Saint-Louis Church, Rouen

Saint-Louis Church (French: Église Saint-Louis de Rouen), often referred as Lycée Corneille's Chapel (French: Chapelle du Lycée Corneille), was a Roman Catholic church in Rouen, Normandy, France. The building was formerly the chapel of the nearby Lycée Corneille. In 2016, it was turned into an auditorium.

Saint-Louis Church
Lycée Corneille's Chapel
Église Saint-Louis
Chapelle du Lycée Corneille
Saint-Louis Church undergoing restoration
Saint-Louis Church is located in France
Saint-Louis Church
Saint-Louis Church
Location of Rouen' Saint-Louis Church in France.
49°26′40.75″N 1°6′0.64″E / 49.4446528°N 1.1001778°E / 49.4446528; 1.1001778
Location30 rue Bourg-l'Abbé
76000 Rouen, Normandy
DenominationRoman Catholic
Functional statusDefunct
Heritage designationClassée Monument Historique
StyleFlamboyant, Classical
Number of spires1
Building details
General information
LocationRouen, Normandy

History edit

The first stone of Saint-Louis church was laid in 1614 by Queen Marie de' Medici. The church was consecrated in 1704. The choir and the transept were completed by 1725.

The church was abandoned and stripped of all its furniture following the expulsion of the Jesuit community. In 1765, the organ was dismantled and taken to Saint-Michel Church in Pont-l'Évêque. Meanwhile, the altars were sold and now bedeck the Saint-Trinité Church in Pinterville.

The church was turned into a fodder storage in 1793. On the eve of the 19th century, it served as a depository for Rouen's paintings, making it the first location of the city's Museum of Fine Arts.

Unsound, Rouen's city council envisaged its demolition in 1895 to free up space for an extension of the Lycée Corneille. The building was eventually saved when it was classified as monument historique in 1910.

From 1959 onwards, successive restoration campaigns took place to bring it back to its original state and allow for its doors to be reopened to the public. The building became a prized venue and welcomed several cultural events following the completion of the restorations.

In 2016, the venue was redeveloped into an auditorium, with cutting-edge sound reverberation technology.

Architecture edit

Outside edit

The church is a blend of late Gothic architecture and Classical architecture. Its façade gives the impression of being incomplete. It owes this peculiarity to the narrow lot the church was built upon. The buildings the church was flanked by at the time of the construction, and which restricted its extension, are long gone.

Volume-wise, it is the third largest church in Rouen after the cathedral and Saint-Ouen Abbey Church as well as the third largest Jesuit church in France after that of the Professed House of Paris and the one of Rennes.

One can come in front of the façade climbing up the monumental stairs leading to the entrance. The main door is supported by two doric columns holding an entablature. The upper part boasts a semicircular arched openwork. The façade is crowned with a pediment. Statues depicting Saint Louis, Charlemagne, Ignatius of Loyola and Francis of Assisi are placed atop the cornices.

Inside edit

Nave of the chapel

The layout of the church is oriented on a north–south axis. The building is cross-shaped and has a 52m long single nave. The two Southernmost chapels are of modest size. Then come two chapels : towards the North end, the chapel contains the tomb of François de Joyeuse since 1826. The chapel to the South possesses a retable akin to the one at Saint-Ouen Abbey Church, Rouen. It represents Notre-Dame de Liesse. The artwork is ascribed to Guillaume de La Tremblaye who painted it for Saint-Ouen. A plaster-made depiction of Christ lies on top of it. Girardin's original sculpture was sold in 1765. The walls are clad in fine marble marquetry.

The chapels opposite the crossing are surmounted by rood screens, which are used as galleries.

The chapel west of the choir was in great part influenced by Robert de Cote's 1704 plan. The upper part of the doors surrounding the chapel's retable features the life of Ignatius of Loyola: The painting on the left-hand side of the door portrays Christ whereas the opposite painting shows Ignatius receiving the Blessed Sacrament.

The choir houses a retable from the second half of the 17th century made out of timber. Unfortunately, the altar, like other parts of the church, was sold.

The chequered-floor is built out of slate and travertine. The stained glass windows reconstruction was funded by donations from a private organization.

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Base Mérimée: PA00100922, Ministère français de la Culture. (in French)