The Churches of Paris…

Well I did on my Versailles so why not Paris (lived and worked); the Churches of Paris. Millions come to Paris for the main ones of course but there are a lot others. Let me give you my favorites.

We start with the big one, Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris; the project began in 1163AD and went on with the building of the arches between 1296-1330, new decoration of the choir in 1699-1723, first restoration by 1844. with some figures, length of 127,5 meters, height on the towers of 69 meters, and a facade of 40 meters; it has one nerf with five double traverses and a tribune seating o 1500 persons; several splendid places are the portico of the Virgin (1210-20), portico of last judgement (1220-30), portico of Sainte Anne (1223-30), Gallery of Kings, a treasury, two imposing towers and can hold up to 9000 worshippers. It has a Library with 300 precious manuscripts. It has a nice bell Quasimodo named Emmanuel melted in two stages one in 1681 and then in 1686, its weight now is 13 tons. Made immortalise by Victor Hugo, Notre Dame de Paris novel.  It recently celebrated 800 years of history in Paris.  More here http://www.notredamedeparis.fr/spip.php?rubrique2

église Saint Louis at Invalides;or the Church of the soldiers’. one of the most popular ones in Paris. This is due, of course, to the presence nearby of the dome of the Invalides, created by Jules Hardouin-Mansart, which hosts the tomb of Napoleon I. This is also due to the presence of the Museum of the army in the buildings that surround the splendid cour d’honneur.  The Saint-Louis des Invalides Church has the more traditional classicalstyle architecture, it draws outline for the Invalides and ensures the realization of buildings as well as the Church of Saint Louis. The notable feature of the Church of Saint-Louis’s own a series of flags, took to the enemy in the 19C-20C, hanging from the ledge, on both sides of the elevation. The Church and the dome, where lies the tomb of Emperor Napoleon, are in fact a single building: the St. Louis Church is the nave; the dome is the chorus. In the 17C, the high altar was common. To attend the office, Louis XIV returned by the dome, disabled soldiers returned by the nave. Today the separation is provided by a large canopy through which can be seen, among the reflections, Napoleon’s Tomb. I  would add that all of these imposing buildings created in the 17C, surrounded by green areas, is one of the most elegant districts of Paris.  More better in French here; http://www.musee-armee.fr/collections/les-espaces-du-musee/cathedrale-saint-louis-des-invalides.html

Basilique  Sacre Cœur of Montmartre.  The site of the 19C  basilica is traditionally associated with the beheading of the city’s patron, Saint Denis, in the 3C. According to legend, after he was martyred, Bishop Denis picked up his severed head and carried it several miles to the north, where the suburb of Saint Denis stands today. After France’s 1870 defeat by the Prussians in the Franco-Prussian War and its aftermath, the Commune of 1871, the basilica was planned as a guilt offering and a vote of confidence to cure France’s misfortunes.  The church was dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a cult that gained popularity after 1873, when the first pilgrimage was organized to Paray-le-Monial in Burgundy. It was there that revelations encouraging prayer to Christ’s sacred heart had been reported in the 17C. The foundation stone of the Basilique Sacré-Coeur was laid in 1875. It was consecrated in 1891, fully completed in 1914, and elevated to the status of a basilica in 1919, after the end of the WWI.  The triple-arched portico is surmounted by two bronze equestrian statues of France’s  national Saints, Joan of Arc and King Saint Louis IX, Even the great bell, the Savoyarde, has nationalist references: Savoy was annexed to France in 1860. Cast in Annecy in 1895, it is one of the world’s heaviest bells at 19 tons. A climb to the top of the dome provides an excellent view of Paris – at 271 feet above Montmartre it is the second-highest viewpoint after the Eiffel Tower – and the walk around the inside of the dome alone is worth the climb. The dome is supported by 80 columns, each topped with a different capital. The crypt contains statues of saints and a relic that some believe to be the very Sacred Heart (Sacré-Coeur) of Christ. More here ; http://www.sacre-coeur-montmartre.com/english/

You have the American Cathedral in Paris at 23 avenue George V, this was the Cathedral of the HOly Trinity and now host the European Episcopal churches. It dates back to the 1830’s  when Americans were around Paris; yes a lot more before WWI and else. And the building has been recently renovated. A piece of American history in Paris; main site here http://amcathparis.com/

