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César Daly

Cité épiscopale d’Albi

César-Dénis Daly was the 19th Century French architect responsible for the project which saw the restoration of the Cathedral of Sainte-Cécile from 1843 to 1877.

In 1844 the roof was unstable and water infiltration was damaging the vault and its paintings, prompting César Daly to elaborate his project to restore the Cathedral. He constructed a raised roof that he masked by raising the walls seven metres. At the base of this structure he placed a series of gargoyles to allow the run-off of rain water. These modifications completely altered the aesthetic balance between tower and the nave.

Following the restoration, César Daly sought to “complete” the construction of the Cathedral. On top of each buttress he constructed a 6.8 metre circular turret, mounted upon the turret was a 6.1 metre spire, itself mounted with a 2.5 metre iron cross. The result was 32 pinnacles, completely foreign to the Southern Gothic aesthetic, an incongruity which became apparent when the pinnacles of the apse were completed.


Construction was stopped in 1866 and after Daly’s death in 1894 the Minister of Ecclesiastical Affairs assigned another architect, Poidevin, the task of completing the walls. The pinnacles were removed.

Finally the stone balustrade that Daly had installed between the turrets was replaced by a brick wall.

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