This impressive Renaissance-style building with its
30-metre tall bell tower was inaugurated in 1883.
In 1879, Prince Charles III ordered the
construction of a place of worship in the new Monte-Carlo district. The new
church was dedicated to Charles Borromée, “that this glorious patron may
forever protect his person, his family, the faithful of Monte-Carlo and all the
Principality”. Mrs Marie Blanc, widow of the Casino’s Director, donated the
piece of land on which the church is built to the Principality. It was
previously occupied by a former private chapel dedicated to Saint Lawrence.
The project was overseen by Parisian architect Charles
Lenormand, who had been working on Monaco’s new cathedral since 1875. Following
extensive preparatory excavations, the founding stone was laid and blessed by
Mgr Charles Theuret on 11 November 1879.
The church was completed and opened for worship on
Easter Monday, 26 March 1883, then made parish church on 15 March 1887. It was
consecrated on 9 November 1912 by Msg Jean-Charles Arnal du Curel, second Bishop
of Monaco. The parish was entrusted to the Congregation of Clerics of the
Mother of God, and later, in 1950, to the
Oblates of Saint Francis de Sales.
In 1983, to mark a century of worship at the
church, Prince Rainier III ordered extensive restoration work to be carried out
on the building’s interior. The walls and bell tower had been severely damaged
by the sea air and pollution, and were completely renovated in 2003. Nineteen
stained glass windows illuminate the nave, where the gilded chandelier comes
from the old arms room at the Prince’s Palace.