The Saint-Agnan church is a centre of religious life in Cosne. Built between 1060 and the early 12th century, it is Romanesque in style, and a former priory of the Order of Cluny (of the same period as the priory church in La Charité-sur-Loire). The nave and tower were rebuilt in the eighteenth century.
The Episcopal Palace
The Episcopal Palace and Palatine Hall: partially listed on the register of historical monuments, the former Episcopal Palace, home to Bishop Humbaud and then rebuilt and enlarged at the command of the Bishop of Auxerre, Hugues de Noyer, was completed in 1206. Since its most recent restoration between 1993 and 1997, it has mainly been used to stage exhibitions. An essential monument in the history of Cosne, the building also represents the architectural heritage of the thirteenth century.
The Augustinian convent and the Cosne-Cours-sur-Loire guardhouse now house the municipal museum of the Loire. The Augustinians settled in Cosne in 1616. After their dispersal during the Revolution, the convent became state property and was then donated to the town.
A listed historical monument, the church of Saint-Jacques (fifteenth century) was originally named the collegiate church of Saint-Laurent. To the left of the bell tower, the gable of the western façade ends with a small platform with a pierced cantilevered stone balustrade, supposed to be a lookout post. The equilateral vaulted door is surmounted by a large window with flamboyant tracery. Inside, admire the wrought-iron gates, the nave, the choir and south chapel in Gothic style, the altar and the stained glass.
The site of the Chaussade ironworks is located on the bank of the Loire, near the Loire museum and the postal museum. It has recently been developed with a music room, the library and a municipal hall. Not far away is the Eden Cinema, making the whole area a cultural centre.
The old Château walls: Almost entirely rebuilt in the 13th century to an octagonal plan: walls, four round towers and two square towers. The complex was reduced in height on the orders of Richelieu in about 1640, except the gatehouse, with its Gothic arch visible from the Rue Duguet. In 1860, the Château was partially demolished to allow the construction of a prison, now converted into meeting rooms.
The Chaplains' house: In the Middle Ages, the block in which this Renaissance former hotel stands already belonged to the Chaplains of Saint-Jacques. The body of the house, protected by a turret, is one of the most picturesque places in the town. Underground passages gave direct access to the church. The CONDATE research group has gathered collections of tools from the Neolithic period, stone sculpture, pottery, tools, Gallo-Roman coins and jewellery, together with Merovingian, Carolingian and mediaeval objects in the house. The Chaplains' house is not currently open to the public.
Visits in the surrounding area
The church of Saint-Symphorien in Cours-les-Cosne: Built in the first half of the 16th century on the site of an old Romanesque church, all that is left is the apse, the span of the choir, the span of the transept and the north transept chapel (statues and furnishings listed as historical monuments).
The Villemoison commandery in Saint-Père: Templar in origin, the commandery was built between 1118 and 1180. After the dissolution of the Order of the Temple (1312), it was transferred to the Order of Hospitallers of St John of Jerusalem, who later became the Knights of Rhodes and Malta. The commandery was used to accommodate and care for pilgrims to Compostela and to survey the roads. Today, the Villemoison commandery is in private ownership and can only be visited occasionally.