While Church Saint Jacques in the center of Lisieux may not be able to hold a candle to the city’s infamous Basilica that thousands flock to every year to celebrate Saint Therese, it makes an impressive statement nevertheless. We may have missed it since it wasn’t on our Spiritual France agenda, except for the fact that it sat posturing above me when I walked out of Hotel Saint Louis, the hotel where we were staying on Rue Saint Jacques for two nights. (Read my review of it in our Brittany/Normandy hotel section).
Lisieux is world famous of course because of Saint Therese (Therese Martin aka Sainte-Thérèse-de-l’Enfant-Jésus) and because of her lifelong work, Lisieux is considered to be the second town of pilgrimage in France with some 700,000 visitors each year who go to see the Basilica built in her honour. The Basilica btw, is also said to be the biggest church built in France in the 20th century.
Lisieux has numerous spiritual and historical factoids to tout. The city was the seat of a Bishopric almost from the birth of Normandy until the French Revolution. The area known as the “Canonical Quarter” dates from that period, and includes the Cathedral (one of the first in the Norman Gothic style), the Episcopal Palace, the hôtel du Haut Doyenné, the Bishop’s Palace Garden and the canonical houses.
You may be wondering why I’m fixated on Church Saint Jacques, which many could see as the poor cousin to the city’s Basilica, the Cathedral, the Palace and nearly every other grandiose monument in this historical gem. I was instantly drawn to the calming nature of this stone structure the moment the van pulled up alongside her as we entered the city for the first time. I found myself circling her as if I were studying a new friend for the very first time.
So, yes, yes, yes, read all of my posts on Lisieux and Normandy since I fell in love with this province and took thousands of fabulous photos, but also while you’re reading through them, be sure to give Church Saint Jacques a little nod along the way. Here are some of the shots I took so you can perhaps get a better idea of why I fell in love with Church Saint Jacques so quickly.
Be sure to check out our Brittany/Normandy food & wine section (and posts), as well as our general section on Brittany/Normandy. And, of course for the passionate about all things France, we have quite a bit of content in our France section as well as Paris.
Note: My trip was hosted by the French Tourism Board, however all opinions expressed are entirely my own.