Religious sites in France

St. Ouen's Church

The Church of St. Ouen is a large Gothic Roman Catholic church, famous for both its architecture and its large, unaltered Cavaillé-Coll organ. Built on a similar scale to nearby Rouen Cathedral, it is, along with church of Saint Maclou, one of the principal Gothic monuments of Rouen. The church was originally built as the abbey church of Saint Ouen for the Benedictine Order, beginning in 1318 and interrupted by th ...
Founded: 1318 | Location: Rouen, France

Basilica of St. Denis

The Basilica of Saint Denis is a large medieval abbey church in a northern suburb of Paris. The building is of unique importance historically and architecturally, as its choir completed in 1144 is considered to be the first Gothic church. The site originated as a Gallo-Roman cemetery in late Roman times. The archeological remains still lie beneath the cathedral; the people buried there seem to have had a faith that was a ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Seine-Saint-Denis, France

Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes

The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes is a pilgrimage destination; sick pilgrims are reputed to be miraculously healed by Lourdes water. This ground is owned and administrated by the Roman Catholic Church, and has several functions, including devotional activities, offices, and accommodation for sick pilgrims and their helpers. The Domain includes the Grotto itself, the nearby taps which dispense the Lourdes water, and ...
Founded: 1863 | Location: Lourdes, France

Laon Cathedral

Laon Cathedral is one of the most important and stylistically unified examples of early Gothic architecture. The Diocese of Laon was established by archbishop Remigius of Reims at the end of the fifth century. A later church building, dating from the tenth or eleventh centuries, was torched during the Easter Insurrection on 25 April 1112. The merchants and bourgeoisie of Laon had procured a communal charter, which was so ...
Founded: c. 1160 | Location: Laon, France

Orléans Cathedral

Orléans Cathedral (Cathédrale Sainte-Croix d'Orléans) is a Gothic catholic cathedral in the city of Orléans, France. It is the seat of the Bishop of Orléans and it was built from 1278 to 1329 and 1601-1829 (after partial destruction in 1568). The cathedral is probably most famous for its association with Joan of Arc. The French heroine attended evening Mass in this cathedral on May 2, 1 ...
Founded: 1278-1329 | Location: Orléans, France

Lille Cathedral

The construction of the Lille Cathedral began in 1854. The church takes its name from a 12th-century statue of the Virgin Mary. It was built to the Neo-Gothic 13th century style. The initial project was massive: 132 metres long, with spires reaching up to over 115 metres. However, wars and financial difficulties soon put an end to these plans. With the creation of the bishopric of Lille in 1913, the basilica became a cath ...
Founded: 1854 | Location: Lille, France

Le Mans Cathedral

Le Mans Cathedral is dedicated to Saint Julian of Le Mans, the city"s first bishop, who established Christianity in the area around the beginning of the 4th century. The cathedral, which combines a Romanesque nave and a High Gothic choir, is notable for its rich collection of stained glass and the spectacular bifurcating flying buttresses at its eastern end. Nothing is known about the form of the original church fou ...
Founded: 834 AD | Location: Le Mans, France

Antibes Cathedral

Antibes Cathedral (Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-la-Platea d"Antibes) has been gradually built from the 5th or 6th century on the site of a pagan temple. The remains of this temple can be seen in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit. It is said that St Paul was arrested here on a journey to Spain in 63 AD. Destroyed by the barbarians in 1124, the church was rebuilt in the early 13th century. The plan is with three naves. The c ...
Founded: 13th century/1747 | Location: Antibes, France

Nantes Cathedral

The construction of Nantes Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul (Cathédrale Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul de Nantes) began in 1434 on the site of a Romanesque cathedral and took 457 years to finish, finally reaching completion in 1891. The cathedral"s foundation stone was laid on 14 April 1434, by John VI, Duke of Brittany and Jean de Malestroit, Bishop of Nantes (1417-1443). The first architect in charge was Guil ...
Founded: 1434 | Location: Nantes, France

Notre-Dame de la Daurade

Notre-Dame de la Daurade was established in 410 when Emperor Honorius allowed the conversion of Pagan temples to Christianity. The original building of Notre-Dame de la Daurade was a temple dedicated to Apollo. During the 6th century a church was erected, decorated with golden mosaics; the current name derives from the antique name, Deaurata, (Latin aura, gold). It became a Benedictine monastery during the 9th century. Af ...
Founded: 1764 | Location: Toulouse, France

Narbonne Cathedral

Narbonne Cathedral,dedicated to Saints Justus and Pastor, was the seat of the Archbishop of Narbonne until the Archbishopric was merged into the Diocese of Carcassonne under the Concordat of 1801. The church was declared a basilica minor in 1886. The building, begun in 1272, is noted for being unfinished. The site has a long history as a place of worship. In 313, just after the Edict of Milan, a Constantinian basilica wa ...
Founded: 1272 | Location: Narbonne, France

