For me churches and cathedrals are high on my list of places to see and recommend in France for so many reasons! They are beautiful and aesthetic, they have such a rich history and they played huge roles in development and changes in our French culture.
France is a secular country meaning there is no state religion. Per surveys about 50% of the population are Catholic, 17% Muslim and other Christian religions and the final 33% do not follow any religion. The separation of Church and state happened in 1905, relatively recently, and so Catholicism has played a big part throughout French History.
You will notice beautiful churches and cathedrals wherever you go, such as the famous Notre-Dame in Paris, Chatres Cathedral, Laon Cathedral, Basilica of Sacré-Cœur, Strasbourg Cathedral and The Abbey at Mont St-Michel.
- Some beautiful churches are shown here: https://www.cntraveler.com/galleries/2016-03-24/the-most-beautiful-churches-in-france
- I found this beautiful driving tour of notable French cathedrals that I would love to try out, and so I thought I would share it with you: https://www.tripsavvy.com/france-best-cathedrals-tour-1517288
As well as the huge cathedrals, I love spotting little town or village churches, somehow they have a quaint, tranquil, religious feel which is sometimes lost in the tourism of big cathedrals. Rather than recommend to you any particular small churches, I think the best method of finding these is a wonder around a small village, and a surprise discovery of a hidden gem.
In the last decade or so France has embraced secularism (laïcité), and is pushing away from religion, but I know our churches and cathedrals will always stand tall. What is your favourite French cathedral or church?
Religion: une religion
Cathedral: une cathédrale
Church: une église
Spire: une flèche
Pew: un banc
Aisle: un rayon