The exterior of St. Peter's Church is a mix of Gothic and Renaissance styles. The Gothic choir is supported by on heavy buttresses and crowned by a cornice of the Burgundian type.
The main facade of St. Peter's is on the south side and is done in Italian Renaissance style. It features such typical design elements as an upper gallery, neo-classical columns and capitals, an octagonal lantern tower, and a finely worked frieze of wreathe, etc. The small portal windows fit the trompe l’oeil aesthetic then in vogue. The gargoyles are a carryover from the Gothic style of the central part of the church.
The less-elaborate northern facade also features elements of Renaissance style. On the north side of the transept, for example, there is a neo-classical portal framed by pillars, but the bay has been walled up. Above the larger portal is an inscription in Latin and French concerning the placement of the cornerstone of that entrance on the 1st of October, 1590.
High up on the exterior are three elements of interest. The flying buttress that rises just to the south of axial window of the choir is topped by a platform with clock housing. The clock dates to the 16th century and the housing from the second half of the 18th.
The same buttress bears a statue in an elegant pose that probably goes back to the 12th century. This figure, which carries a book in his hand and is wearing a large bonnet, is called Saint Michomer, an Irish monk and companion of St. Germain d'Auxerre, who died in 444 at the Château of Tonnerre and is buried in the vicinity of St. Peter's.
On one of the supports of the clock tower, facing northwest, you can see a statue of a warrior carrying a round shield decorated with a papal head. This figure was given the popular name "Griboudin". Apprentice builders would visit Griboudin before they went out to work on churches around France, a necessary step to becoming master craftsmen. He symbolizes the strength and hopes of the workers, who considered him their protector, like St. Vincent for wine makers.
Présentation et Historique de Tonnerre
Tonnerre apparaît à l’époque romaine sous le nom de Tornodurum, « forteresse ». Pour les Lingons, elle était le capitale du Pagus tornodorensis. Ici, sur la vallée de l’Armançon, s’est créé le Comté de Tonnerre, qui a servi de point de passage entre Paris et Dijon, à l’époque où le roi de France avait des visées sur le duché de Bourgogne. [lire la suite]