St. Sernin Basilica

St. Sernin Basilica

One of the finest Romanesque churches in France, pairing large and harmonious architecture with important medieval sculptures and frescoes.

Quick Facts

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Basilica of St. Sernin
Basilique St-Sernin
St-Sernin Basilica
St. Sernin Basilica


250 CE

Martyrdom of St. Saturninus in Toulouse


The first shrine to Saturninus on the site of the present St. Sernin Basilica is built by Bishop Exupere of Toulouse, a little to the north of the saint's original tomb.


Pilgrimages to Toulouse increase rapidly with the rise of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, as the city is along a main route to the Spanish shrine.


Construction begins on a larger church in Toulouse to cope with the crowds of pilgrims stopping at the tomb of St. Sernin on their way to Santiago de Compostela. Fortunately, the city can afford it - its counts are the most powerful in southwest France an

24 May 1096

According to a surviving inscription, the altar of St. Sernin Basilica in Toulouse is consecrated by Pope Urban II on this date.


Eugene Viollet-le-Duc makes well-intentioned but overzealous "restorations" of St. Sernin Basilica, including raising the floors and plastering the walls.


An extensive cleaning and restoration project at St. Sernin Basilica reverses the modifications of Viollet-le-Duc and returns the church to its original medieval appearance.


  1. Gray-Durant, Delia. Blue Guide Southwest France. Blue Guide, 2006, pp. 588-91.
  2. Strafford, Peter. Romanesque Churches of France: A Traveller's Guide. Giles de la Mare, 2004, pp. 274-80.
  3. Official Website of St. Sernin Basilica. Web. Accessed 1 Nov. 2016. <>