The current façade dates from 1850, built according to plans
by Guillaume Cammas. The eight columns represent the original
eight capitouls. In 1873, Eugène Viollet-le-Duc built a
belltower typical of the style of northern France.
Only the Henri IV courtyard and gate survive from the original
mediaeval buildings. Today the Capitole houses the city hall,
as well as an opera company and symphony orchestra. The Salle
des Illustres contains 19th century artworks.
Built during the Romanesque Period between 1050 and 1200 AD.
The original function of this building was to act as a
pilgrimage location where important relics could be viewed.
Despite being called a basilica, Saint-Sernin deviates from
the basilica plan of early Christian architecture in a few
ways. Saint-Sernin is much larger compared to earlier
churches. It is also constructed mostly of stone block. The
ceilings are vaulted, unlike many of the earlier churches.
Saint-Sernin contains radiating chapels which were used to
display important relics. Another deviation from the earlier
Christian churches is the addition of an ambulatory, a walkway
that goes around the nave and side aisles to allow for viewing
of the radiating chapels (which could be done while mass was
being held without interrupting the ceremony).
For these and other reasons, Saint-Sernin is often said to
follow the Pilgrimage Plan instead of the traditional Basilica
The patrons of Saint-Sernin are likely to have been a
combination of clergy and local political leaders/ royalty.