Church of St. Louis of the French

Church of St. Louis of the French, Rome

Church of St. Louis of the French

Church of St. Louis of the French
4.5
About
Closed on Thursdays! The famous painter Caravaggio (1573-1610) was commissioned to paint for this church, where in one of its chapels is his realistic naturalism in three scenes of the life of St. Matthew.
Suggested duration
< 1 hour
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The area
Address
Neighborhood: Navona / Pantheon / Campo de’ Fiori
With three of Rome’s most beloved piazzas within a five-minute walk of each other, the Navona/Pantheon/Campo area may be the prettiest and most picturesque area of the city. Join the beautiful throngs hanging out in cafes, boutiques, art galleries, and wine bars, or peek at a neighborhood museum or monument. If you want nonstop movida, the streets here are busy with chic bicyclists and Vespa drivers, street vendors, merchants, and locals. There is no rhyme or reason to its winding streets and there's something to see around every corner, so take pleasure in a spontaneous wander.
Popular mentions

4.5
5,395 reviews
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4,088
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117
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Noraatc
Sudbury, MA24,335 contributions
Caravaggio and much more
Dec 2020 • Solo
Chiesa di San Luigi Dei Francese is yet another Baroque masterpiece and home to three magnificent Caravaggio paintings about the life of St. Matthew in the Contarelli Chapel. I do not want to use my own words to describe the rebellious spirit and powerful contrasts of light and dark; I would rather refer you to Simon Schema’s BBC series - he explains Caravaggio’s art much better than I.

Make sure to turn on the light in the chapel- it costs very little (1/2 euro, if I am not wrong).

The church’s interior is opulent without any redundancy. If you find a seat close to the Contarelli Chapel, you will be able to admire all the details of there magnificent Caravaggio’s paintings.
Written May 4, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Christina
Dubai, United Arab Emirates412 contributions
A must see when in Rome
Dec 2020 • Friends
This church is a must see when you visit Rome. Located right in the center of the city, it is a special place because it’s the home of three amazing paintings by Caravaggio. Make sure you bring a lot of coins as you will need them to illuminate the paintings. Also while there, look up and enjoy the majestic organ located by the door. Highly recommend if you visit Rome.
Written January 15, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Michael W
Charleston, SC147 contributions
Church of the French in Rome
Mar 2020
We were staying in Rome near the Piazza Navona. The Church of the French is a short walk from it. The church is famous for its three Caravaggio paintings devoted to St. Matthew. The church is very beautiful inside and decorated in the Baroque style.
Written May 20, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Foodie_CST🍽🇷🇴
Targu Jiu, Romania4,976 contributions
Very Beautiful Church
Jun 2019 • Family
Definitely, one of the most beautiful Churches in Rome, I recommend you enter and visit it, the interior is amazing and breathtaking and it's free to visit. We stopped by it to get cover from the rain but I recommend you visit it, a must in my book, you can easily spend at least one hour inside.
Written April 10, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

