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Coutances Cathedral
Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Coutances

Overview of Coutances Cathedral from the north

Basic information
Location Coutances, France France
Geographic coordinates 49°02′52″N 1°26′45″W / 49.04778°N 1.44583°W / 49.04778; -1.44583Coordinates: 49°02′52″N 1°26′45″W / 49.04778°N 1.44583°W / 49.04778; -1.44583
Affiliation Roman Catholic
Rite Roman Rite
Region Lower Normandy
Province Diocese of Coutances
Ecclesiastical or organizational status Cathedral
Status Active
Architectural description
Architectural type church
Architectural style French Gothic
Groundbreaking 1210 (1210)
Completed 1274 (1274)

Coutances Cathedral (French: Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Coutances) is a Gothic Roman Catholic cathedral constructed from 1210 to 1274 in the town of Coutances, Normandy, France. It incorporated the remains of an earlier Norman cathedral.

It is the seat of the Bishop of Coutances and Avranches and was previously that of the Bishop of Coutances.

Standing 80 metres (295 ft) tall, it dominates the town and can be seen from as far away as the island of Jersey. It is a classic example of the Gothic style of Normandy in its use of long, straight, vertical lines.


The construction of the first church or cathedral in Coutances in the 5th century is credited to Saint Ereptiolus, traditionally also the first bishop. This cathedral was destroyed during the invasion of the Normans in the 9th century.

The site lay waste for about 150 years but, in the mid-11th century, Robert, bishop of Coutances, undertook the rebuilding of the cathedral in the Romanesque or Norman style, starting with the nave.

The Romanesque cathedral suffered later from a serious fire. In 1210 Bishop Hugues de Morville started to build the present Gothic cathedral, retaining the dimensions and much of the fabric of the Romanesque building. Substantial remains of it underlie many of the walls and towers of the present cathedral.

The new cathedral was completed in 1274 and has remained basically unaltered since. The twin towers rise to almost 80m, and its octagonal lantern tower stands over 57m high.

During World War II, although much damage was done to the town of Coutances, the cathedral again escaped almost unscathed.

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