San Luis Rey de Francia Side View

San Luis Rey de Francia Mission

San Luis Rey de Francia was founded on June 13, 1798.  This eighteenth mission quickly became the most prosperous of the California missions. San Luis Rey’s stately church and long corridor with 32 Roman arches spanning the front of the convento, has been carefully restored. The mission has a modern museum and many unique attractions.

Facts About This Mission

General Information

San Luis Rey Francia

Founded:
June 13, 1798
Also Called:
Mission San Luis Rey
Current Status:
A consecrated Roman Catholic Church attached to the Franciscan Community at San Luis Rey de Francia.
Summary:
San Luis Rey de Francia was founded on June 13, 1798.  This eighteenth mission quickly became the most prosperous of the California missions. San Luis Rey’s stately church and long corridor with 32 Roman arches spanning the front of the convento, has been carefully restored. The mission has a modern museum and many unique attractions.

Visitor Information

Address

4050 Mission Ave
San Luis Rey, CA 92068
United States

Get Directions
Website(s)
Phone
  • 760-757-3651 (Mission)
  • 760-757-3250 (Parish)
Hours
Fees
  • Adults: $5.00
  • Seniors (65+): $4.00
  • Children (6-18): $3.00
  • Children 5 and under and active military enter free
Tours

Self-guided tour begins in the Gift Shop. The mission offers special group tours of the museum for 15 or more persons. To schedule call 760-757-3651, extension 115.

Church Services

Saturday
5:00 p.m. at the Serra Center
7:30 p.m. (Spanish) at the Serra Center

Sunday
7:00 a.m. at the Old Mission
8:00 a.m. at the Serra Center
10:00 a.m. at the Serra Center
12:00 noon (Spanish) at the Serra Center
5:00 p.m. at the Serra Center
7:00 p.m. (Spanish) at the Old Mission

Monday - Friday
7:30 a.m. at the Parish Chapel
12:00 noon at the Old Mission Church

Weddings and Other Special Services

San Luis Rey has a comprehensive Wedding Policy / Fees Statement on its website. (http://www.sanluisreyparish.org). Contact the Parish Secretary, Shirley Gonzales, for further information or to schedule a visit (760-547-0760).

Special Events

The mission celebrates the Day of the Dead each year. Día de los Muertos has been celebrated for thousands of years by Mexican and Indigenous people to honor and remember relatives and loved ones who have passed away.

Unique Attractions

San Luis Rey Church Interior The stately San Luis Rey church is the only surviving mission church laid out in a cruciform plan.
 

View of church showing collonade A long exterior corridor, with 32 Roman arches, spanned the front of the friary or convento in mission era.

Quadrangle and first pepper treeThe Mission quadrangle (now part of the retreat / conference center), can be viewed through a perimeter fence. The first pepper tree in California was located here. During the mission era bullfights were held in the quadrangle.

Lavandería steps with church in distance The sunken gardens and lavandería, located in a hollow to the south of the mission, are reached by descending 46 fired-tile steps. Two springs provided water that sprouted from the mouths of sculpted gargoyles into the lavandería.

 

San Luis Rey Kitchen Display San Luis Rey has a very professional interpretive museum, which contains many original artifacts and interesting displays. 

Tips for Visitors

Give yourself enough time to enjoy this mission, which extended over six acres in the mission era. Allow several hours / half day for a thorough exploration of the site and museum.
 

When you visit the church notice the cupola, which contains an octagonal lantern formed with 144 panes of glass. It sits on top of the wooden dome built over the sanctuary in 1829. 

Do visit the lavandería ruins. They are located in the southwest section of the complex, about an 8-10 minute walk.

 

Entrance to cemetery with flags The San Luis Rey cemetery has been greatly enlarged since the mission era. The entrance gate to the right of the church. Visit the Franciscan Burial Crypts (after going through the cemetery gate, keep to the left to reach the crypts   

Related Historic Site to Visit

Pala from street San Antonio de Pala, located on the Pala Indian Reservation. This is the only one of a score of  “sub-missions” that remains intact and continues to serve its descendant Indian Community. It is located about twenty-five miles to the east of San Luis Rey.

A visit to both San Luis Rey and San Antonio de Pala offers a full, satisfying day’s exploration of a California mission and asistencia.

Additional Information

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