Portal de la Calende 01 Rouen Cathedral French Moments
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Last Updated: 15 April 2020


The Calende Portal (Portail de la Calende) is situated in the South end of the transept of Rouen Cathedral. Richly decorated, the portal was built in the 15th century.

Portail de la Calende in Rouen Cathedral

Portail de la Calende, Rouen cathedral © French Moments
The South Transept of Rouen cathedral © French Moments

The richly decorated portal of the South Transept is known as ‘Portail de la Calende’.

Its name refers to the church meetings who took place during the calendes in a house which used to stand opposite the street. The portal was built in the 15th century thanks to the generosity of Jean Gorren, a rich bourgeois from Harfleur.

The portal was built with the stone of Vernon and was restored between 1861 and 1868.

The tympanum has three registers with bas-reliefs depicting the paschal mystery, the Passion and the redemption of humanity.

Tympanum of Portail de la Calende, Rouen cathedral © French Moments
Tympanum © French Moments

On the trumeau stands a statue of Christ.

The archivolts of the portal feature kings, prophets and bishops.

Like the Librarians Portal (North Transept) the portal is flanked by two square towers well proportioned with their sides pierced with long pointed windows. Above the portals rises a great gable topped by a statue.

The two buttresses flanking the portal are richly ornamented with feathered tracery, canopies, niches and statues, and terminates in pinnacles.

The cathedral of Rouen © French Moments
The cathedral of Rouen (Portail de la Calende) © French Moments

Above the gable is the great rose-window.

Portal de la Calende, Rouen Cathedral © French Moments
Gable and rose window © French Moments

The portal is finally surmounted by a second gable under which is a scene depicting the coronation of the Virgin.

Portail de la Calende, Rouen cathedral © French Moments
The second gable © French Moments

My book recommendation!

Its name? Simply:

Gothic: Architecture, Sculpture, Painting by Rolf Toman, Publisher: Ullmann

My copy of the book "Gothic: Architecture, Sculpture, Painting"
My copy of the book “Gothic: Architecture, Sculpture, Painting”

This book has been for me a great resource that helped me better understand the Gothic movement in art from the 12th century to the Renaissance. An architectural style that first originated from France and spread all over Europe.

Over 500 pages it focuses on the development of Gothic architecture with many illustrations and photographs, but not only. I’ve also found interesting the in-depth discussion of the most diverse art forms, including painting, sculpture, metalwork and even book illumination! It also includes specific coverage of the Cathars’ Heresy and the Papal Palace in Avignon. And, of course, it mentions the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Rouen!

This is definitely the book I recommend if – like me – you love everything about Gothic such as churches, gargoyles, stained glass, flying buttresses and so much more.

Order it online!

Find out more about Rouen Cathedral: the west front façade, the Tour Saint Romain, the Tour de Beurre, the lantern tower and the inside of the church.

For more information about Rouen and its region, visit the Rouen Tourist Board website.

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About the author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management. Pierre is the author of Discovery Courses and books about France.

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