ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Visiting, Senlis, northern France, and its Medieval Cathedral: conspicuous by its spire

Updated on December 7, 2012
Flag of France
Flag of France | Source
Senlis Cathedral seen from the east
Senlis Cathedral seen from the east | Source
Map location of the 'arrondissement' of Senlis
Map location of the 'arrondissement' of Senlis | Source

A 'sentinel' for centuries, taller than Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris

Situated in the northern French department of Oise, the Cathedral at Senlis is an ancient structure, impressive not only because of its Medieval origins but because of its conspicuous spire.

Some history and features

The impression of the Cathedral's height is increased by the fact that the surrounding area of Picardy (French: Picardie ) is very flat. The spire of the Cathedral thus stands as a perennial 'sentinel'.

The Cathedral, in Gothic style, was built in the 12th century, a period of French history which was a particularly significant amount of ecclesiastical architecture being built. Its remarkable 78-metre south tower (1), with multiple pinnacles, is said to have been inspired by Chartres Cathedral, and dates from the 13th century. (Given that the length of the Cathedral is 76-metres, the proportions of the south tower are thus heightened.)

The north tower is symmetrical with the lower part of the south tower, although it lacks a spire. The Cathedral's ornate doorway at the west frontage dating from the 12th century depicts various religious themes. Some features in flamboyant Gothic were added to the transept in the 16th century.

The 12th century choir was damaged in a fire in the 16th century; its subsequent repairs included an enlargement from its original dimensions.

Previously Senlis Cathedral was the seat of a diocese, but this was transferred to Beauvais by Napoleon in 1801.

One cannot underestimate the sheer power of impression and illusion which such Medieval, ecclesiastical architecture would doubtless have impressed the common people.


(1) At 78 metres, the south tower of Senlis Cathedral is thus slightly taller than the twin towers of Paris's Notre Dame Cathedral.

Also worth seeing

In Senlis itself, Gallo-Roman walls have survived; the Old Town has picturesque, Medieval passageways.

Chantilly (distance: 11 kilometres); its partly 16-century and partly 19th century château contains the Condé museum.

Noyon (distance: 60 kilometres) has a 12th and 13th century Cathedral and the birthplace museum of the Protestant leader John Calvin.


How to get there: United Airlines flies from New York Newark to Paris (Aéroport Paris-Charles de Gaulle ), from where car rental is available. Paris is at a distance of 51 kilometres from Senlis . The French railroad company SNCF maintains a service between Paris Gare du Nord and Senlis. Some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. You are advised to check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 

      6 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      I remember camping at this beautiful old town as a teensger. I'm afraid that it wasn't the magnificent spire that sticks in my memory but the smell of the toilets!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)