Französischer Kirche, Bern

The Französische Kirche (French Church) is the oldest church in Bern. Originally a Dominican monastic church, it has been a place of worship for French-speaking Protestants since 1623. The attractive Romanesque church is especially notable for its rare frescoed rood screen behind the altar.

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History of Französischer Kirche

Originally part of the Dominican monastery founded here in 1269, the church was built from 1270 to 1285 in the Romanesque style, with wooden choir stalls added in 1302 and a frescoed rood screen in 1495.

In 1623, the old Dominican church became a place of worship for the French-speaking Protestants of Bern. Later, from 1685 to 1851 it welcomed Huguenots (French Calvinists) fleeing persecution in France.

The west front and facade of the southern aisles date from 1753-54. A complete renovation was done in 1912-13. The outer part of the choir was restored in 1966-68; the inner part of the choir and the transept were restored in 1989-91.

Today, the church still serves the Francophone Protestants of Bern and holds regular services. Visitors are very welcome.

What to See at Französischer Kirche

The small but attractive interior has been extensively renovated, but it still retains its original choir stalls (1302) and rare frescoed rood screen (1495) with Dominican themes. See our photo gallery for a virtual tour and detailed views of the frescoes.

Quick Facts on Französischer Kirche

Site Information
Names:Französische Kirche · Französischer Kirche · French Church
Country:Switzerland
Categories:churches; Reformation history sites
Styles:Gothic
Dates:1270
Status: active
Visitor and Contact Information
Coordinates:46.949024° N, 7.446713° E
Address:Bern, Switzerland
Lodging:View hotels near Französischer Kirche
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours and prices can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.

References

  1. Personal visit (December 2006).
  2. The Rough Guide to Switzerland, p. 242.
  3. French Church, Bern - BernInfo
  4. Paroisse Francaise de Berne

More Information

© Holly Hayes
© Holly Hayes
© Holly Hayes
Fresco of St. Dominic, reflecting the church's original use as a Dominican monastery. © Holly Hayes
© Holly Hayes

Map of Französischer Kirche, Bern

Below is a location map and aerial view of Französischer Kirche. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.