dapper777
Monaco29,406 contributions
It is like a museum in the center of the city! A pilgrimage site for art history lovers
Feb 2020 • Friends
We have visited this church many times.
It is enclosed between the Pantheon and Piazza Navona, in the city center of Rome.
From an artistic point of view, the church is a tribute to France through the representation of its saints and its greatest historical figures.
Starting from the facade, you can see the statues of Charlemagne, Saint Louis, Sainte-Clotilde and Saint Joan of Valois.
The vaste façade from the late-Renaissance, probably attributed to Giacomo della Porta, is divided up by pilaster strips in five spans, with three portals and two niches with statues by Lestache (1758).
The Church of St. Louis of the French (The National French Church) was built since 1518 to welcome the increasing French comunity in Rome, that by the end of the 15th century had only a small chapel and a hospital dedicated to S. Ludovico in Rome.
The community was growing in number and importance, and this chapel became too small so that they changed it with the church of Santa Maria and S. Benedetto de Lellis who belonged to Farfa's fathers, devoted to Saint Louis, close to Sant'Andrea della Valle.
The construction of the national French church started in 1518, and it was finished in october 1589, when the Church of St. Louis of the French was sanctified, only after Queen Catherine de' Medici donated some properties she had near Palazzo Madama which belonged to her family.
Apparently the façade was designed by Giacomo della Porta, but it was actually built by Domenico Fontana.
The church was dedicated to the Virgin Mary, to King Saint Louis and to St. Denis, patron saint of Paris and France, who was confused with St. Dionysius the Areopagite for a long time. Eventually it was referred to only as S. Luigi dei Francesi.
it is famous for the three paintings by Caravaggio dedicated to San Matteo and for the frescoes by Domenichino
The interior embodies three naves with five chapels per side and a rich central decorated with marbles; the whole church clearly embodies a baroque style.
The interior, divided into three naves with five chapels on each side and a rich central choir decorated with marbles, is a true jubilation of baroque art.
The chapels were decorated in the XVIIth century by some of the best artists of that period.
The chapel dedicated to St. Louis was designed by Plautilla Bricci, a female architect and painter.
In the second chapel of the right nave is located the fresco Stories of Saint Cecilia by Domenichino while on the altar, there is a copy by Guido Reni of Saint Cecilia by Raphael.
Cardinal Mathieu Cointerel (in Italian Contarelli) was a great supporter of the construction of S. Luigi dei Francesi and in 1585 he was buried in a chapel near the apse.
His heirs commissioned Caravaggio the decoration of the altar and of the two side walls with paintings showing episodes of St. Matthew's life; it was one of the first commissions Caravaggio received for paintings to be placed in a church. He portrayed Matthew as a peasant being actually helped by the angel in writing his gospel.
The famous Contarelli chapel deserves a chapter by itself. Here you will find the famous triptych by Caravaggio composed of the Martyrdom of St Matthew, the Calling of St Matthew and St Matthew and the Angel.
We can only be fascinated by the expressive force and by the beauty of these works, which represent an important turning point in the style of the great artist.
The church also hosts several famousl graves, among which the tomb of Pauline de Beaumont, built by his lover, François-Rene de Chateaubriand and the tomb of Cardinal François Joachin de Bernis, Ambassador of king Louis XV and Louis XVI.
Finally, above the front door, there is a real gem: the very precious pipe organ built by Joseph Merklin in 1881 : a real jewel.
The church, that since 1589 is a national cult place to all French people in Rome, is an unmissable stop of any good walk around the streets of the city center of Rome.
Like other churches and basilicas in Italy an in Rome, entry is free (come in the morning, since the church closes at lunchtime).
You'll have to drop one Euro to light up the paintings in the darkened interior and see how Caravaggio infused his own light into the baroque melodrama.
A hidden treasure that deserves to be discovered and admired.
A must see.
Recommended.
Written March 20, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Susan R
San Francisco, CA124 contributions
A Baroque Beauty
Jan 2020
My taxi driver told me I was staying near this lovely church that had 3 Caravaggios. It’s the center for the French community in Rome built in 1518. The facade has sculptures/statues of Charlemagne and St Louis and St Clotilde.
Written February 29, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Greg
Cambridge, UK5,148 contributions
Caravaggio paintings
Feb 2020 • Friends
This extremely ornate and unsuspecting French-inspired church is but a few moments stroll from Pantheon. Terrific wall artwork and canvases throughout, amazing ceiling and is free to enter.
Written February 26, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

ERIC W
Knoxville, TN4,187 contributions
My personal favorite
Feb 2020 • Couples
Of all the old churches we visited this one was my favorite. Absolutely incredible detail and picture worthy every step you take
Written February 15, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Jonathon Green
22 contributions
Opulent
Aug 2019
Has three Caravaggio paintings of saint matthew-all demonstrate a stunning use of light and shade.17th century frescoes by Domenichino in the second chapel on the right.
Written February 12, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Steve W
1,277 contributions
a day out
Jan 2020
this was a fantastic church so much gold and the ceiling was incredible and as well as the decor we we very pleased to call in
Written January 24, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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