To the South of the Mission is the Lavanderia, or open-air laundry. This shallow valley beyond the Mission plaza proved ideal as both a bathing site and a place to wash clothes. Additionally, the structure provided a means of channeling the water into the Mission's gardens and fields for irrigation. Water from the San Luis Rey River was diverted to the site. Flowing down from both sides of the tiled stairway, water spouted from the mouths of carved gargoyles. An extensive water conservation system by even modern standards, the Lavanderia was surrounded by an adobe wall and entered through an arched and pillared gateway. A turnstile kept wildlife out.
It is roped off around the brick area, but there is a path that you can walk around it to see the canals. Just be careful of cactus.
The Mission quadrangle is a four-sided patio approximately 500' square surrounded by buildings and arcades. In this courtyard the first pepper trees in Alta California were planted by Fr. Antonio Peyri using seeds brought to San Luis Rey in 1830 by a sailor from Peru. The buildings included workshops, living quarters, a kitchen, infirmary, winery and storage areas.
They have created a very lovely garden, so you can only see the top of one of the first Pepper Tree of California.
The barracks were needed to protect the mission, but over the years it found usage when the mission was taken over by the military or visited.
The mission guard consisted of from five to eleven soldiers and a corporal. The above drawing was adapted from a sketch made by Alfred Robinson a traveler through here in 1829.
Captain Fremont took possession of mission San Luis Rey in August of 1846. The Mormon Battalion under Lt. Cooke camped at the Mission San Luis Rey in Feb. 1847.
Kit Carson a famous scout led General Kearny and his US Dragoons to California. They camped at San Luis Rey in late December of 1846.
As you stand before such a beautiful historical momument, just stand and look around imagining nothing around other than simple huts or houses that may have dotted the landscape and to look up at such a huge structure. I can imagine what an imposing building this must have been for settlers entering the valley during this time. I bet the padres had no idea at what a impact these missions would really have during this time and way it still influences our faith.
This mission is eighteenth of twenty-one California Missions dottie up and along the coast of California. Found in 1798 by Fr Fermin de Lausen and still operated by Franciscan Friars of California, it still serves the community with services, social events, retreats, museum, historical educational tool, and a reminder of our past and future.
As stated according to the web site, Vistor's are welcome to stroll the Mission Church, grounds and attend mass.
MISSION SAN LUÍS REY DE FRANCIA Historical Landmark No.239
This beautiful statue is "Jesus meets his afflicted Mother":
The Via Dolorosa Society was organized to stimulate and encourage thoughtful devotion to the historically significant event that occurred over two thousand years ago - the birth of Christianity. This event changed the course of history. The goal of the Society is to enhance the growth of spirituality and encourage Ecumenism. To this end the Society is presently occupied in the production of life size bronze works of art depicting the fourteen Stations of the CRoss or stopping places, of Jesus Journey from Pilate's Practorium to his death on Calvary.
This project is an artistic endeavor to create approximately 60 bronze figures that will promote a strong sense of presence. The Society seeks the support not only of those who are devoted to the passion of Jesus Christ, but also fine art enthusiasts, students and casual observers regardless of their religious affiliation. You are encouraged to "please touch" and be touched.
A convento is the friars' living quarters usually attached to the church. At Mission San Luis Rey, this wing was fronted by 32 arches and held rooms intended for the missionaries and official visitors and guests. The dining room and kitchen were also in this front part of the Mission.
Only 12 of the original arches remain and what was once the convento now houses the Museum and a Gift Shop. The arched corridors stop short of extending to the western edge of the property.
For unique gifts, mementos, books on mission history and religious articles.
The Mission San Luis Rey Gift Shop offers a wide-range of gifts, mementos and books documenting the history of the Mission as well as religious articles, bibles and books. The Gift Shop is open seven days a week from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm.
There are two historical markers. They do this at times: One is in front of to the Lavanderias and the other is located in the front by the mission between the flag poles in the parking lot.
NO. 239 MISSION SAN LUÍS REY DE FRANCIA - Founded June 12, 1798 by Father Lasuén, then president of the California missions, and administered by Father Peyrí, Mission San Luís Rey is notable for its impressive architecture-a composite of Spanish, Moorish, and Mexican.
The plaque reads, “San Luis Rey Mission Church has been designated a Registered National historic Landmark under the provisions of the Historic Sites Act of August 21, 1935. This site possesses exceptional value in commemorating or illustrating the history of the United States. U.S. Department of the Interior National Park Service, 1970.” #NPS–70000142
The gardens and cemetery meld together to create a peaceful and somber atmosphere with beautiful well kept lawns and lined with remembrance of many loved ones that have pasted. The cemetery consists of many faiths and welcomes visitors to stroll around and enjoy the beauty of the fountains and roses.
Also known as the "King of the Missions", it is one of the largest in the chain of 21 missions in California. It was founded in 1798 by Father Fermen Laseun and named after Louis IX, King of France.
The structure was built mostly of adobe and is in the shape of a cross. The interior of the church is quite spacious with a beamed ceiling and colorfully painted decorations throughout. Originally the decorations were painted by American Indians.
The museum can be visited for $4.00 and includes artifacts from 18th & 19th century mission life. It was interesting to see the old photos of the mission abandoned and in terrible need of repair. Today the mission is in beautiful condition.
I was fortunate to have visited Assisi, the town of St. Francis in 2001. When I saw this statue of St. Francis, it reminded me of that trip and of the great influence one man can have on the whole world. He gave up wealth to tend to the needy and spent much time helping lepers. With his many followers he began the order of Franciscan monks who came to the new world and helped establish the 21 missions in California.
The architecture of these missions has influenced the mission style of our California homes, public buildings, and even in the mission furniture style which is so popular today.
The Sacred Garden. You can view but not walk around the premises. A beautiful and peaceful place.
The mission property is quite large and not only includes the church and museum but another courtyard with fountains & garden, a very nice looking cemetary (not at all creepy), and remnants of soldiers barracks across the street.
Mission San Luis Rey is called the "King of the Missions". It is a good example of the architecture during the time the Franciscan order established the missions in California.
It was the Luiseno Indians who first inhabited this area. Since the Russians were quickly acquiring land, Spain established the missions as an inexpensive way to claim land in the name of Spain. Father Peyri was put in charge of San Luis Rey and during his stay the mission was home to approximately 3,000 Indians. After Mexico won it's independence, the land around the mission was under the control of various secular administrators who left nothing for the Indians.
After California became part of the US, the mission was ordered back to the Catholic church by President Lincoln, but it was abandoned until 1892 and left in disrepair.
In 1892 a group of Franciscans moved to San Luis Rey and rebuilt permanent living quarters where the museum sits today.
Excavations are still in progress unearthing things of the past.
They have a wonderful self guided tour you can take for about $5 and have some really nice exhibits of the missions past. Well worth your time, but here are the rules with the Photography and Videography at the Mission:
Personal photography is allowed on the grounds in front of the Mission; and in the Church - NON-FLASH ONLY/ NO TRIPODS
Photography is not allowed in the museum, or in the private, inner gardens of the Mission.
Commercial/model photography at the Mission requires permission in advance, a fee, and insurance.
Videography is allowed in outdoor areas only.
NOT all the missions do this!