St Joseph Imperial Church of Pontivy!

I have written on it before in my blog and upon coming back for a visit to Pontivy of course could not avoid stopping by it again. I will be brief as the history ,architecture of it has been already covered in my previous posts on it.

Imperial Church of St Joseph (église Impériale de Saint Joseph) is done in  néo gothic from 1860, It was built while visiting by Napoléon III . Under an imperial subvention, the crowning Arrow was not finished so square top on the belltower seen today. In our timing it was closed but it is open  every day from 14h to 19h except Tuesdays and dates of events.


The tourist office of Morbihan in French on the Church! Tourist office of Morbihan on Imperial Church St Joseph

In addition to my previous post here is more detail on the architecture and symbolism of the Emperors here with a bit of description of the Imperial Church of St Joseph of Pontivy.


The first stone was laid on July 29, 1860 by Princess Bacchochi, cousin of the emperor, residing in Colpo (Morbihan 56) . Construction, started in 1863, was stopped in 1867.

 The Saint Joseph’s Church is built on a Latin cross plan on three levels with  large arcades, triforium and tall windows. It has the choir oriented to the south, contrary to religious architectural standards which require an orientation of the choir to the east. The church is undoubtedly in neo-Gothic style with vaults are on crossed ribs whose thrusts are buttressed outside by a series of flying buttresses, the light penetrates through bays in broken arch, enriched with the outside of gables and pinnacles. All  faithful to one of the wishes expressed by Napoleon III regarding this church.  It was the Parisian Gothic style of the 13C that inspired the Parisian master builder. Carved the dove of the Holy Spirit which decorates the shade of the pulpit to preach and the reliefs of the four evangelists accompanied by their symbol on this church such as those of Saint Mathieu and the angel, Saint Marc and the lion, Saint Luc and the bull, Saint John and the eagle. The organ which is in the choir today dates from the beginning of the 20C was acquired by the intermunicipal union for the tourist development of the canton of Pontivy. This is how the organ is installed in the Saint-Joseph church where it still remains. The coat of arms of Emperor Napoleon III is inlaid on the stained glass window of the eastern arm of the transept, on the keystone of the apse of the choir and under the balustrade of the bell tower outside. The “E” of Empress Eugenie and the “N” of Napoleon III are in the center of the stained glass window on the west arm of the transept and on the pavement of the choir, surmounted by the imperial crown and surrounded by bees, as well as at center of the rose window on the west arm of the transept. The bee symbolizes immortality and resurrection and also creates a link between the Empire and the origins of France. Bees surround the figure of the Emperor and the imperial crown on the pavement of the choir and the figures of the Emperor and Empress in the center of the rose window on the west arm of the transept.

Between 1991 and 1994, contemporary stained glass windows, on the theme of the four elements, were made and color the building with a new breath

Indeed a wonderful monument surrounded by a pretty park garden in city center Pontivy. Hope you enjoy the post as I do.

And remember, happy travel, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: