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.
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
|Names:||Französische Kirche · Französischer Kirche · French Church|
|Categories:||churches; Reformation history sites|
|Visitor and Contact Information|
|Coordinates:||46.949024° N, 7.446713° E|
|Lodging:||View hotels near Französischer Kirche|
- Personal visit (December 2006).
- The Rough Guide to Switzerland, p. 242.
- French Church, Bern - BernInfo
- Paroisse Francaise de Berne
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.