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On the summit of a hill dominating the town, this is one of the most beautiful Gothic cathedrals in France. Construction began at the end of the 12th century and wasn't completed until a century and a half later. Flanked by asymmetrical towers, it has five magnificent doorways, including one depicting episodes in the life of St. Stephen. The cathedral has a vaulted roof and five aisles, and is remarkably long (122m/400 ft.); it's distinguished by its stained-glass windows, best viewed with binoculars. Many of the windows were made between 1215 and 1225. One impressive scene, A Meal in the House of Simon, shows Jesus lecturing Simon as Mary Magdalene repents at his feet. To climb the north tower for a view of Bourges, buy a ticket from the custodian. The same ticket allows you to explore the church's 12th-century crypt, the largest in France. In the crypt is the tomb (built 1422-38) of Jean de Berry, who ruled this duchy in the 14th century. Fanatically dedicated to art, he directed a "small army" of artisans, painters, and sculptors. The recumbent figure is the only part of the original tomb that has survived.

After your visit, you may want to wander to the Jardins de l'Archevêché, the archbishop's gardens, credited to Le Nôtre. From these gardens you'll have a good view of the eastern side of the cathedral.