Classified as a historical monument on October 30, 1906, the Saint-Louis Cathedral of La Rochelle is partly built on the church of Saint-Barthélémy whose Gothic bell tower can still be seen behind it and which dates from the 15th century.
Every year, in this church of Saint-Barthélémy took place on Quasimodo Sunday, the election of the mayor. The church was destroyed in 1568 during the wars of religion.
The style of the Saint-Louis cathedral is reminiscent of the Versailles cathedral.
Its Louis XVI façade is topped by a scrolled pediment. The original plan is signed Jacques V Gabriel, the first architect of the king. It will be his ultimate work.
The construction started in 1742, only a few weeks after the death of the architect, under the direction of his son Jacques-Ange Gabriel, who succeeded his father as architect to the king.
The building was blessed in 1784 by Monseigneur de Crussol d'Uzès, and completed in the following century, in 1862.
Almost all the interior decoration of the cathedral dates from the 19th century, except for an oak pulpit carved at the end of the 18th century.
The work was never completed as foreseen in the original plans, two towers and an ornamentation of the façade being envisaged, but never realized.
First of all, the dome of the Saint-Louis cathedral decorated with paintings by William Bouguereau from La Rochelle, contrasting with the 17th and 18th century marine ex-votos exposed in the third chapel of the left aisle.
Then there are the tombstones from excavations in the church of the Templars, soldier monks who settled in La Rochelle in the 12th century.
The stained glass windows are also worth a look. The one in the second chapel, for example, recalls the missions of Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort in La Rochelle.
Missions to the poor, the soldiers and the women...
Place de Verdun,
17000 La Rochelle
Tel: 05 46 41 16 70
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator