San Luis de los Franceses

Church in Seville

The finest example of baroque architecture in Seville, San Luis is a former 18th-century Jesuit novitiate dedicated to King Louis IX of France. Designed by Leonardo de Figueroa, its unusual circular shape features four extravagantly carved and gilded altarpieces inset with paintings (Louis’ image is topped by a huge crown), with a central cupola. You can also visit the chapel decorated with macabre reliquaries (saints’ bones) in glass boxes, and the crypt.

This (deconsecrated) church was closed for decades, and only reopened after a major refurbishment in 2017. Don’t miss the beautiful ceiling murals, which carry messages defending the Jesuits against criticisms – unsuccessfully, as they were expelled from Spain soon after the church was completed in 1731. The main cupola’s decoration – use the cleverly angled mirror to study it, saving your neck – has the theme of continuity of worship: the old is represented by the Jewish Ark of the Covenant and seven-branched candlestick, and the new by the angels.


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