Everyone knows that France is the European country of the great Gothic cathedrals. And the most famous are in the north of the country, with temples as emblematic as the cathedral of Amiens, Strasbourg or Notre Dame de Paris. But there are also others to the south of Gallic territory, and one of the most amazing is that of Narbona, which by the way was going to be a temple as grandiose as the previous ones, but it never came to be. be completed.
Specifically the Cathedral of Saint Justus and Shepherd of Narbonne began work in 1272, and as is often the case in these great temples, construction began in the area of its head facing east, where the apse and the altar should have been. In this way, the altar area, the ambulatory that surrounds it, several chapels in the surroundings and the choir in front of the altar were built. But there was still the nave and of course the portal at the western end. But that was never built.
The works were definitively concluded in the year 1340. By then everything that can be seen today was already built. At that time and to continue the works it was necessary to demolish a part of the old Roman wall of Narbonne, something to which the city council opposed.
Years later, in 1353, that decision turned out to be a wise one, as Narbonne was attacked by the Black Prince, the eldest son of the king ofEngland, and the city held out largely because of the existence of those walls. Therefore, the question of its demolition was never raised again.
Although, already in the 19th century, they wanted to provide the temple with a façade, and the prestigious historicist architect Violet del Duc, author of the recovery of the nearby Castle of Carcassonne, but his work was never carried out in Narbonne. In this way, today we see a cathedral without naves or facade, which does not mean that the building is impressive due to its size and its magnificent Gothic architecture based on the use of pointed arches, ribbed vaults, flying buttresses, stained glass windows, buttresses, pinnacles and all the emblematic repertoire of art from that period of the Middle Ages.
And the highlight is its conservation according to that initial project, whose master builder is known: Jean Deschamps, who also designed the cathedrals of Limoges or Clermont-Ferrand. Although in this case, the most characteristic of the building is that there are a few small towers that give it the appearance of a fortification. Something that should not be surprising and it should not be thought that they had a decorative character, and that is that the temple came to fulfill that defensive function, since, as we have said, the cathedral practically merged with the city walls that date back to its origins in Roman times.