Religious sites in France

Monolithic Church of Saint-Emilion

The Monolithic Church of Saint-Emilion is an underground church dugged in the early 12th century of gigantic proportions (38 metres long and 12 metres high). At the heart of the city, the church reminds the religious activity of the city in the Middle Ages and intrigues by its unusual design. If it shows itself in the eyes of the visitor by the position of a 68-meter-high bell tower, then it hides itself behind the elegan ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Saint-Émilion, France

Saint-Sulpice Church

Saint-Sulpice is a huge Late Baroque parish church. It recently became even more popular with tourists than usual thanks to its prominent role in the novel The Da Vinci Code. Saint Sulpicius, the patron of the church, was a 7th-century bishop of Bourges noted for his piety and his resistance to the tyranny of the Merovingian kings. The Church of St-Sulpice was founded by the Society of St-Sulpice to replace a small Gothi ...
Founded: 1646 | Location: Paris, France

Notre-Dame-des-Blancs-Manteaux Church

The church of Notre-Dame-des-Blancs-Manteaux was built on the site of an earlier 1285 church founded by 'Les Blancs-Manteaux' (white coats), the mendiant Augustin Order of Servites, who also rebuilt the current church in 1685-1690.
Founded: 1685-1690 | Location: Paris, France

Temple Neuf

The Temple Neuf in Strasbourg is a Lutheran church built on the site of the famous Dominican convent where Meister Eckhart studied. The Temple was constructed at the end of the 19th century after the old Dominican Church was destroyed during the Siege of Strasbourg on the night of 24 to 25 August, during the Franco-Prussian War. The ensuing fire also destroyed the libraries of the University of Strasbourg and the City of ...
Founded: 1874-1877 | Location: Strasbourg, France

Nice Cathedral

Nice Cathedral was built between 1650 and 1699, the year of its consecration. It is dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and Saint Reparata. On the site, the first cathedral was consecrated in 1049. In 1060, relics belonging to St. Reparate (For whom the current cathedral is named) arrived in the city of Nice. By the year 1075 there was construction of a chapel dedicated to St. Reparate. During the later h ...
Founded: 1650-1699 | Location: Nice, France

Cordeliers Cloister

The Cordeliers cloister is situated at the heart of the medieval town of Saint-Emilion in the Gironde area. It is one of the town’s most emblematic and picturesque sites, containing a monolithic church. A listed Historical Monument and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it also has underground cellars where sparkling wines are produced. The cloister gets its name from its first ever occupants, the Cordeliers, Franciscan fri ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Saint-Émilion, France

Metz Cathedral

Saint-Étienne de Metz, also known as Metz Cathedral, is built on the site of an ancient the 5th century church dedicated to Saint Stephen protomartyr. According to Gregory of Tours, the shrine of Saint Stephen was the sole structure spared during the sack of 451 by Attila's Huns. The construction of the Gothic cathedral began in 1220 within the walls of an Ottonian basilica dating from the 10th century. The integration i ...
Founded: 1220 | Location: Metz, France

Albi Cathedral

Albi Cathedral is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Albi a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was built as a fortress in the aftermath of the Albigensian Crusade. Begun in 1287 and under construction for 200 years, it is claimed to be the largest brick building in the world. The present cathedral was preceded by other buildings. The first dated from the fourth century and in 666 was destroyed by fire. The second i ...
Founded: 1287-1480 | Location: Albi, France

Saint-Martin-des-Champs Priory

The Priory of Saint-Martin-des-Champs was an influential monastery established in what is now the city of Paris. Its surviving buildings are considered treasures of Medieval architecture in the city. The oldest known structure on the site was a chapel dedicated to St. Martin of Tours, founded during the Merovingian dynasty, which appears in a text of 710. At a date which remains unknown, a community of monks b ...
Founded: 1135 | Location: Paris, France

St-Gervais-et-St-Protais Church

Beginning in 1653, the St-Gervais-et-St-Protais church employed and sheltered the Couperin family, one of the most famous dynasties of French musicians, for more than two centuries. On one side of the church, the home of the famous harpsichordists, organists, and composers still stands, with a plaque commemorating the Couperins" tenure in this place. The organ used by Louis and François Couperin still exists t ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Paris, France

Basilica of Saints Nazarius and Celsus

The Basilica of Saints Nazarius and Celsus is a romanesque-gothic minor basilica, located in the citadel of Carcassonne. The original church is thought to have been constructed in the 6th century during the reign of Theodoric the Great, ruler of the Visigoths. On 12 June 1096, Pope Urban II visited the town and blessed the building materials for the construction of the cathedral. Construction was completed in the first h ...
Founded: 1096 | Location: Carcassonne, France

Fontevraud Abbey

Fontevraud Abbey is a religious building hosting a cultural centre since 1975, the Centre Culturel de l'Ouest. It was founded by the itinerant reforming preacher Robert of Arbrissel, who had just created a new order, the Order of Fontevrault. The first permanent structures were built between 1110 and 1119. Philippa of Toulouse persuaded her husband William IX, Duke of Aquitaine to grant Robert of Abrissel land in Norther ...
Founded: 1110 | Location: Fontevraud-l'Abbaye, France

