After leaving the mission San Antonio de Pala, we drove to visit another mission. San Luis Rey de Francia is located in Oceanside.
This Mission is called the « King of the Missions ». It was the 13th of the 21 Spanish Mission we visited since I had been at San Juan Capistrano in 2013. This Mission became the 18th of the Spanish Mission. It was named for Louis IX, King of France. By 1830, it had become the largest and most populous Mission in California. About 27,000 head of cattle and 26,000 sheep roamed its vast lands, which also contained groves of olive and oranges trees, vineyards and orchards. They had many goats, pigs and horses. In the 1830s the Mexican government forces the missionaries to leave all 21 of the missions, and San Luis Rey de Francia was abandoned. In 1865, President Lincoln returned the mission to the Catholic Church but it stood empty until restoration work began in 1892.
The outside is quite impressive. The inside is really nice also. Every time I go inside one of those building, I try to imagine how life was in the late 1800. How lucky we are to have such places to visit. A museum, a garden, a cemetery and a church. We try to see it all but we cannot stay too long either. I share some photography taken during that visit.
One thing interesting is that Walt Disney filmed the 1957 Zorro television series at this mission.
In the garden, the oldest pepper tree in California. it was planted bt Fr. Antonio Peyri. The seeds were brought to San Luis Rey in 1830 by a sailor from Peru. This is the tree you see in the photo below.
Pepper tree blooms profusely in panicles at the end of drooping branches and produce small yellow-white summer flowers which give way to clusters of rose-colored berries in the fall and winter. These berries do not produce commercial pepper but it was used in treating a variety of wounds and infections due to its antibacterial and antiseptic properties.