Saint Joseph church
- 12,768 stained glass windows
- 107 meters high
- Visible from more than 60 km out at sea on a fine day
This spiritual beacon stands tall in the port of Le Havre and can be seen by sailors at sea. It is also the flagship work of Auguste Perret, the architect who rebuilt the city after the war. When you enter Saint Joseph church, a memorial erected in memory of the victims of the Allied bombings in September 1944, you are first hit by the rigorous splendor of the place: austerity reigns, the exposed concrete structure inspires respect. Move forward into the nave and look up to the extraordinary lantern tower, which rises up to a height of 107 meters, its octagonal shape resting on four enormous pillars. Criss-crossed by 12,768 pieces of colored glass, it lets astonishing golden light filter through.
We owe this sight to Marguerite Huré, a pioneer in the abstraction of sacred art and a loyal accomplice of Perret, who had also entrusted her with part of the stained glass work in the church of Notre Dame du Raincy a few years earlier. Indeed, this was not the architect’s first religious building. He also built a bell tower in La Creuse, a chapel in Val-d'Oise, another in Saône-et-Loire and, in 1926, an aborted project for the Saint Joan of Arc basilica in Paris, the plans for which largely inspired Saint Joseph’s church here.
Auguste Perret died in 1954 and never saw this great work completed in Le Havre. The titanic task was completed in 1957 by his associates Raymond Audigier, Georges Brochard and Jacques Poirrier. The great altar, designed in the chancel of the church by architect Guy Verdoia, was consecrated in 1964.
Photo © Laurent Bréard - Ville du Havre
Find out more
Saint Joseph church Web Page
Le symbole de la renaissance du Havre : l'église St Joseph
"Des Racines et Des Ailes" (2016, Extrait) France 3
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Vidéo du Havre aux accents new-yorkais - Le Havre Tourisme
Saint Joseph church Interior View
© Philippe Breard
Boulevard François 1er
76600 Le Havre