In the summer you can discover Sens and the Sénonais region… from up high! This exceptional guided tour of the cathedral opens the doors which are normally closed to the public, to unveil a whole new side of the first Gothic cathedral in the world.  After climbing the 66 steps to the top, there’s a breath-taking view over Sens and the surrounding area. You need to work hard but the view is definitely worth the effort! This is an opportunity to learn more about Saint-Etienne cathedral in Sens!

A tour you are privileged to take part in

This guided tour is only offered in the summer, with a maximum of 15 participants. It’s an opportunity to discover “hidden” places that are normally closed to the public.  These places include the tower, of course, the steeple on the top, Saint Vincent Chapel, “hidden” on the first floor, much more intimate, and much more.

Climbing the 330 steps the the very top of the tower is not only for the more sporty among you!  There are several stops along the way so you can catch your breath and enjoy the view. As you climb to the top, the views over the Yonne river and the green belt surrounding the historical centre of Sens become more and more breath-taking.

Visite guidée de la tour de la cathédrale

As you climb to the top, your attention might be drawn to the graffiti on the walls. They are declarations of love and initials left by visitors throughout history! Some of them date back to the 17th century!

Climbing to the top of the tower, an exciting adventure

Climb up the winding staircase that becomes narrower and narrower, explore the tower’s galleries, admire the view from the balustrades, walk all the way around the steeple… It’s a real adventure!

Once you arrive at the top, the view way down onto the monumental square is just beautiful and the 360° view of Sens and the surrounding area is breath-taking! You can make out the winding streets, the city centre roof-tops and the surrounding hills, giving the most northern of the Burgundian cities, a certain air of the south of France. You are however right at the crossroads between Champagne, Ile-de-France, Burgundy and Gatinais land!

View over the roof of the Synodal Palace

View from the cathedral tower

The stair case of the tower

View over the South of Sens

Another side of the cathedral’s history

During the tour you will learn about the history of the cathedral, from the very first foundations, to the construction of the two towers. They have had a very eventful past! The southern tower collapsed in 1268 and was then rebuilt and only completed in the 16th century, this is why it has an elegant Renaissance-style steeple on the top. As for the northern tower, it was never actually completed.

The two big bells of the cathedral were installed into the southern tower. We can still see the huge holes that were needed to set them up!


The Renaissance-style steeple

One of the big bells

Saint Vincent Chapel

Practical information

  • Guided tour organised in the summer season
  • We recommend you book your place(s) in advance
  • Remember to bring closed shoes and a camera!

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