Church of St. Joan of Arc, Rouen

The Church of Saint Joan of Arc’ is a religious building in the city center of Rouen, northern France.

The church of Saint Joan of Arc was completed in 1979 in the center of the ancient market square (in French, the Place du Vieux-Marché) of Rouen. This is the same location where Joan of Arc was burned alive for heresy in 1431. Prior to World War II, this site was occupied by a church of Saint Vincent, which was heavily damaged in battle in 1944. The stained glass windows of the old church were not destroyed and were incorporated into the design of the new structure, where one can admire them today.

The modern church Sainte-Jeanne d’Arc and the adjacent market halls were designed by the architect Louis Arretche. The audacious architecture is at once strikingly modern and deeply historical. The sweeping curves of the structure are meant to evoke both the flames that consumed Joan of Arc and an overturned Viking ship. Many early christian churches were designed in the shape of an overturned boat. The market halls simultaneously resemble smaller overturned boats and fish with gaping mouths, which are also rich christian symbols.

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