In 1630 ‘The oratory of the Ville Neuve’, built to replace the Great temple on the Castle square, was seized by the king after the siege and turned into a Catholic Church and then into a Cathedral after 1648.
The temple of the Ville Neuve – the name of the « rue du Prêche » (Preaching Street) is now the only trace of its existence – was pulled down by order of « the criminal lieutenant of La Rochelle and of the Parliament of Paris » six months before the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, on the pretext that pastors had let in a ‘relapse’ (persons who had recanted and gone back to their original religion).
The origin of the stone with the coat of arms of France and Navarre above the entrance to the chapel is still unknown. According to folklore the stone adorned the facade of the temple in the Ville Neuve.
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.