57 rue des Macchabées
+33 4 7277 6969 (Tourist Information)
Saint Irénée is one of the earliest Christian Gaul funeral basilicas, like Saint Just and Saint Laurent de Choulans. Archaeological digs in 1947 and then 1977 have allowed us to find out its precise origin, which texts attest its date as being at least from the beginning of 6th century. The burials (4th-6th century) discovered both inside and outside the church confirm its funeral function, which corresponds with the development of the martyr cult - believers wanted to be buried close to the saints, themselves buried at the heart of the edifice, usually in the chancel. Just like Saint Just, Saint Irénée was destroyed by the Protestants towards 1562. Restored then looted during the Revolution, it now presents 19th century architecture inspired by Byzantine churches.