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Sens Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-Etienne de Sens) Tours

Sens Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-Etienne de Sens)
With a history dating back to 1140, Sens Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-Etienne de Sens) is one of the oldest Gothic buildings in France and was once one of the most important in the country—Louis IX married here in 1234. Its elaborately decorated facade and exquisite stained-glass windows make it the undisputed star attraction of Sens.

The Basics
Just over an hour from Paris, Sens Cathedral makes a popular choice for a day trip, often in combination with a visit to medieval Troyes nearby or wine tasting in the Burgundy region. Visitors come to the cathedral to admire the magnificent architecture and discover the Treasury, where precious items include an alleged piece of the true cross, the vestments of Thomas Becket, and the tomb of Louis, Dauphin of France, the son of Louis XV.

Things to Know Before You Go
  • Sens Cathedral is a must for those interested in French architecture.
  • Entrance to the church is free; guided tours of the cathedral and its south tower are possible in July and August.
  • Daily services are held at the church.
  • Most areas of the church are wheelchair-accessible.

How to Get There
Sens Cathedral is located in the North Burgundy town of Sens, around 78 miles (125 kilometers) southeast of Paris. Direct trains run from Paris’ Gare de Lyon station to Sens and take 1.5 hours. The cathedral is located right in the heart of the city, around a 20-minute walk from the train station.

When to Get There

The church is open to visitors daily from morning to evening, outside of service times. From June to mid-September, a sound and light show—the Lumières de Sens—takes place against a backdrop of the cathedral every Friday and Saturday evening from 10:30pm.

A Walking Tour of Sens

While the cathedral is undoubtedly the town’s main attraction, the historic center harbors a number of other sights. Right next door to the cathedral, the Museums of Sens (Musées de Sens) are housed in the former archbishops' palace, while the half-timbered Maison d’Abraham dates back to the 16th century. Nearby, the 19th-century Covered Market (Marché Couvert) hosts an atmospheric market on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday mornings—pick up some picnic supplies and head to the Parc du Moulin to enjoy them amid the beautiful botanical gardens.
Address: Place Jean Jaurès, Saint-Étienne, 42000, France
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