The first cathedral was erected at the limits of the Gallo-Roman enclosure of the city, in the 500s. Its sanctuary was burned down and the cathedral was rebuilt in the 12th century in a Romanesque style. Only a few traces of this building remain. Only the choir was still visible until the 19th century. The history of the Cathedral of Saint Peter and Saint Paul of Nantes continues during the Revolution, when it is used as an observatory, stable and place of scientific experimentation. The stained glass windows of the Cathedral of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in Nantes have witnessed the city's many trials over the centuries. The surviving stained glass windows bear the traces. Few have survived over time and in particular the explosion of one of the towers of the Château des Ducs in 1800 which damaged the cathedral and blew out many stained glass windows. The bombardments of the Second World War also contributed to the loss of this heritage.
The current cathedral, in the Gothic style, is thus the third building erected on this site. Its construction dates from the 15th century. It is done gradually, from the facade to the old Romanesque church. The whole - facade, nave and side aisles, Gothic vault, south arm of the transept and flying buttresses - was completed in the 17th century. Most of the stained glass windows currently visible date from the second half of the 20th century. Some were made by Brigitte Simon between 1968 and 1974, others by Anne Le Chevalier between 1977 and 1982, still others by the painter Jean Le Moal between 1978 and 1989. Finally, the large glass roof of the south transept was made by Francois Chapuis. With its 25 m high and 5.30 m wide, it is undoubtedly one of the largest glass roofs in France.
The Cathedral of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in Nantes also houses an 11th century Romanesque crypt and a larger 19th century crypt, which until closing time housed a permanent exhibition relating the history of the cathedral.