England, London Guide (B): Jean Cocteau in London

Jean Cocteau in London
Notre Dame de France in London

I’ve had the pleasure of visiting several sites decorated by Jean Cocteau on the French Riviera, but I was surprised to find his work in the center of London. Just off Leicester Square (pronounced Lester Square) there is a church with a chapel decorated with Cocteau’s trademark drawings.

A Panorama

At first sight, it’s not obvious that this a church. It’s tucked between two buildings and isn’t a traditional church style. The unassuming entry leads to a round interior. This is because the original structure, built in 1793, was designed to display panoramas. It was popular entertainment at that time to visit 360° painted panoramas of European capitals or historic events. The display would be repainted regularly and people would come to experience “theatre in the round” before film or photography were invented.

Becomes a Church

In 1865, the panorama was converted into a French Catholic Church, Notre Dame de France, to serve the large French population in the area. The building was damaged by bombing during the war, but in 1941 it was repaired and resumed its religious function.

In 1953 the church was completely rebuilt on the old round plan. The foundation stone for the new building was brought from Chartres Cathedral in France. Two years later, the new church was complete and ready to be decorated. It was decided that this church should be a showcase of French sacred art. So all the art was commissioned from French ...... (follow the instructions below for accessing the rest of this article).
This article is featured in the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" on iTunes App Store and Google Play. You can download the app to your mobile device to read the article offline and create a self-guided walking tour to visit the attractions featured in this article. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and it works offline so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for IOS   Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for Android

Sights Map

Guide Name: Jean Cocteau in London
Guide Location: England » London
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (B))
Sight(s) featured in this guide: Notre Dame de France   Leicester Square  
Author: Margo Lestz
Read it on author's website: https://curiousrambler.com/2017/08/04/jean-cocteau-in-london/

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


London Souvenirs: 20 Distinctively British Products for Travelers

London Souvenirs: 20 Distinctively British Products for Travelers

Most visitors to London consider shopping as part of their must-do London experience. From street markets to Victorian arcades to snobbish Sloane Square to busy Oxford Street, there are a host of shops selling items which typically represent this vibrant city. Whether you are shopping for souvenirs...