Blink and you will miss the turning into the lane that leads you to The Little Chapel, Guernsey. And you can’t see it from the road so you need to trust the signpost. Follow the lane down to the gift shop and you will find ample parking, and a good opportunity to buy some local souvenirs and grab a cup of tea.
There is no entry fee for The Little Chapel, though donations for its upkeep are, of course, welcomed and there is a collection box near the Chapel for that.
The photos are deceptive and dont really show you just how small this chapel is. There is standing room inside for just a couple of people, though it does have three floors. When they say “Little” they really do mean Little. It was built for the first time in 1914, and then demolished the following day by Brother Deodat Antoine a member of a Catholic religious order who had fled France in 1904 when faith schools were banned and they arrived in Guernsey from France. A group of the De La Salle Brothers bought Les Vauxbelets and began developing the farm and stone buildings.
It was built to look similar to the grotto at Lourdes and having demolished the first incarnation of it Brother Deodat went on to build the second version during the First World War. The Bishop of Portsmouth visited it in 1923 and as a “portly gentleman” he couldn’t fit through the entrance door so Brother Deodat demolished it and started again.
The third, and current version, was almost completed when the Second World War broke out and was almost completed when Brother Deodat returned in ill health to France in 1939. Sadly he died before it was finished. The broken china and glass was laboriously collected, and donated from all around the world whenever people heard about the building work in the media.
I must admit that I hadn’t heard of The Little Chapel when we first booked our trip to Guernsey but so many people mentioned it to us that we made sure we visited on our way back to the hotel one afternoon. You should definitely do the same.