Place de l'Evêché
01 April - 31 October
Mon 9.00 - 18.00
Tue 9.00 - 18.00
Wed 9.00 - 18.00
Thu 9.00 - 18.00
Fri 9.00 - 18.00
Sat 9.00 - 12.00 • 13.00 - 18.00
Sun 9.00 - 12.00 • 13.00 - 18.00
01 November - 31 March
Mon 9.00 - 17.00
Tue 9.00 - 17.00
Wed 9.00 - 17.00
Thu 9.00 - 17.00
Fri 9.00 - 17.00
Sat 9.00 - 12.00 • 13.00 - 17.00
Sun 9.00 - 12.00 • 13.00 - 17.00
01/04 - 31/10
Monday to Friday : 10 am - 6 pm (closed Monday morning)
Saturday - Sunday - Holidays : 1 pm - 6 pm
01/11 - 31/03
Monday to Friday : 10 am - 5 pm (closed Monday morning)
Saturday - Sunday - Holidays : 1 pm - 5 pm
Office du Tourisme +32 69 22 20 45
Monday to Friday : 11 am
Saturday : 10 am : Eucharist
10.45 am : adoration
Sunday : 10 am : Eucharist
5.30 pm : vespers
Here is an impressive and exceptional building on many counts: a very old history ( 12th century), gigantic proportions (134 metres long and 67 metres wide at the transept), five absolutely original, astonishing, emblematic belfries which are not seen anywhere else, a Romanesque and Gothic architecture with Baroque touches, inside surprising treasures like the rood-screen, a painting by Rubens, the reliquaries of Our Lady and of Saint Eleuthere, the organs, the stained glass windows especially the rose window, the tapestries, the recent statue of Father Damien.
The cathedral is being restored since 2006 and one cannot visit the entire building due to the work in progress. Thus the transept and choir are inaccessible. The rood-screen, pulpit and organ are covered and not visible. Outside, scaffolding masks the towers. The main works of art are in a place of safety but an exhibition next to the cathedral allows one to see those that are not on site and the development of the restoration work, which will continue for many years yet, as is the case for many mediaeval cathedrals of Europe. Despite the works, a part of the cathedral is always accessible and religious and community life is always celebrated either by masses in the Romanesque nave or by prayers in the chapels.
KIKIRPA : Photo-library online
Work of 7m in diameter designed by an architect from Lille, Charles César Benvignat. The window is a rose divided into sixteen compartments. It is equipped with a medieval style glass roof by the great Belgian glass artist Jean-Baptiste Capronnier. In the centre is Mary, represented as a Sedes Sapientiae, magnified by three circular areas: a choir of cherubim heads, the twelve signs of the zodiac chanted by the four seasons, and the sixteen prophets who announced the coming of the Messiah.
This silver and gilded copper chest is an anonymous work from the first half of the 13th century intended to house the relics of Saint Eleuthère, the first resident bishop of Tournai. The canons carried it in procession to every public calamity, from famines and epidemics to floods caused by the floods of the Scheldt.
On one side, Saint Eleutherus holds in his hand the Romanesque cathedral with five towers. Dressed in episcopal garments, he sits on a curule chair, and keeps the panel that allows access to the inside of the shrine.
On the other gable, Christ trampled at the feet of the lion and the dragon, triumphing over the demon and sin through his Resurrection, whose standard he holds. The side faces are decorated with the apostles, an Annunciation to Mary and personifications of the Church and the Synagogue (woman with blindfolded eyes).
Chest covered with gold and silver, work by Nicolas de Verdun. Apogee of the 1200 style, it is characterized by the emancipation of the rigid Romanesque cannons, by softening the drapes that will let the bodies guess and give the characters a maximum of expressiveness. The treatment of figurines heralds the conquests of the great 13th century statuary. On the sides, we discover scenes from Mary's life. On the gables, a Christ in majesty surrounded by angels, and an Adoration of the Magi in which Mary appears crowned, which is rare if not unique for the time.
Set between the Romanesque nave and the transept, this small oratory, founded in 1173, houses a series of wall paintings in two superimposed registers separated by an ornamental band with geometric motifs. The upper register illustrates several episodes of the life of Saint Catherine of Alexandria. The lower register, in better condition, represents a remarkable crucifixion inserted in the niche of the eastern wall. The body of Christ is held on the cross by four nails, according to an iconographic tradition dating back to before the 13th century. The personifications of the Church and the Synagogue each brandish a phylactery in which their name appears.
Works by Arnould de Nijmegen and Gauthier de Campes in the years 1490-1500, these canopies originally decorated the lower windows of the choir ambulatory. Reconstructed after the explosion of the citadel's powder magazine in 1745, they had to wait until 1845 to be transferred to the seven lower windows of the southern transept crossroads and faithfully restored by Jean-Baptiste Capronnier. The lower part tells the story of the struggle between the Merovingian kings Chilpéric and his brother Sigebert; the upper part presents the economic privileges of the cathedral chapter.
This choir hanging, the oldest preserved in Europe, consists of a double series of tapestries, made in 1402 in Arras by Pierre Feré. Preserved in the Cathedral's Chapel of the Holy Spirit, it tells the story of the life of Saint Piat, the first evangelizer of our regions in the 3rd century, and of Saint Eleuthère, one of the first bishops of Tournai in the 5th century.
Built from 1570 to 1573 in Renaissance style, the work of Corneille de Vriendt, known as Floris, replaces the Gothic rood, damaged by the Iconoclasts in August 1566. Its structure evokes Roman arches of triumph, but its iconography remains medieval. It is organized around the Virgin and the saints Piat and Eleutherus and correlates scenes from the Gospels (upper register) and scenes from the Old Testament (lower register).
A 16th century fore-port protects the western portal, which is characterised by three carved areas of different ages and values. In the centre, Notre-Dame des malades, a young mother presenting a bunch of grapes to her son, dates from the early 14th century except for the head, which was torn off by iconoclasts and replaced in 1609. As early as the 14th century, the canons renewed the entire decoration of the previous Romanesque porch. There remains, on the lower level, a series of bas-reliefs representing the prophets. The other parts of the statuary were replaced in the 16th and 17th centuries. In the upper niches are represented the apostles and saints of the diocese, while at the intermediate level, on the side of Saint Eleutherus, scenes from the life of Chilperic are displayed, to which the privileges of the chapter are brought up, and on the side of Saint Piat the procession of translation of relics of Saints Piat and Eleutherus takes place after the fire in the cathedral in the middle of the 11th century.