Founded: June 13, 1798
Founder: Father Fermin Lasuen
Status: Active Catholic Church
Indian tribes native to surrounding area: Luiseõ, Ipai, Cupeño, Cahuilla
Nickname: The King of the Missions
Location: 4050 Mission Avenue, San Luis Rey, CA 92068
Named in honor of France’s King Louis IX, a Spanish ally, the mission benefited from a local Indian population that was already familiar with the Spanish settlers from the long-established mission communities at San Diego and San Juan Capistrano. It quickly became one of the largest and most prosperous in the mission system, and operated two asistencias, or sub-missions.
The beautiful church façade is a perfect example of late mission architecture. The mission complex also featured sunken gardens, a laundry, and a charcoal-filtered spring.
In 1893, a Franciscan novitiate was established on the site; it later became San Luis Rey College. Today it is a retreat and conference center.
1798 – Mission founded.
1816 – asistencia (sub-mission) at San Antonio de Pala established.
1823 – asistencia (sub-mission) at Las Flores established.
1834 – Mission secularized.
1865 – Returned to Catholic Church.
1893 – Franciscan novitiate established; it later became San Luis Rey College.
Visiting the San Luis Rey de Francia Mission
In addition to the beautiful cruciform church and octagonal chapel, visitors will see a sunken garden area with original tiles, a water system, kilns, archeological excavations, and a museum.