest to experience cathedrals in Europe-Viollet-Le-Duc .


Eugène Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc (27 January 1814 – 17 September 1879) was a French architect and theorist, famous for his interpretive restorations of medieval buildings. Born in Paris, he was a major Gothic revival architect. His works were largely restorative and few of his independent building designs were ever constructed.

 During the early 1830s, a popular sentiment for the restoration of medieval buildings developed in France. Viollet-le-Duc, returning during 1835 from study in Italy, was commissioned  to restore the Romanesque abbey of Vezelay. This work was the first of a long series of restorations.

Viollet-le-Duc's restorations frequently combined historical fact with creative modification. For example, under his supervision, Notre Dame was not only cleaned and restored but also "updated", gaining its distinctive third tower  in addition to other smaller changes.

 Another of his most famous restorations, the medieval fortified town of Carcassonne, was similarly enhanced, gaining atop each of its many wall towers a set of pointed roofs that are actually more typical of northern France.

In addition to Notre Dame and Sante Chapelle, which we visited in 2005 and 2006. On our France 2012 adventure we will visit the following churches which show the influence of Viollet-le-Duc.


Basilica of St. Mary Magdalen-Vezelay

Notre Dame -Semur–en–Auxois

Clermont-Ferrand Cathedral

St. Sernin -Toulouse

St. Nazarius and St. Celsus - Carcassonne

the fortress at Carcassonne