Cathedral de Frèjus

Historical documents show the Christian community was in place in the early 5th Century. The baptistery, which still remains an is part of the cathedral remains today.

Visits are with a guide and are available in French and English. The starting point is the baptistery.

Baptistery - Frejus

Right: Baptistry

Unfortunately for us, our guide was in French so there was lots missed. The baptistery (Paleochristian architecture 5th C AD) is the oldest in France. You would enter via a small door, receive the sacrament and then leave by a large door into the sacred area of the cathedral.

To support the college of canons, builds were built around the cathedral during the 11th to 14th centuries.

There were attacks and the cathedral and its buildings were protected by a wall.

Like many structures, there waas destruction as a result of the Revolution, but the bishop's palace was rebuilt starting in 1823. The cloisters were restored between 1920 and 1932.

When you visit the cathedral and cloisters they provide a very informative brocheure with history the cathedral and the cloisters.

The cathedral itself, dates fromthe 5th Century and was rebuilt and extended many times. In fact, two adjoining churches (the Notre-Dame Church, the cathedral of the 13th Century, and the Saint-Étienne Church - the former parish church which dates from the 11th Century) were joined into one in the 13th Century.


Cloisters Frejus

There are small twin columns made from white Carrara marble.

Capitals, cloisters of Frejus

The capitals have simple decorations of plant leaves and shells.

Capitals, cloisters of Frejus

In the centre is a small garden and a well.

Capitals, cloisters of Frejus

The wooden ceiling, made of larch wood, of the galleries are supported by a wooden frame. Beams rest on two rows of moulded corbels. The ceiling is decorated with painted panels on three levels. Of the 1,200 small paintings on the ceiling, some 300 are still visible; they represent secular (canons, saints, bishops, angels and demons), daily life (tradesmen, citizens) and rich imaginary of bestiary (dragons, hybrid beings where objects are grafted on humans). The scenes make up a good and evil image.

Not much is known why the images are as such. There were many painted ceilings in the 14th Century but few remain.

Capitals, cloisters of Frejus

The upper storey was built around the previous lower cloister. The north side has survived. The gallerie has round arches and the capitals of the column are treated slightly differently from those on the ground floor.


The cloisters were built in the 13th Century, using Esterel sandstone and res used stones taken from ancient monuments in the town. For example, you will find the stairs to the upper level of the cloisters having very tall steps. It turns out, the steps used seats from a former Roman amphitheater that was in Frèus.

There are small twin columns made from white Carrara marble. The capitals have simple decorations of plant leaves and shells.

The wooden ceiling was added in the 14th Century when the second floor was added. Previously, the cloisters had stone vaults. The ceiling were painted with scenes of daily living and bestiary.

The eastern gallery has an arch to denote the entrance into the Saint-Étienne Church. In the southern gallery another arch denotes the entrance into the original cathedral.

The cloister’s wall-closet has pillars at the corners. Each side is composed of nine lancet arches supported by eight narrow double marble columns with flat-leafed capitals decorated with shells, palms, palm trees, fleurs de lis, pine-cones, etc.

The cathedral and cloisters are located at 48 rue du Cardinal Fleury. There is a good-sized parking lot that is not far from the cathedral and the plaza.