A village in Ardèche protected by two saints
At an altitude of almost 1100m with beautiful views over the mountains of the Cévennes and the Alps, the village of Lalouvesc in the Ardèche is protected by two saints: Saint Jean-François Régis and Saint Thérèse Couderc.
Beginning in 1634, the young priest Jean-François Régis was on a mission to evangelise and attended to the poorest in Ardèche and surrounding areas. He roamed the hills tirelessly, reaching remote places no matter the weather. He arrived in Lalouvesc on Christmas Eve 1640. Exhausted and cold, he died there a week later on New Year’s Eve.
Saint Jean-François Régis was canonised in 1737 by Pope Clement XII. He is the patron saint of the Jesuits and lacemakers.
Sister Thérèse Couderc was born in Ardèche in 1805. As so many pilgrims were making the journey to Lalouvesc to worship the relics of Saint Regis, a shelter was created. The running of the establishment was given to the Sisters of Saint Regis in Lalouvesc. Sister Thérèse was called upon to look after the women on pilgrimage, at the Maison Saint Régis in 1827. There, she gave spiritual teachings and co-founded the congregation of the Sisters of the Cenacle. Following the teachings of Saint Ignatius, she developed the first spiritual retreats.
After the construction of the chapel Saint-Régis in the mid-19th century, the basilica Saint-Régis was erected between 1865 and 1875. Around the same time, the popularity of pilgrimages to Lalouvesc also triggered the building of a chapel, with exquisite wooden ceilings, dedicated to Saint Ignatius.
The sanctuary was founded here when the Jesuit Saint Regis died on the 31st December 1640. The stained-glass windows of the basilica depict the life of the saint who walked the whole region to share his faith. The basilica was consecrated in 1877. It holds the relics of Saint Jean-François Régis and since 2018 the shrine of Saint Thérèse Couderc.
Time slowly passes in Lalouvesc to the sound of the massive 6-tonnes bell Joséphine, deeply resonating every half-hour throughout the village and the valley.
Message and Pilgrimage
The air is so pure you can see all the way to Mont Blanc from here, 200 km away. The pine forests are an invitation to walk and reflect while picking up a few mushrooms and wild blueberries along the way.
The Sanctuary of Lalouvesc is the last resting place of two saints: St Jean-François Régis and St Thérèse Couderc. Pilgrims gather here to find Christ through the lives of the two saints. It is also a place for spiritual retreat and physical well-being.
The basilica Saint-Regis and the crypt
A neo-byzantine building with two 30m high spires built in the late 19th century. Not to be missed are the 16 stained-glass windows depicting the life of the saint, as well as his reliquary and the shrine of Saint Thérèse Couderc.
Mont Besset Gardens
A vegetable garden where everything is organically grown following permaculture methods. Restaurant on site.
Saint-Régis Chapel and the recumbent statue of the saint
A cultural and spiritual visit within the Sanctuary.
Protected by a small crypt, the water of the fountain is said to have miraculous powers.
The diorama museum
A museum with scenes depicting the life of Saint Régis. Painter and sculptor Georges Serraz created the 19 different models.
The Pilgrim’s Park
Open all year, the park is ideal to stroll and reflect. Large standing stones created by artist Philippe Kæppelin mark the 13 Stations of the Cross.
The orientation table on Place Marrel
Enjoy the most spectacular views over the valley and the Alps from the square in front of the basilica.
July and August
Carrefour des Arts
French and international art exhibition inside an old Catholic school. Paintings, sculptures, tapestries, glasswork and local arts and crafts.
Ten days of music in the churches, chapels and many different sites in and around Lalouvesc listening to classical, jazz and contemporary music.
Feast of the Assumption - Torchlight procession
Masses, processions, rosaries, conferences…Among the highlights of the 2-day celebrations is the torchlight procession starting at the fountain Saint-Régis at dusk, followed by the blessing of the children.
Le Trail des Sapins
Four different running races of 7, 12, 21 and 45 km through breathtaking countryside. Night races are also held.