Le Havre, World Heritage Site

L'église Saint-Joseph

Saint Joseph’s Church

Keystone of the reconstructed city, Perret’s masterpiece is going to surprise you. It is worth going in, to discover a majestic modern church.

Graced with 12 768 pieces of stained-glass and concrete walls, Saint Joseph is a lighthouse at the heart of the city. It was erected and dedicated to the memory of the victims of WWII bombings. 110 metres high and thus visible as far as 60 kms in good weather, the octogonal lantern tower arises from a square base which unites nave and choir. The incredible beauty of this masterpiece or twentieth century architecture will take your breath away.

Architecture and Spirituality.

Architecture and Spirituality.
© DR

A new perspective of light – The stained-glass windows of Marguerite Huré

Marguerite Huré (1895-1967) is a French painter and master-glazier considered as having introduced abstraction in the realm of religious stained-glass windows. Saint Joseph’s church is one of her most remarkable works. It is made up of no less than 12 768 pieces of glass, half of which are colored on the inside of the church, fitted in high vertical windows filtering light from outside. As you step inside you will be surprised by this contrast between the inside and the outside, the shades of the coloured glass depend on the position and arrangement, done according to a precise symbolic code of colours and shapes

Auguste Perret’s final masterpiece

The Perret Studio used a project submitted for the building of Sainte Jeanne d’Arc Church in Paris (1926) which had been rejected: a church with a centred main altar, topped by a lantern tower, later to become the emblem of the reconstruction at Le Havre. Work started in october 1951 and ended in 1958, long after Perret’s death in 1954. Architects from his Studio completed the project. Raymond Audigier continued the master’s work, with the help of George Brochard and Jacques Poirrier. Together they put the final touch to the belfry Perret had imagined would be the first monument the passengers arriving from America would see.

The tower is finished in 1957 and the church is handed over to religious authorities in 1959. The main altar and dais by Guy Verdoïa are added in 1964; the church is consecrated the same year. It was added to the French Historic Monuments List as early as 1965.


Free access                       
Open every day 10h – 18h except during services