Basilica Saint François de Sales
The construction of an impressive neo-Gothic cathedral with two bell towers was planned to replace the soon-to-be demolished Saint Hippolyte church and presbytery in 1885.
The first stone was laid in 1889 but financial concerns led to the project being postponed and the presbytery alone being demolished.
Building work on the new church was stopped and the unfinished building was rented out and used as a depot and workshop for the town’s traders and craftsmen. During World War I it was used for army supply services.
Some of Thonon’s population protested against the destruction of the former church and this led to it being listed as a national heritage site in 1909.
The Thonon priest J. Chaumont pushed for building work to restart and his wish was granted in 1921. The new church only had one bell tower and was attached to the former church.
The new basilica was consecrated by the bishop of Annecy, Monsignor de la Villerabelle, in 1930.
The interior dates back to the 40s and houses two scenes from the Passion and the Way of the Cross by Maurice Denis, head of the Nabis, a movement heavily influenced by Gauguin and the Pont Aven School.
- In centre of town
- Unguided group tours
- Unguided individual tours