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L’église Saint-François de Sales, or the Church of St. Francis, is a fine example of Baroque architecture as well as an active place of worship. Visit this Catholic church to admire its design, enjoy the tranquility offered by its lovely interior, or get to know the members of the local Italian community, for whom the church is a hub.
Built in the early 17th century, the church is an important historic site. Visit nowadays and much of what you will see dates from 1642, when the chapel was rebuilt. Prior to the French Revolution, the church attracted international pilgrims who came to visit the burial sites of St. Joan of Chantal and St. Francis de Sales, the latter being the saint to whom the church is dedicated. The saints’ relics have now been moved to Annecy’s Basilique de la Visitation. But make sure you visit the memorial to St. Francis that is still located at the Church of St. Francis.
The church fell into disuse around the time of the French Revolution and later served various purposes. At one time it was a barracks, at another a factory. The building underwent extensive renovations and restorations in the late 19th century. Note that since 1888 it has officially been considered the main place of worship for Annecy’s Italian community.
Admire the beautiful architecture and many interesting design features that can be seen from both outside and inside the building. The church’s design was inspired by Rome’s splendid Church of Gesù.
Step inside and note the eye-catching and historically significant elements that make this church so important. See the seven Baroque altarpieces, including that of the elaborate high altar. Created in 1889, it recreates many of the features of the church’s original 17th-century altarpiece.
The Church of St. Francis is open year round and is free to enter. Visit outside of Mass times so you can take your time to explore the building.
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