ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Visiting Valenciennes, France: a skyline marked by the tower of Saint-Cordon church

Updated on September 10, 2011
Flag of France
Flag of France | Source
Valenciennes (Nord dept., France), 'Square de la Dodenne', view of Saint-Cordon church
Valenciennes (Nord dept., France), 'Square de la Dodenne', view of Saint-Cordon church | Source
Map location of Valenciennes 'arrondissement'
Map location of Valenciennes 'arrondissement' | Source

Ecclesiastical skyscraper and unmistakable architectural presence in the city

Situated a few kilometres from the border with Belgium, the city of Valenciennes in the Nord department of France suffered considerable war damage in the 20th century and many of its buildings are modern. One of the remaining, older buildings, the appearance of which has a striking effect on the city's skyline, is Saint-Cordon church, with its massive, 83-metre tower.

Some history and features

Replacing a previous church building, destroyed at the French Revolution, the church, in Gothic style (the 13th century expression of this style was particularly followed), dates from 1852, when building work commenced. Architect M. Grigny of Arras was responsible. It was inaugurated in 1864.

Features of the building include stained glass windows by Paul Ducatez. The tower was later restored by Léon Tiprez. Named for a Medieval legend, in full, the church is known as the Basilica of Our Lady of the Holy Ribbon (French: Basilique de Notre-Dame du Saint-Cordon ), The church is situated at the square named Place de l'Abbé-Theillier-de-Poncheville .

Comparative size of tower

The sheer size of the tower may be ascertained not only by its effect on the skyline of Valenciennes, but also by way of comparing it with famous, tall buildings. For example, at 106 metres, the World Building in New York City was the tallest skyscraper in the City from 1890 to 1894. At 88 metres, the United States Capitol was the tallest structure built in Washington, DC, in the 1860s. There is a sense in which such ecclesiastical architecture anticipated the skyscrapers which came into vogue in North America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries (1), albeit for a different purpose.

Today's skyscrapers are far higher, but one can imagine the original impression given by many of Europe's ecclesiastical buildings, some of them dating from several centuries past.


(1) One may recall, indeed, that another early skyscraper, New York City's Woolworth Building, was actually dubbed a 'Cathedral of Commerce' by a prominent clergyman.

Also worth seeing

In Valenciennes itself, the city hall's Renaissance-style frontage is impressive; the city has a well appointed fine arts gallery.

Saint-Amand-les-Eaux , France (distance: 15 kilometres) has noteworthy ecclesiastical architecture.

Tournai , Belgium (distance: 36 kilometres) has a striking Medieval Cathedral.


How to get there: Brussels Airlines flies from New York to Brussels Airport (Brussel Nationaal / Bruxelles-National ), from where car rental is available. Brussels has the nearest, large airport to Valenciennes (distance: 114 kilometres). Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. For any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities, please refer to appropriate consular sources.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    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)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)