At the turn of the 5th century. (for the previous artistic manifestations ➔ Gaul) there is a continuity of the construction methods of the Late Empire and typologies common to the Mediterranean Paleochristian world (Fréjus, baptistery; Marseille, mausoleum of St. Vitto; re; Vienne, Saint-Pierre). Thanks to the spread of monastic orders and the consolidation of the Merovingian dynasty, it has been revived since the 7th century. interest in funerary sculpture and epigraphy (Jouarre, crypts of the abbey; Poitiers, Hypogeum of the Dunes) as well as in architecture (Poitiers, baptistery, 7th century; Grenoble, crypt-oratory of Saint-Lauren, late 8th century). The Carolingian Renaissance (➔ Carolingians) finds full expression in the monastery of Centula (Saint-Riquier), in Germigny-des-Prés, Auxerre and in the flourishing scriptoria of Reims, Corbie, Tours etc.
The art and architecture of the 10th-11th century. they draw vitality from the affirmation of the Cluniac order. Cluny (➔ # 10132;) is a center for the elaboration of Romanesque art that spread mainly in the Rhone valley; the churches of Burgundy and the southern provinces are covered with barrel, ogival (Autun) or cross (Vézelay) vaults. On the pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela there are grandiose sanctuaries with radial apses around the choir (Conques, Toulouse). Under the Cluniac abbots, sculpture also flourished in the Languedoc (Saint-Sernin, 1080; Moissac, Cahors etc.) and in Burgundy (Autun, Vézelay, Cluny); in Saint-Denis, before 1114, the portal was born, known only from drawings, with figures leaning against the columns, a typology that then prevails in Gothic architecture.
According to Ethnicityology, the Gothic style arises in the mid-12th century, with its radiating center in Île-de-France: the cathedrals in Saint-Denis, Noyon, around 1150, and then in Senlis, Châlons, Laon; and also Notre-Dame of Paris, begun in 1163, and Saint-Rémi in Reims etc. With the 13th century. another group of Gothic monuments appears, following the example of the cathedral of Chartres, rebuilt after the fire of 1194. The adoption of the buttress depends on the upward development of the building and allows the width of the rose windows and windows; after those of Reims (begun in 1210) and Amiens (1220), the construction of large cathedrals extends to the whole country: Rouen, Lisieux, in Normandy; Le Mans, to the west; Clermont-Ferrand, Limoges, Narbonne (works by Jean Deschamps); Quimper, in Brittany; Tours and Baiona, in the south; Strasbourg, Metz and Toul in the north-eastern regions. Then there are the Sainte-Chapelle (1243-48), the side facades of Notre-Dame of Paris, the collegiate church of Saint-Quintin (perhaps by Villard de Honnecourt, 1257), the cathedrals of Bourges, Troyes, and finally the choir of Notre-Dame of Beauvais (1247-72). The best example among the Gothic portals is that of the “Kings” of Chartres (1150-60) which influences, among many others, the portal of St. Anne of Notre-Dame in Paris, those of Saint-Trophime in Arles and Saint-Gilles. An important period of activity of the sculpture coincides with the reconstruction of the cathedral of Chartres after the fire of 1194. In the 13th century. the sculptures of Amiens and Reims are created. In addition to the sculpture inserted in the architectural element, the statuary is reborn: statue of S. Faith (Conques), busts of S. Nectario (Saint-Nectaire, Puy-de-Dôme), of S. Cesario (Saint-Étienne-de-Maurs) from the 13th century.
Painting offers a panorama characterized by various schools: Saint-Bertin, under Abbot Odberto, experiments in his daring codes with innovations in drawing and initials with the revival of fantastic and barbaric pre-Carolingian motifs; Cluny, on the other hand, also presents miniatures touched by Byzantine classicism; the southern schools are affected by the Catalan influence. The Cistercians demand the utmost austerity in their codes; but the miniatures of the manuscripts executed for Stefano di Cîteaux himself are bold in their vivid perception of nature and in their exalted stylization. Among the frescoes, almost all destroyed, those of Berzé-la-Ville, of Italo-Byzantine influence, of Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe (Poitou) with the grandiose biblical cycle, of Auxerre, of Montoire-sur-le-Loire, of Tavant (Indreet-Loire). We have news of figured and leaded stained glass windows from the 10th century; the oldest preserved (choir of Saint-Denis, Chartres etc.) date back to the mid-12th century; other very important ones are in the Sainte-Chapelle of Paris, in Bourges, in Sens, in Rouen etc. The resurgence of studies and the patronage of Louis XI led to a flourishing of painting in Paris with great masters such as Honoré.
Civil architecture has left the gigantic ruins of feudal castles: Château-Gaillard, built in Normandy by Richard the Lionheart, the first example in France of this type of fortress; the male of Coucy (13th century), destroyed during the First World War; the male of Vincennes, from the time of Louis XI. Surviving walls are in Provins, Falaise, Dinant, Semur in the north; Aiguesmortes, Carcassonne and Avignon in the South.