And we have the église de Saint Eustache, built between 1532 and 1640  so quite long 100 years.  Yet some famous have a lot to do with it; such as Louis XIV  received his  communion. Mozart, also chose the sanctuary as the location for his mother’s funeral. Among those baptised here as children were Richelieu, Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, (future Madame de Pompadour)  and Moliére, who was also married here in the 17C. The last rites for Anne of Austria, Turenne, and Mirabeau were pronounced within its walls. Marie de Gournay is buried there. The Church is one of the most visited in Paris. If the exteriors is Classic the interior architecture is rather confusing. In the 13C, there stood a chapel to St Agnes and later to St Eustatius, too small if was replaced in the 16C by a wider one 100 meters long in the gothic flamboyant style, with the first stone done in 1532, but the Church finally completed in 1640. The interior end up been a lot of Italian Renaissance style. At the French revolution, the Church was sacked and transformed into a temple of Agriculture, then made again for worship in 1803. After a fire, the Church was restored in 1854. It has a large number of murals from the 19C and some great work of art (sculpture and paintings) as the statue of the Virgin and the Child de Pigalle ,one of the mot beautiful in Paris. More here http://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/71305/%C3%89glise-Saint-Eustache

I found the église Saint François de Sales  very interesting, It has an old Church entrance by 6 Rue Brémontier and the new one by 15-17 Rue Ampére. The new Church was built between 1911 and 1913; More here ; http://saintfrancoisdesales.net/index.php?page76-20-AB

By Rue Saint Martin you find another interesting Church, that of Saint Nicolas des Champs, the building in Flamboyant Gothic style dates from the 12-15-17C.  The Organ is from 1777 modified in 1930. More here; http://www.asaintnicolas.com/

One close at heart as help out there once is the Chapelle Expiatoire where the remains of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were dumped and later the brother Louis XVIII took them out built this chapel and transfered the remains to the Basilica of Saint Denis. You should see it, even Louis XX has visited …. well not yet the XX ::)  http://chapelle-expiatoire.monuments-nationaux.fr/en/

The église de la Sainte Trinité, is not far from the Galeries Lafayette store and was built between 1861 and 1867 in a Second Empire period.  IT was also from the period of the SEcond Empire. It is an imposing renaissance building to impress the crowds with 90 meters long and 34 meters wide and 30 meters high with an imposing 17 meters wide nave. It has a metal frame and the aisles were done as not to disturb the faithful during Mass. It has excellent illumination by having the stained glass Windows in simple white glass. The side chapels have paintings from the 19C with a look of theatrical interiors. More here; http://latriniteparis.com/

The église Notre Dame des Champs is near the Montparnasse train station. It was said that formely here there was a temple to Mercury in the early days of Christianity ,the temple was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and took the name of Notre Dame des Vignes. King Robert the Pious (972-1031) decided to built a Church and manage by the Benedictine monks of the Alsatian abbey of Marmoutier. In 1604 the monks give the Church to the Carmélites of Spain and emphasis is placed on the incarnation and devotion of the Child Jesus. Many notables preach here such as Bossuet (the Eagle of Meaux and confessor of Louis XIV), Madmoiselle de la Valliére was removed, madame Acarie beautified in 1791. While the French revolution the Church was closeed, and destroyed. In 1858 the parrish is renew and a wooden Chapel was built and by 1867 the current Church is begun to be built.  The Church is decorated with paintings by Joseph Aubert, a series of 22 paintings of the nave and chancel chronicles the life of the Virgin. One tells of his travels through Palestine. More info here:   http://www.paroisse-ndc.com/

One of my favorites is one I walked by many times while working in Paris, église de Saint Augustin, just not far from the train station of Saint Augustin. Done during the Second Empire, and by Victor Baltard  who also did the Halles de Paris; 100 meters long, 80 meters high at the lantern and 25 meters dome diameter, the first time there was a Church of this size with metal frames steel covered with stones.  Golden cast iron pillars adorned with polychrome Angels throughtout the Church. The circular choir welcomes a big ciborium cast iron and open into three dominated chapels each with open forum. The Church of Saint Augustin is arranged in romano byzantine style, Romanesque nave with its round arches. Byzantine for the choir and cupola, and renaissance vaguely elsewhere. It has no stained glass Windows in white glass, the first level is the nave and the third level represent Saints and Martyrs. This explains why the nave is quite dark. More here ;http://www.saintaugustin.net/histoire-de-l-eglise/

