Marvel at the wooden organ and work out the parables depicted in the stained glass in this blend of two separate religious buildings.
Saint Etienne Cathedral is an exceptional combination of two incomplete medieval churches. As such, its western façade is irregular, adorned with a mixture of Gothic and Romanesque features. Notice the many beautiful abnormalities as you make your way around the exterior and interior of this remarkable mongrel of a church.
Snap photos of the intriguing façade, recognizable by its large 13th-century rose window. Consider how the slanted roof of the Romanesque façade appears out of place with the oblong tower of Gothic design. Admire the elaborate arches, pillars and brick patterns that complete the western frontage.
Enter the church to look around the spacious nave, where sunlight streams through the colorful designs of the wonderful stained-glass windows. Inspect the walls of the church’s interior, which are decorated with Baroque fittings and works of art. The nave also has mixture of architectural styles, having been modified and added to many times over the centuries.
For a more comprehensive understanding of the context and history of this exceptional cathedral, an audio guide is available. Inspect the large wooden organ at the back of the church. Attend a Mass service and listen to the powerful reverberations of the organ. The church has excellent acoustics. At other times, enjoy the sense of serenity in this tranquil religious haven.
Note that the cathedral, which is free to enter, opens daily from morning until evening. There is a fee to access the chancery, which contains fascinating religious artifacts.
Saint Etienne Cathedral is on the southeastern corner of its namesake square a little southeast of the city center of Toulouse. Ride the metro to the François-Verdier stop and walk west for 1 or 2 minutes to get to the church. Explore the area to see other sights such as the Church of Saint-Aubin, the Paul Dupuy Museum and the Jardin Royal.