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Basilique Notre-Dame de la Victoire, Saint Raphael

Beautiful church built at the end of 19th century

featured in Sights & sites

This beautiful church was built as part of the plans by Mayor Felix Martin to "transform" St Raphael into a more attractive town for people to live in and tourist resort. Abbot Bernard commissioned the project to architect Pierre Aublé, who took inspiration in the church of Saint Sophie in Istanbul.

Inaugurated in 1887, it was named in honour of the famous Lepanto sea battle in 1571, when the Holy League defeated the fleet of the Ottoman Empire (and where famous Spanish writer Cervantes, author of Don Quijote, lost his hand). The Vatican elevated it to the rank of Basilica in 2004.

Created with a mixture of Byzantine style, Moorish influence and inspired by the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, the church is a very striking building in the centre of St Raphael. Built mostly in pink sandstone from the Esterel mountain range, it covers an area on 950 square metres and at its highest point is 35 metres tall. On its façade there is a statue of the archangel Saint Raphael, protector of the town

Masses are said regularly, and the active parish surrounding this church hosts aperitifs following special Sunday celebrations.

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Worth knowing

The Day of the Assumption of Mary, 15th August, features a torchlight procession through the town, followed by vespers and fireworks over the sea. The pipe organ in this church is one of the best and largest in the area, and "the resident organist is a virtuoso worth hearing".

Visitor comments

  • "The church, which was built in the last part of the 19th century, takes its name after the Battle of Lepanto (1571), when the fleet of the Ottoman Empire was defeated by the fleet of the Holy League. The church has an impressive red (the colour of the Esterel Mountains) limestone facade, with a golden Madonna statue on top, which can be seen from afar. Inside the beautiful stained glass windows create a wonderful light. Cribs and various other religious articles can be bought in the church." - Trip Advisor
  • "The Basilique is a must see when in St Raphael, The architecture is fantastic and also for the religious there are some fantastic gifts at very good prices." - Trip Advisor
  • "A beautiful basilica and cool on a hot day! Some magnificent stained glass windows which, as a person interested in textile art - quilting and patchwork- I found most inspirational. Mention should also be made of some lovely mosaic daisy devices on the floor. There are some interesting carved representations of the Stations of the Cross and a large fresco of the Baptism of Christ alongside some more traditional elements. So worth a visit whatever the day is doing outside." - Trip Advisor

When to come

In December they celebrate the Fetes de la Lumiere with beautiful projections of light and colour on the façade of the church.


Map of the surrounding area