Chapelle de l’Herbe

Lege-Cap Ferret, France | C.1865

Photo Credit: @laeti_paris

The French civil engineering entrepreneur Leon Lesca returned to France from North Africa as a rich man following his work on the port of Algiers and a new railway line connecting the towns of Constantine and Philippeville. He used his new fortune to purchase 27 hectares of land in 1863, and built a personal residence on the plot that was completed in 1865. Lesca soon became known for his philanthropic gestures as he funded schools and churches in the town of Cap Ferret.

Lesca would live in this mansion, called La Villa Algérienne, until his death in 1913, but not before building his own chapel on the surrounding land. Unlike most Catholic houses of worship, which featured Roman-inspired architecture, Lesca’s Chapelle de l’Herbe displayed the Moorish influences he grew to appreciate in his time in Africa.

Lesca’s mansion was demolished and replaced with an apartment complex in 1965, but this chapel survived as it was Cap Ferret’s only Catholic house of worship. The structure was declared a historical monument in 2008, and was fully restored in 2011. It continues to hold Catholic services today.

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