The present cathedral was preceded by other buildings. The first dated from the fourth century and in 666 was destroyed by fire. The second is recorded in 920 by the name of Saint Cecilia, the present-day patroness of musicians. It was replaced in the thirteenth century by a Romanesque cathedral in stone.
The Gothic cathedral which we see today was constructed in brick between 1282 to 1480 in the wake of the Albigensian heresy and the brutal crusade which suppressed it, with great loss of life. In the aftermath of the bloodshed, the cathedral's dominant presence and fortress-like exterior were intended to convey the power and authority of the Christian faith.