Saint Sernin Basilica, Toulouse: Romanesque enchantment (just ignore the parking lot)

By now you know that I feel all warm in my ladyparts just thinking about Romanesque art and architecture, most especially French Romanesque.  The juiciest of all French Romanesque buildings are the pilgrimage churches, and Saint Sernin is a delightful representation of a French Romanesque pilgrimage church, complete with stunning well-preserved stone carvings, medieval frescos, capital carvings, an ambulatory that seems carved out of ivory and a museum-like crypt treasury.  What doesn’t Saint Sernin have going for it?  A stunning setting.  Seriously, urban planners of Toulouse, did you really need to put a giant ugly parking lot right in front of your most gorgeous landmark?


Built from 1080 – 1150.  In this view you see the chapels radiating the ambulatory.  The tower has five stories.


Porte Miegeville tympanium with the Ascension of Christ, door built before 1118,  thumb photo-bomb present day.  It’s hard to see in the picture, but there’s a line up of head-craning apostles looking up to the ascension in the center of the portal.


The ascension of Christ, who is so chubby he needs the assist of two angels.  In an art historical context, the upward movement rendered in stone in a landmark achievement.

ss2  ss4


King David is all chill playing his harp despite being surrounded by lions.



Lock outside the crypt.


Fresco from around 1180.



Try to see the ambulatory in the strong morning light.



Tubby Christ in Majesty surrounded by the symbols of the four evangelists.  I like his long hair.




Good night Saint Serin.  We’ll be back soon!


How we got to Toulouse: train from Moissac.

Where we slept: Hotel Saint-Severin.  Price: €54 for a double.  Recommended: yes.







  1. Super to see St. Sernin again…it must be over forty years since I was there…and there wasn’t a car park then, but French municipal planners hadn’t really got into their stride then!


  2. It really has been well preserved…despite the car park.


  3. Lovely…..Thanks for this eye opener…


    1. Thanks for reading madamsabi!


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