The Church of Saint-Etienne

The Church of Saint-Étienne in Nevers is little known, like many of Nièvre’s monuments. It is one of the most beautiful and best preserved Romanesque style churches in France.

The Church of Saint-Etienne, located in rue Saint Etienne is an example of Romanesque architecture. Built by the monks of Cluny at the end of the 11th century, the church of Saint-Etienne was consecrated more than 900 years ago by Yves de Chartres. Little changed over time, the church presents a true testimony of the spirit of the first great Western art.

After the unsuccessful attempt to restore the old oratory, Bishop Hugues de Champallement and Count Guillaume gave the site to the Benedictines of Cluny abbey in 1068. The construction of a new priory began with the church and was completed on 13th December 1097. “The most perfect 11th century monument left to France,” according to Viollet-Le-Duc.

The chevet with its radiant chapels, is to be admired for the harmony of its proportions. The nave is covered by a vault that rises to 18 metres in height. For its time, the boldness of such a design inspires admiration. It was one of the first churches of this type, with a barrel vault, 3 levels and direct lighting of the nave.

The church has a plan with 3 naves and ambulatory onto which open radiant chapels. 

The church's modern day appearance is the result of several developments undertaken in the 19th century. It has been listed as an Historical Monument since 1840.


Open all year round from 10:00am  to 6:00pm every day

1 • Église Saint-Etienne

Rue Saint-Étienne,
Rue du Charnier