Romanesque – 10th to 11th century
After the collapse of the Roman Empire, Christianity brought a sort of unity and calm to France. As witnessed by the multitude of churches, religion was omnipresent during these turbulent times of Barbarian invasions. The churches of this era, inspired by Roman architecture (thus the name romanesque), are charaterized by round arches, barrel-vaulting and large walls, a simple but heavy style. In Paris, the Benedictine Abbey of Cluny built in 910, is a perfect example of the romanesque grandeur designed to accomodate large crowds of pilgrims and worshippers.