Liège Cathedral is known for its small, but exceptional treasury museum dedicated to the former principality of Liège, which was once an independent state of the Holy Roman Empire. Visit the cathedral itself, a grand work of Gothic architecture with an elaborate interior that features ceiling frescos and marble sculptures.
You may immediately notice that Liège Cathedral is not as large as most other cathedrals found in Belgium. It was not originally intended to serve as a cathedral when it was first built in the 10th century. It was founded as St. Paul’s, one of the city’s seven collegiate churches. After the destruction of St. Lambert Cathedral, Liège Cathedral was promoted as a replacement in the early 19th century.
Walk around the interior of the cathedral and admire its many exquisite features. Look up to see the splendid curves of the vaulted ceiling and its 16th-century frescoes. Watch for the white marble Reclining Christ, which was created by famed Baroque sculptor Jean Del Cour in the late 17th century.
You’ll find the well-known treasury museum set in the cathedral’s 15th-century cloisters. The treasury houses numerous important pieces of artwork belonging to the cathedral and to its predecessor, St. Lambert’s Cathedral. Be sure to see the gold reliquary of Charles the Bold, a gift of penance that depicts the duke kneeling before St. George.
Look for the 16th-century shrine of St. Lambert, which is among the treasury’s most valuable artifacts. This rare gold bust is said to contain the saint’s skull. A bas-relief shows the Crucifixion, which is believed to hold a piece of the True Cross. You’ll also see the shroud of St. Lambert, several 11th-century ivory sculptures, as well as liturgical ornaments and beautiful textiles.
Liège Cathedral is located in the Quartier de l'Île. Admission to the cathedral is free, however, there is a small admission fee to enter the treasury museum. The cathedral is open daily, but the treasury is closed on Mondays.