Cathédrale St-Pierre information
Beauvais’ unfinished Cathédrale St-Pierre is to church architecture what the Venus de Milo is to sculpture: a fantastically beautiful work with certain key extremities missing – in this case, the nave. When the town’s Carolingian cathedral was partly destroyed by fire in 1225, a series of ambitious local bishops and noblemen decided that its replacement should surpass anything ever built. Unfortunately, their soaring and richly adorned creation surpassed not only its rivals but the limits of the technology of the time, and in 1272 and again in 1284 the 48m-high vaults collapsed. Inside, at the end of the north transept, the oldest chiming clock in the world (1303) sounds out the hour. Next to it, the astronomical clock , built in 1868 and set to solar time (and thus more than 50 minutes behind Central European Time), begins a 25-minute sound and light show at 10.40am, 11.40am, 2.40pm, 3.40pm and 4.40pm daily.