The French have a reputation for a lack of interest in religion. While it is true that the French express their religious views less publicly than in the U.S. -a French president who utters the words “God Bless France” would probably be considered crazy- religious dialogue does not escape the public eye, with the infamous 2011 anti-burqa law to recent political initiatives such as gay marriage inspiring religious debate across the country. Religion is hard not to notice in this country, as beautiful ancient cathedrals, synagogues and mosques are important cultural centers in almost every big city and attract thousands of tourists each year; and church steeples are the center of almost every tiny rural village.
Alsace, and Strasbourg in particular, is rich in religious history; as often as possible, I plan to explore a new religious structure in the city. Today’s focus:
Location: 7 rue Saint-Léon
Affliation: Roman Catholic
History and Art: Constructed between 1889 and 1893, St.-Pierre-Le-Jeune was designed by architects Skjold Neckelmann and August Harte. It is known for its beautiful neo-Roman design and looming blue dome that measures 50 meters (164 ft.) high with a diameter of 18.5 meters (61 ft.), the largest in Alsace. It was built to resemble the dome in the neighboring town of Wissembourg that was destroyed during the French Revolution in the 1790s. The statue of Charles de Foucauld, a French saint and missionary who served the Church in Algeria, was constructed in front of St.-Pierre-Le-Jeune in 2006.