The door is probably that of the Gargoulleau room, one of the first Protestant worship places, which belonged to a family who were convinced by the Reformation early on and played a key role in the history of the city.
The Protestants of La Rochelle quickly became too numerous to ‘squeeze in into private homes’ and had a difficulty finding large enough places for their meetings. In 1561-1562 they temporarily used the Saint-Michel and Gargoulleau rooms and then, alternating with the Catholics, the Saint-Sauveur and Saint Bartholomew Churches. Later on they met at Pré Maubec, in conformity with the Edict of January 1563 allowing public worship only in the suburbs.
In July 1563 the king granted them the official authorisation to use the Saint-Michel and Gargoulleau rooms where pews had been installed. It was an era of massive conversions to Protestantism, for instance in the Gargoulleau room alone 1,659 christenings were performed between 1563 and 1566.
Progress in the tour
Return to the route
A walk through Protestant La Rochelle
As early as 1546, La Rochelle was one of the major cities in the kingdom won over to the Reformation.
La Rochelle had been an economic and maritime power since the 12th century, and did business with all the Protestant Northern states, namely England, the Netherlands and the Hanseatic cities.
In 1628, La Rochelle was taken by Louis XIII’s troops which ended Protestant supremacy of the city.
Upon the revocation in 1685 the inhabitants left the city massively. In 1802 there were only a thousand Protestants left.
The Protestant memory is still very present in La Rochelle, see the Rochelais museum and the tour around the city.