Saint-Nicholas-des-Champs Church

The Church of Saint Nicolas des Champs was once part of the powerful Abbey of Saint Martin des Champs. The abbey was founded as a daughter house of the Benedictine monastery of Cluny in 1067. It was incorporated into the city in the 14th century when it was enclosed by the new city wall constructed under the management of the Prefect of Paris, Etienne Marcel. The church of Saint Nicolas des Champs was begun in 1420 and en ...
Founded: 1420 | Location: Paris, France

Bayeux Cathedral

Bayeux Cathedral is a Norman-Romanesque style cathedral built originally in the 11th century. It was the original home of the Bayeux Tapestry and is a national monument of France. The site is an ancient one and was once occupied by Roman sanctuaries. The present cathedral was consecrated on 14 July 1077 in the presence of William, Duke of Normandy and King of England. It was here that William forced Harold Godwinson to ta ...
Founded: 1077 | Location: Bayeux, France

Bourges Cathedral

Bourges Cathedral of St. Etiénne, one of the finest Gothic cathedrals, was built mainly between 1195 and 1260. The unknown architect designed it without transepts, which, combined with the interior’s unusual height and width, makes it seem much lighter than most Gothic cathedrals. Structural problems with the South tower led to the building of the adjoining buttress tower in the mid-14th century. The North to ...
Founded: 1195-1260 | Location: Bourges, France

Our Lady of the Assumption Church

The Italian Baroque-style Our Lady of the Assumption Church topped by a bell tower was built in 1784. It is one of the most recognisable sights in Saint-Tropez, with its bright ochre and earthy sienna coloured bell tower. This building replaced an older 16th-century church which became unstable when the current chapel was erected. There had been an earlier 11th-century religious construction on this same site, destroyed ...
Founded: 1784 | Location: Saint-Tropez, France

Sainte-Chapelle de Vincennes

The Sainte-Chapelle de Vincennes is a Gothic chapel within the fortifications of the château de Vincennes. It was founded in 1379 by Charles V of France to house relics of the passion of Christ. Its design by Raymond du Temple and Pierre de Montereau was based on that of the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, although the version at Vincennes only had a single level (20m high) compared to the two levels of the Paris version. On ...
Founded: 1379 | Location: Vincennes, France

Basilica of St. Sernin

The Basilica of St. Sernin is a former abbey church in Toulouse. Apart from the church, none of the abbey buildings remain. The current church is located on the site of a previous basilica of the 4th century which contained the body of Saint Saturnin or Sernin, the first bishop of Toulouse in c. 250. Constructed in the Romanesque style between about 1080 and 1120, with construction continuing thereafter, Saint-Sernin is t ...
Founded: 1080-1120 | Location: Toulouse, France

Saint-Roch

The Church of Saint-Roch is a late Baroque church built between 1653 and 1740. In 1521, the tradesman Jean Dinocheau had a chapel built on the outskirts of Paris, which he dedicated to Saint Susanna. In 1577, his nephew Etienne Dinocheau had it extended into a larger church. In 1629, it became the parish church and thereafter underwent further work. The first stone of the church of Saint-Roch was laid by Louis XIV in 1653 ...
Founded: 1653 | Location: Paris, France

Saint-Malo Cathedral

Saint-Malo Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-Vincent-de-Saragosse de Saint-Malo) is a Roman Catholic cathedral dedicated to Saint Vincent of Saragossa. It was formerly the seat of the Bishop of Saint-Malo. The cathedral was built in 1146 when Jean de Châtillon, Bishop of Aleth, transferred his bishopric to the growing town of Saint-Malo on a more secure site across the river. The Benedictine monastery of Saint Malo ...
Founded: 1146 | Location: Saint-Malo, France

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

La Iruela Castle

The castle of La Iruela, small but astonishing, is located on the top of a steep crag in Sierra de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park. From the castle, impressive views of the surrounding area and of the town can be enjoyed.

The keep dates from the Christian era. It has a square base and small dimensions and is located at the highest part of the crag.

There are some other enclosures within the tower that create a small alcázar which is difficult to access.

In a lower area of the castle, protected with defensive remains of rammed earth and irregular masonry, is an old Muslim farmstead.

After a recent restoration, an open-air theater has been built on La Iruela castle enclosure. This theater is a tribute to the Greek and Classic Eras and holds various artistic and cultural shows throughout the year.

History

The first traces of human activity in La Iruela area are dated from the Copper Age. An intense occupation continued until the Bronze Age.

Originally, La Iruela (like Cazorla) was a modest farmstead. From the 11th century, a wall and a small fortress were built on the hill to protect the farmers.

Around 1231, don Rodrigo Ximénez de Rada, Archbishop of Toledo, conquered La Iruela and made it part of the Adelantamiento de Cazorla. Over the Muslim fortress, the current fortress was built.

Once the military use of the fortress ended, it was used as cemetery.