Vialas (Lozère)

After the Edict of Nantes, the Protestant population of Vialas was large enough to have a temple built in 1612 at its own expenses. The Reformed, being merely tolerated by the state, received no subsidies.

A place of resistance

  • Temple in Vialas (Lozère) © René Laurent

The first temple was a humble chapel with few openings for climatic reasons ; as stipulated by the Edict of Nantes, it was built at the far end of the village.

In 1680, as the Revocation was drawing near, the Protestants were summoned to forsake their religion. They had to renounce or migrate, and the Catholics took over the temple to transform it into a Catholic chapel. A stone apse was added and the edifice was saved from destruction (1680-1787).

However Vialas remained a place of resistance and, during the 17th century, the Reformed held their services at home or gathered on the slopes near Trenze.

During the Revolution (1789) the chapel was closed.

On the 30th of August 1804, the Protestant mayor of the town gave the keys of the former temple of Vialas to the consistory.

Vialas (Lozère)


  • Books
    • DUBIEF Henri et POUJOL Jacques, La France protestante, Histoire et Lieux de mémoire, Max Chaleil éditeur, Montpellier, 1992, rééd. 2006, p. 450
    • LAURENT René, Promenade à travers les temples de France, Les Presses du Languedoc, Millau, 1996, p. 520
    • REYMOND Bernard, L’architecture religieuse des protestants, Labor et Fides, Genève, 1996

Associated notes

  • The Edict of Nantes (1598)

    This was Henri IV’s major achievement : the terms of this edict ensured the peaceful coexistence of Catholics and Protestants and brought a stop to all hostilities in France after 36 years...
  • Lieux de mémoire en Languedoc-Roussillon

    De la Méditerranée au Massif Central, le Languedoc-Roussillon regroupe les départements des Pyrénées-orientales (66), de l’Aude (11), de l’Hérault (34), du Gard (30) et de la Lozère (48). En fait,...
  • Museum of the Cevenol Valleys

    In this traditionally deeply protestant region, this hostile environment has had its effect on the local inhabitants : farmers here had to be tough, uncompromising, brave and with great willpower to...
  • The Désert museum

    The “Désert” period in French Protestantism lasted from the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes by Louis XIIV (1685) to the Edict of Tolerance (1787), when Louis XVI restored civil...
  • The architecture of 17th century churches

    In the 17th century, Protestant religious architecture flourished all over France. Unfortunately few churches survive today – a large number were destroyed after only a short time.