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St. Joseph Church in Iracoubo: 19th century naive art


While thousands make a pilgrimage to this protected historical monument to see its stunning frescoes, very few learn the history of this unusual building from the late 19th century.

Prosper Raffray, a Catholic priest, began building this simple church soon after arriving in this remote village in 1886. The church funds set aside for the task soon ran out, and the villagers provided the necessary materials, labour, and money to complete the work.

Once realised, Father Raffray, who personally donated five thousand francs, wanted to make this church a unique and personalised place, so he sought out the services of a convict named Huguet. For six years, Huguet dedicated himself to the task and covered the 600-square-metre interior with frescoes each a masterpiece of naive art.

Eglise Saint-Joseph
97350 Iracoubo

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