Church of St. Louis of the French

Church of St. Louis of the French

Church of St. Louis of the French
4.5
Write a review
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
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Tours & experiences
Explore different ways to experience this place.
What is Travelers’ Choice?
Tripadvisor gives a Travelers’ Choice award to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travelers and are ranked within the top 10% of properties on Tripadvisor.
Plan your visit
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.
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.5
5,451 reviews
Excellent
4,133
Very good
1,162
Average
119
Poor
20
Terrible
17

Mairwen1
United Kingdom8,655 contributions
Jun 2022
This church was high on my list of places I wanted to see in Rome because of the 3 Caravaggio paintings. We were not alone. The paintings draw a crowd.
You will find all three in the last side-chapel on the left (the Contarelli Chapel). It will be obvious because it will be the chapel with the crowd.
A coin-operated box to the side provides lighting for a couple of minutes at a time. If someone hasn’t already put coins in, you’ll need to do this because otherwise the lighting is very poor and the paintings are very difficult to see.
We had to be a bit patient here. Tour groups swoop in and crowd out the small space but they also tend to move on quite quickly. We only had to wait for a short while to get a position at the front where we could see the paintings more freely.
It is difficult to see all three paintings well at the same time. They cover the back and side walls of the chapel so whichever angle you stand at, you can generally only see two of the paintings well.
Even so, there is something very special about seeing them in their original location rather than isolated on a white wall in a gallery.
What you see here are three works painted between 1599 and 1602. They show three events from the life of St. Matthew - the Calling of St. Matthew, St. Matthew and the Angel and the Martyrdom of St. Matthew.
There are excellent information panels in the church (in English, French and Italian) so you are OK even if you come with no background knowledge.
There is also a small area set aside selling reproductions of the works, postcards and books.
NOTES:
Entry is free
The church is very close to Piazza Navona
For those hot on the Caravaggio trail, you can also visit the nearby Basilica di Sant Agostino which has Caravaggio’s Madonna di Loreto (it is only 3 min walk away).
Written March 12, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Big_Jeff_Leo
St Helens, UK21,897 contributions
Mar 2023
We walked past this church many times and on our last day in Rome discovered that the door was open so we popped in. The Church of San Luigi dei Francesci (Church of St. Louis of the French) actually sits right between the Pantheon and Piazza Navona, You can see the three Caravaggio paintings inside for free! All three Caravaggio paintings are hanging in the Contarelli Chapel in the front left corner of the church. They were painted in the first years of the 1600s and all are centered around the life of St. Matthew. From an artistic point of view, the church is highly French influenced 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.
While the interior, divided into three naves with five chapels on each side and a rich central choir decorated with marble, is a real triumph of Baroque art. In the second chapel of the right aisle you’ll find Domenichino’s fresco Storie di Santa Cecilia, while on the altar there’s a copy made by Guido Reni of the Santa Cecila by Raffaello. Do not miss what is above the door; the amazing pipe organ built by Joseph Merklin in 1881. We are glad that we called in!
Written March 22, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

HeaveNEarth
Fairfax, VA227 contributions
Nov 2021
The church is not huge by any means and not particularly beautiful. But, oh my, you have those three Caravaggio originals featuring Matthew. Even if you don't want to visit churches and basilicas in Rome any more, make it to this one. I think I stood there for at least five "light-outs". Every two minutes or so (depending on how much someone put in) the lighting goes out until someone puts in another coins. I've seen these paintings on photos many, many times and to see them in original display was a moment I would cherish for a long time. The church is not far from Pantheon and from Piazza Navona. A kind of difficult take pictures, though.
Written December 4, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

beachlovernc2015
Leland, NC1,697 contributions
Mar 2022
We stopped here mainly to see the 3 Caravaggio paintings. We were not quite sure where they were located in the church but it was easy to figure out- huge crowds. There was at least one tour group and also a group that appeared to be college age students who were studying the paintings and hearing a lecture of sorts. It was nearly impossible to penetrate the crowd but eventually we inched our way in close enough to at least see them. They are huge paintings, very impressive and well worth the effort. While there, one should certainly walk around and appreciate the beauty of the church itself.
Written February 6, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Noraatc
Sudbury, MA33,700 contributions
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. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

midway42
Georgia3,055 contributions
Mar 2023 • Solo
Located just a few minutes from the Pantheon and sporting a façade fairly non-descript by Roman standards, the Church of St. Louis of the French was built gradually over seventy (!) years in the 16th Century. It is the national church of France in Rome and assigned to a Cardinal, currently Andre Vingt-Trois. After my frustrating visit to the Pantheon (see separate review), I stopped by here on a whim. Entry was free and people were few. The experience was memorable and brief; I spent about an hour in the building, making a circular tour of the chapels (St. Remy, the Cross, St. Joan of France, etc.) and ending with the Contarelli Chapel which contains Caravaggio’s St. Matthew cycle. There was a small gift store and I lit a candle after giving an offering before departure.

This was a free, quiet, and brief visit that also contained some world-famous paintings to boot. A welcome diversion from the jungle of some other sites in the city. Thumbs up.

Written March 30, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Terry M
Hamilton, Canada4,598 contributions
Mar 2023 • Friends
Located near the Piazza Navona, it is dedicated to St Louis IX, king of France, the Virgin Mary and St Denis the Areopagite. It is the national church in Rome of France. Its most famous chapel is the Contarelli Chapel, containing three works of Caravaggio about St Matthew. The chapel to St Louis is also noteworthy.
Written April 5, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Peter C
Island of Malta, Malta2,496 contributions
Jul 2022
The Church is located close to Piazza Navona and is world renowned for the three paintings by Baroque master Caravaggio in the Contarelli Chapel. These are truly magnificent! The church also has other paintings, frescoes and a decorative ceiling. Well worth a visit.
Written August 9, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

SteveS1970
Coventry, UK7,239 contributions
Oct 2022 • Couples
There are lots of churches in Rome, each as beautiful as the next, but few have something special. This one has the chapel with paintings by Caravaggio, and as a fan, ranks it highly. Worth a visit for the amazingly architecture and other paintings, but head for the far left corner for the masterpieces.
Written October 18, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Christina
Dubai, United Arab Emirates488 contributions
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. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Showing results 1-10 of 1,304
Anything missing or inaccurate?
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing

Church of St. Louis of the French, Rome

Frequently Asked Questions about Church of St. Louis of the French

We recommend booking Church of St. Louis of the French tours ahead of time to secure your spot. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel up to 24 hours before your tour starts for a full refund. See all 43 Church of St. Louis of the French tours on Tripadvisor