Église Ste-Catherine


Initially intended as a temporary structure, this extraordinary wooden church was built by local shipwrights during the late 15th and early 16th centuries after its stone predecessor was destroyed during the Hundred Years War. Wood was used so money would be left over to strengthen the city’s fortifications, though there are elements of stone (such as some of the pillar bases). From the inside, the remarkable twin naves and double-vaulted roof resemble two overturned ships’ hulls.

Somewhat surprisingly for a wooden building, a galaxy of devotional candles often sparkles within the interior. The house of worship is situated a block southwest (up the hill) from the northern end of the Vieux Bassin.

Said to have been built away from the church to limit the damage from lightning strikes, Clocher Ste-Catherine, the church’s free-standing wooden bell tower, stands across the square from the church façade.

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