The site the foundations of the Cathedral of Notre Dame rest on was occupied in the 7th century by a Benedictine monastery founded by Saint Philibert, the abbot of Noirmoutier.
Destroyed by the Normans in 853 and 877 and burned down by the Count of Poitou in 1068, nothing remains of the original building. Excommunicated for his crime by Pope Alexander II, the Count was given absolution on the condition that he rebuilt the church at his own expense. The work began in 1091 and was completed before 1121, when the new abbatial church was consecrated. All that remains of the Roman building is the north transept which has a magnificent porch.
A cathedral dominating the skyline
In 1811, following the suppression of the bishop’s throne by the 1801 concordat, the building was not in use. Restoration work on the roof, spire, pillars, windows, paving and furnishings did not begin until 1825, four years after the arrival of the first concordatory bishop.
The restoration work finished in 1840 and cost his majesty’s government the tidy sum of half a million francs.