Archive for July 5th, 2018

July 5, 2018

This is Paris: Church of Saint-Eustache !

Coming along on the wonderful Churches of Paris, and plenty in my blog on them. However, I need to put some apart on a single post and so the saga continues with a historical wonderful Church of Paris.

I am talking about the Church of Saint-Eustache. Saint-Eustache Church is located in the 1éme arrondissement or district in the heart of the neighborhood or quartier of Halles. The Meridian, meanwhile, lies above and to the left of the South Gate and measures 3 meters high. Its lines, carved in stone, show every quarter of an hour between 11h and 13h or 11am to 1pm.

In the summer season, the Church of Saint-Eustache is one of the most visited in Paris. Its location in the center of the capital, near the Forum des Halles, is not for nothing. If the exterior aspect is more classical (although the façade has nothing to seduce), the interior architecture-at first glance-is rather confusing.

In the 13C there was a chapel dedicated to St. Agnes. became with use, Saint-Eustache. Too small, it is replaced in the 16C by a large, 100 meters long, flamboyant Gothic-style Church. The plans and the architectural principles follow those of Notre-Dame de Paris. The first stone was laid in 1532, but the Church was actually completed only in 1640. Its construction was slowed down by the lack of funding, the nature of the land and the wars of Religion. Next to the Gothic, the interior offers many aspects of the Italian Renaissance.

At the French Revolution, Saint-Eustache was ransacked, transformed into a temple of agriculture, then returned to worship in 1803; victim of a fire in 1844, the Church was restored by Victor Baltard. Its famous Tribune organ, due to the croquet, dates from 1854.  Saint-Eustache contains a large number of 19C murals and some magnificent works of art (paintings and sculptures), such as the statue of the Virgin of the Child of Pigalle, one of the most beautiful in Paris.

An architectural point. The visitor entering the Church is immediately seized by the height of the vaults (33 meters) and the imposing vertical masses that permeate the entire building. The flamboyant gothic is found in the vaults of warheads, embellished with liernes, third parties and ubiquitous pendant keys. The style Renaissances’exprime in the juxtaposition of the ancient orders, the pillars that are flanked by pilasters, the arches in full hanger and, of course, in the abundant decoration on the Capitals (Seraphim, baskets of flowers, etc.). The Saint-Eustache has a vast canopy on three levels of elevation. The Church is so high that the first level of elevation is itself divided into two sublevels, materialized by a double row of stained glass windows.  Most of them are white glass. If one adds the large double door of the South brace, always open to illuminate the transept (in fact the passage is closed by a glass wall), Saint-Eustache is a very luminous Church. As the choir is in the east and there is no building in the South, the sun, in good weather, radiates the entire nave of its rays throughout the day.

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A historical fact, at its creation, the Chapel of the Virgin had a rich ornamentation in marble, in woodwork, in paintings. All this was ransacked or stolen from the French revolution. The chapel was restored in 1800 and, little by little, reembellished. In its center there is a magnificent sculpture of the Madonna and Child  by  Jean-Baptiste Pigalle . The painter Thomas Couture (1815-1879) enriched it with three great frescoes on the theme of the Virgin: “The triumphant Virgin adored by the Angels”; “The Virgin star of the sailors” and “the virgin comforter of the afflicted”. The style is remarkable as there are no figurism or symbolism and the Angels almost like human beings well in flesh. The gallery of stained Glass  gives a close-up picture of the altarpiece and its unusual series of vases.

Colbert was the churchwarden of the Church of Saint-Eustache. This mausoleum is considered to be a major work in 17C statuary. The artist used bronze and white and black marble. Colbert, seized in the attitude of a praying, is clad in his mantle of Commander of the Order of the Holy Spirit. To the left of the sarcophagus, fidelity, chiseled by Coysevox , and to the right, piety or abundance due to Jean-Baptiste Tuby.

The organs of Saint-Eustache are among the largest in France. Due to the croquet done in 1854, they were restored in 1989. The wood carving of the buffet (on a cardboard by Victor Baltard) is a pure splendor. The beauty of the characters and the rose in the background create a scenic magic that must be enjoyed with a pair of binoculars. Truly wonderful.

Yet some famous have a lot to do with the Church. Some of them are king  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. A truly historical Church of Paris, one of the must to visit.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are tourist office of Paris on Saint Eustache

Parish Church webpage in French on the history:

The Church Saint Eutache webpage in French:

Hope you enjoy the ride because visiting Paris is a ride into history, architecture, entertainment, love, and passions, Paris is eternal.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!


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