The église Sainte Etienne du Mont is near the panthéon in Paris.  The Church stands on the site of an abbey founded by Clovis, King of the Franks (466-511) and later dedicated to St. Geneviève, the patroness of Paris. St. Geneviève was so popular in the Middle Ages that the abbey had to be enlarged to accommodate all the pilgrims. Construction on the present abbey church began in 1492 and encountered numerous delays before it was finally finished in 1626. All that remains of the ancient abbey is the Tour de Clovis (Tower of Clovis), which is now part of the Lycée Henri IV.  The attractive church, named for St. Stephen but still devoted to St. Geneviève, is located right next to the Panthéon.  The interior of St-Etienne-du-Mont is Gothic, an unusual style for a mostly 16C church.  Along with the patroness of Paris, such illustrious men as Pascal and Racine were entombed here. St. Geneviève’s tomb was destroyed during the French revolution, but the stone on which her coffin rested was discovered later, and her relics were gathered for a place of honor at St-Etienne.  The church possesses a remarkable early-16C rood screen. Dramatically crossing the nave like a bridge with spiral staircases on either side, it’s unique in Paris and beloved by many .  Also notable is the wood pulpit, supported by Samson with a jawbone in hand and slain lion at his feet. The fourth chapel on the right from the entrance contains impressive 16C  stained glass. More here; http://www.saintetiennedumont.fr/

The église de Saint Sulpice is a major Paris Church in the Place Saint-Sulpice within the rue Bonaparte. The current Church took place from a small sanctuary dedicated to Saint Sulpice des Champs which dates back to the 12C, Rebuilt in the 14C and 16C finally considered small; new plans approved in 1645, and first stone laid by the queen Regent Anne of Austria in 1646.  It is the largest Church in Paris with 119 meters long and 57 meters wide.  The selected style is classicism with abundance of Corinthians elements, the carved décorations (capitals, cherubs, and vases of flames) made the body with stone giving a very neat architectural look.  As said, for all those visiting Paris coming here is a necessary step; its architecture is the epitome of classicism, the décorations, the murals and frescoes of the chapels deserve careful look. You see the giant clams and its Virgin and Children, reliefs and sumptous mausoleum offer the Church masterpieces of the art of Paris. More here: http://www.stsulpice.com/

By the Invalides and the wonderful Army museum , do not missed the église de Saint Louis des Invalides. The Church of the Soldiers is one of the most popular churches in Paris. This is mainly because of the Dome of the Invalides that guard the tomb of Napoléon I. As well as the museum of the Army. The style is traditional classical; with many flags taken from the enemy in the 19-20C hanging from the ledge on both sides of the elevation.  To attend services King Louis XIV returned by the Dome and the disabled soldiers returned by the nave.  IN between you see a canopy to allow a vision of Napoleon’s tomb. It is Worth mentioning that this area is one of the most elegant in Paris. More here; http://www.musee-armee.fr/collections/les-espaces-du-musee/cathedrale-saint-louis-des-invalides.html

Another wondeful Church and one I passed for many years on my way to work in Paris.  église de la madeleine. The Madeleine Church was designed in its present form as a temple to the glory of Napoleon’s army. After many attempts to build a Church ,in 1806 Napoleon made his decision,ordering to built a Temple to the Glory of the Great Army based on the design of an antique temple. With completion of the Arc de Triomphe in 1808, the original commemorative role for the temple was blunted. After the fall of Napoleon, with the Catholic reaction during the Restoration, King Louis XVIII determined that the structure would be used as a church.  In 1837 it was briefly suggested that the building might best be utilized as a train station, but the building was finally consecrated as a church in 1842. Today, the Madeleine is affiliated with a Benedictine abbey. Daily masses, concerts and the most fashionable weddings in Paris are celebrated here. A simpler crypt offers more intimate weekday masses.  The Madeleine is built in the Neo-Classical style and was inspired by the Maison Carrée de Nîmes the best-preserved of all Roman temples. Its 52 Corinthian columns, each 20 meters high, are carried around the entire exterior of the building. Thepediment  adorned with a sculptured relief of the Last Judgment by Lemaire; the church’s bronze doors bear reliefs representing the Ten Commandments. Inside, the church has a single nave with three domes, lavishly gilded in a decor inspired by Renaissance artists. At the rear of the church, above the high altar, stands a statue by Charles Marochetti depicting St Mary Magdalene being carried up to heaven by two angels.  The half-dome above the altar is covered with a fresco by Jules-Claude Ziegler, entitled The History of Christianity, showing the key figures in the Christian religion with – perhaps inevitably – Napoleon occupying centre stage.  The church has a celebrated pipe organ, built by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll (1811-1899), which is widely regarded as one of the best in Paris. The composers Camille Saint-Saëns and Gabriel Fauré were both organists at the Madeleine, and the funerals of Frédéric Chopin, Saint-Saëns, and Fauré were held there. Glorious more here; http://www.eglise-lamadeleine.com/

And these are just combing the surface of the many churches of Paris. Just a taste of my favorites. Enjoy them anytime.

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2 Comments to “The Churches of Paris…”

  1. Notre Dame has been on my bucket list for a long time. I really must take that train to Paris…

    Liked by 1 person

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