Take Me to Church! The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis.

There is something about historical churches that makes your presence there even more meaningful.

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The Basilica of Saint Louis is one of the landmarks of Saint Louis. The cathedral is famous for being named after King Louis IX of France, namesake of the city and only King of France to ever be canonized and considered as a saint. Saint Louis was notorious for his religious devotion during his rule. To find out more about his life and the events that led him to be canonized, click here. The rest of us, let’s proceed into the church.

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I found it very practical for me to visit the cathedral immediately after mass, which a lot of people do. While visitors are invited to take pictures after the Sunday service, no sightseeing tours are allowed during or immediately after mass.

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The Cathedral is also known for its large mosaic installation (which contains 41.5 million glass tesserae pieces in more than 7,000 colors). The mosaic is said to be the “largest mosaic in the Western Hemisphere”. 

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Construction of this cathedral began in 1907, and was completed in 1914 (the start of the first world war).

One of the peculiarities of the mosaics inside the cathedral is the fact that they were designed by different architects and they also have different meanings. For instance, the narthex of the church illustrates key moments in the life of King Louis IX of France. The rear dome includes mosaics of significant archdiocesan events, while the main dome by represents selected Biblical scenes from both the Old and the New Testaments.

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Mosaic from the Narthex: Saint Louis returns to Paris with the Crown of Thorns.
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Enter Mosaic from the Narthex: Saint Louis founds the Sorbonne.
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Mosaic from the Narthex: Saint Louis ruling his subjects.

There are sections in the church that are reserved for special prayers and in which no pictures are allowed.  The Blessed Sacrament is one of them.

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Here are some other great shots of the Basilica of Saint Louis.

 

If you’re interested in going there for Sunday service, this information will certainly be useful.

 

 

In a way, the cathedral was designed to reflect and illustrate St Louis’ love for architecture and art.

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I loved this building. And I think anyone visiting St Louis should take some time to stop by.

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”
― Henry Miller

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