Embrun Cathedral

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Cathédrale Notre-Dame d'Embrun
Haut ND embrun.jpg
Main façade of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Coordinates: 44°33′44″N 6°29′42″E / 44.56222°N 6.49500°E / 44.56222; 6.49500
Country France
Denomination Roman Catholic Church
Tradition Roman
Status Cathedral
Architectural type church
Style Neo-Byzantine and Neo-Romanesque
Diocese Gap
The Tympanum of the northern side portal with the tetramorphed Evangelists and the central Christ in Majesty.

The Cathedral of Our Lady of Embrun, (French: Cathédrale Notre-Dame du Réal d'Embrun) is a Roman Catholic church and former cathedral located in the town of Embrun, Hautes-Alpes, France.

The cathedral is a national monument and was the seat of the former Archbishopric of Embrun, which was divided between the Bishopric of Gap and the Archbishopric of Aix in 1822. On its door were posted in 1489 the thirty-two propositions imputed to the Waldenses, that presaged the campaign to extirpate them as heretics, which resurfaced in the Dauphiné with intense savagery during the Wars of Religion in France: Lesdiguières pillaged Embrun cathedral in 1585.

In the fifth century relics of St Nazarius were translated to Embrun, which had supported a bishop since the fourth century; Embrun became a noted place of pilgrimage. Charlemagne erected the basilica that was visited by Pope Leo III.[1] The cathedral church, built on foundations that date to its founding in the ninth century, was constructed between 1170 and 1220; its Romanesque portal, columns supported on crouching lions in the north portal[2] and striped stonework courses in cream and gray stone express cultural links with Lombardy.[3] The interior has an elaborate Baroque high altar inlaid in colored marbles, recently rediscovered frescoes, an organ (the oldest working in France[4]) donated by Louis XI of France, who habitually sported in his cap a leaden emblem of the Virgin of Embrun,[5] and whose last words were addressed to "Nôtre Dame d'Embrun, ma bonne maîtress, ayez pitié de moi".[6]


  1. ^ As well, at a later date by Henry II of France and Louis XVIII (The Catholic Encyclopedia, s.v. "Gap, diocese of").
  2. ^ "On the south side or at the west end shafts rest sometimes on the backs of crouching lions (Embrun) as in Italy." (Marcel Aubert and Simone Goubet, Romanesque cathedrals and abbeys of France1966, p. 483.
  3. ^ "The Lombardic lateral portal of the cathedral of Embrun" is noted by Kenneth John Conant, Carolingian and Romanesque architecture, 800 to 1200, 1993, p. 260.
  4. ^ Howard Goodall, 2000, Big Bangs, p. 92.
  5. ^ The Catholic Encyclopedia, s.v. "Gap, diocese of".
  6. ^ Reported, among others, by Augustus Hare, South-Eastern France, 1890, p. 486.

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