La Rochelle Cathedral

La Rochelle, France

The Diocese of La Rochelle was created in 1648 but the first stone of the new cathedral was not laid until 1742, by which time the architect who drew up the plans, Jacques Gabriel, was dead; the work was supervised, from a distance, by his son Ange-Jacques Gabriel. Although still not complete, it was consecrated anyway in 1784. The structure is a rather bare Neo-Classical one. The cupola has paintings by William Bouguereau, a native of the city.

Attached to the chevet of the present cathedral is the late medieval Gothic bell tower of the Church of St. Barthélémy (Saint Bartholomew), first constructed in 1152 by monks from the Ile d'Aix, the rest of which was destroyed by the Huguenots in 1568. The tower, on one of the highest points of La Rochelle, was used as a gun tower against the besieging army of Louis XIII in 1627.

The displaced parishioners were able in 1628 to take over as their church the grand temple, a former Protestant church adjacent to the site of the medieval St. Barthélémy, only to find in 1648, on the creation of the Diocese of La Rochelle, that the new chapter wished to use it as the cathedral. The parishioners therefore built a new church of St. Barthélémy nearby, which was completed in 1678. The older church however burnt down in 1687 and the chapter moved into the new church, which they and the parish were obliged to share until the consecration of the new cathedral in 1784. The church was entirely destroyed during the French Revolution and the site re-developed with houses, which were demolished later in the 19th century when it was possible to finish the cathedral.



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Founded: 1742
Category: Religious sites in France

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User Reviews

ChefLaurent DE (7 months ago)
The Saint Louis Cathedral is a historic cathedral located in New Orleans, Louisiana, in the United States. It is the mother church of the Archdiocese of New Orleans and is dedicated to Saint Louis, the King of France. The cathedral is considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture in the United States. Its construction began in 1789 and was completed in 1850. The cathedral has three spires, with the tallest reaching a height of 185 feet. Inside the cathedral, visitors can admire its stunning stained glass windows, intricate woodwork, and beautiful artwork. The cathedral also houses the famous Great Bell, known as "Emmanuel," which has been ringing since 1845. The Saint Louis Cathedral is not only a place of worship but also a significant historical and cultural landmark. It is located in Jackson Square, a popular gathering place and tourist attraction in the heart of the French Quarter. Many notable events, including funerals, weddings, and concerts, have taken place within its walls. The cathedral is open to visitors and offers guided tours to learn more about its history and architectural features. It is a popular destination for both locals and tourists, who come to admire its beauty and experience its spiritual ambiance. In summary, the Saint Louis Cathedral is a historic cathedral located in New Orleans, Louisiana. It is known for its French Gothic architecture and is dedicated to Saint Louis. The cathedral is a significant landmark and a popular tourist destination in the city.
Anna McGonagle (7 months ago)
I don't often write reviews but this is an exception. Saint Louis Cathedral is not the most welcoming to Irish tourists. This is a pity as it is a beautiful cathedral which displays key moments of history in La Rochelle. We are extremely interested in the templars and so were fascinated by the templar burials. Unfortunately the caretaker was less than pleasant. When my father asked the caretaker who was vacuuming the chapel a question about the holy water, he beckoned over fellow French members of the public and repeated what my father had just asked. They then all laughed in his face. Very disappointing in a house of God. I recommend the cathedral in nantes instead. If you do visit I wouldn't bother asking the caretaker any questions or he'll laugh in your face and encourage others to do so too! Otherwise La Rochelle is a wonderful city.
Wayne Audley (8 months ago)
Important french history here in the heart of the busy shopping and dining community
A Fowles (2 years ago)
Stunning cathedral with amazing (but perhaps not original) stained glass windows. Very nice.
Antoine M (5 years ago)
Cathédrale Saint-Louis de la Rochelle is a stupendous national monument of this gorgeous city of La Rochelle. It may look unappealing from the outside but inside is impressively breathtaking! I was struck by the ambience of this church and even more blown away by the stained glass windows by Antoine Lusson, Lobin and Emile Hirsch. As you explore the side chapels, there are some spectacular artworks like "Let the little children come to me" by Louis Matout. Of importance are the Chapel of the Virgin and the Sailors' Chapel with the "Sapphire" oil on canvas inside this chapel. The Choir and the High Altar is mesmerizing. The organ is something to behold. There's so much history attached to this cathédrale that it's worth reading up on it. But you couldn't leave here without exploring the Saint-Barthélémy Bell Tower, a Gothic style structure attached to the chevet of the cathedral, which is a historical monument since the 30th October 1906 according to archive information available. Worth exploring especially families and young children and all backgrounds.
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