Église Saint-Polycarpe

The Église Saint-Polycarpe (Church of St. Polycarp) is the oldest church of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri. The church, built by the Oratorians installed on the slopes, was completed in 1670, with the exception of the façade that was built in 1756 by architect Toussaint Loyer who also lengthened the nave. On 19 June 1791, the Oratory Church became a parish church and took the name of St. Polycarp, as a tribute to Pol ...
Founded: 1670 | Location: Lyon, France

Tours Cathedral

Saint Gatien's Cathedral was built between 1170 and 1547. The first cathedral of Saint-Maurice was built by Litorius (Lidoire), bishop of Tours from 337 to 371 (preceding St Martin). Burnt in 561, it was restored by Gregory of Tours and rededicated in 590. Its location, at the south-west angle of the castrum, as well as its eastern orientation, resulted in the original access being through the late-Roman surrounding wall ...
Founded: 1170-1547 | Location: Tours, France

Saint-Bonaventure Church

The Saint-Bonaventure church's history is intimately related to the convent of the Cordeliers whose it was a part. It was built originally in the 13th century. The current church was built in just two years between 1325 and 1327. It housed the remains of Jacques de Grolée, died on 4 May 1327, which is under the high altar, before being moved somewhere near the epistle in 1599. The church was consecrated on 18 September 1 ...
Founded: 1325-1327 | Location: Lyon, France

Saint Salvi Church

Dedicated to Saint Salvi, first Bishop of Albi from 574 to 584, the “Collégiale” of Saint Salvi associates elements of Romanesque (10th century) and Gothic (13th century) architecture, marked by the use of stone in the Romanesque elements and brick in the Gothic. The “Collégiale” is a collegiate church, a church where the daily office of worship is maintained by a college of canons; a non-monastic, or 'sec ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Albi, France

Quimper Cathedral

From 1239, Raynaud, the Bishop of Quimper, decided on the building of a new chancel destined to replace that of the Romanesque era. He therefore started, in the far west, the construction of a great Gothic cathedral which would inspire cathedral reconstructions in the Ile de France and would in turn become a place of experimentation from where would later appear ideas adopted by the whole of lower Brittany. The date of 12 ...
Founded: 1239 | Location: Quimper, France

St. Sauveur Basilica

The construction of St. Sauveur Basilica was commissioned around 1120 by Sir Rivallon le Roux, Lord of Dinan, on his return from the first Crusade. The church was extensively rebuilt and extended during the 15th and 16th centuries and is a successful blend of architectural styles. The lower part of facade is part of the original 12th century building. The bell tower was built during the 18th century to replace the 17th ce ...
Founded: c. 1120 | Location: Dinan, France

Abbey Church of Saint Foy

The Abbey Church of Saint Foy in Conques was a popular stop for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago on their way to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. The main draw for medieval pilgrims at Conques were the remains of Saint Faith (St. Foy), a martyred young woman from the fourth century. The original monastery building at Conques was an eighth-century oratory built by monks fleeing the Saracens in Spain. The or ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Conques, France

Vannes Cathedral

The first Vannes Cathedral was erected around 1020 in Romanesque style. The tower is only structure left from it and accommodates the four bells of the church. The present Gothic building was erected on the site of the former cathedral. Its construction extends from the 15th to the 19th centuries, or if the length of the existence of the 13th century Romanesque bell tower is included, a total of seven centuries of constru ...
Founded: c. 1020 | Location: Vannes, France

Basilica of St. Michael

The Basilica of St Michael was built between the end of 14th century and the 16th century. It is at the heart of the ancient quarter of Saint-Michel. The pulpit represents Saint Michael slaying the dragon. The stained-glass windows were destroyed during the bombardment of 1940. The separate bell tower, which is 114 meters tall, was built in the 15th century. The tower can be visited every day from April to October. Fr ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Bordeaux, France

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Petersberg Citadel

The Petersberg Citadel is one of the largest extant early-modern citadels in Europe and covers the whole north-western part of the Erfurt city centre. It was built after 1665 on Petersberg hill and was in military use until 1963. It dates from a time when Erfurt was ruled by the Electors of Mainz and is a unique example of the European style of fortress construction. Beneath the citadel is an underground maze of passageways that can be visited on guided tours organised by Erfurt Tourist Office.

The citadel was originally built on the site of a medieval Benedictine Monastery and the earliest parts of the complex date from the 12th century. Erfurt has also been ruled by Sweden, Prussia, Napoleon, the German Empire, the Nazis, and post-World War II Soviet occupying forces, and it was part of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). All of these regimes used Petersberg Citadel and had an influence on its development. The baroque fortress was in military use until 1963. Since German reunification in 1990, the citadel has undergone significant restoration and it is now open to the public as a historic site.