Map of Beauvais
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I visited this church on a trip from Reims to Le Havre. It has a very interesting history and we decided to make a stop there. The church has the highest gothic vault in the world which is remarkable enough. For whatever reason the people of this (today otherwise not very interesting) town planned to build the largest church in Europe. They built first the choir up to an incredible hight of 48 meters! Unfortunately the building collapsed, even more then once and it took them many years just to fix the damages. In the end the construction and reconstruction got so expensive that today we have just the choir and a transept without a nave!
There is an excellent audio guide that you can rent and I spent about two hours following the ambitious and desperate history of this church. It shows the ultimate peak of gothic art and its technical failure. The high vault is a true marvel and the many high windows seem almost to resolve the wall. You can see the marvellous reflections on my pictures. This spiritual space is strangely contrasted by big beams which keep the church from collapsing.
In the church you find the oldest fully preserved and functioning mechanical clock in Europe. Next to it is a highly complicated Beauvais Astronomical clock with moving figures from 1866. It is a marvel with clocks from different time zones, weather measurements, a last judgement and even a mechanism showing the tide at Mont Saint-Michel! All of this and much more still works today and is designed very artistically.
A unique, fascinating church, almost a tower of Babel of the late middle ages!