Archive for July 6th, 2018

July 6, 2018

This is Paris: Church Saint François Xavier

And I go on with showing the Churches of Paris on a single blog post. They deserve it I believe, they will show the history, architecture and more of what really is Paris; well a lot more than the Louvre ::)

I go around and come into these monuments just searching that inner soul of a city ,of any city, and Paris is no different. In the Churches we see the real history, wonderful architecture, and the ups and downs of the people over the periods. This one was a surprise, just passing by, (they are so many ) and would like to tell you a bit about it.

I am talking about the Church Saint François Xavier, one of the least visited and one of the prettiest.  The church of Saint-François-Xavier is located in the 7éme district or arrondissement of Paris, in place de President-Mithouard. It is the place of worship of the Catholic parish Saint-François-Xavier-des-Foreign Missions. A more popular direction would be by the  Boulevard des Invalides in front of Piazza Tardieu, and surrounded by the place of the President-Mithouard. The church was commissioned in 1861, it has a facade is inspired by the Italian Renaissance.


The main façade has a central part flanked by two square towers. The church is framed by two squares: the square Pierre de Gaulle and the square abbot Esquerré. Thanks to its metal frame, the vault rests directly on the lateral walls, with no aisles or tipping arcs. The plan of the Church is in the Classical style with a central nave with lateral chapels, transept and deep apse. The axial Chapel features a statue of the Virgin.  Above the main gate is a remplage-framed rosette of niches containing statues. The ensemble is crowned by a triangular pediment whose bas-relief, appearing Saint Francis Xavier, baptizing the inhabitants of India and Japan. The nave of 5 bays is wide, with a non-protruding transept, but the 3-span choir is narrow and flanked by passages communicating with a large axis Chapel surrounded by an ambulatory.

Internal elevation punctuated by fluted and banded Corinthian columns. The vaults of the nave were decorated with paintings, the rest of the painted décor by several artists. The crossing of the transept is covered with a dome on a colorful pendant.  The metal frame allows the vault to rest directly on the side walls. A triumphal arch showcases the chorus and builds a perspective leading the gaze towards the statue of the Virgin in the axial Chapel.  A construction of the church began by 1861 and  was completed in 1873 (with the exception of its interior decoration), opened for worship in 1874 and consecrated on May 23, 1894.

During the French revolution, like many others churches were closed. The parishioners took the habit of meeting in the Chapel of the seminary of the foreign Missions, located on Rue du Bac. With the Concordat of 1802, the chapel became a parish. Under the Second Empire, the construction of a new church in the Invalides district was decided. The work began in 1861 until 1874. The church is dedicated to St. Francis Xavier, the patron of the Missions.

Among the one hundred and thirty churches in Paris, Saint-François-Xavier is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful. The splendor of his choir strikes the visitor as soon as he enters the nave. At the end of the 19C, it was also one of the richest: many donations have come to increase its heritage in works of great masters. One can admire in particular a masterpiece of the Tintoretto; The Last Supper. The artist seized the moment when Christ announces to the apostles that one of them will betray him. See also the crucifixion of Saint Peter by Luca Giordano.

The nave of the Church is separated from the aisles by a suite of fluted columns surmounted by Corinthian capitals enriched with cherubs and thus characterized as composite. These columns are connected by arches in a full hanger. The two levels of the elevation are separated by a protruding cornice that belts the entire building. The cradle Vault features decorative paintings by Alexandre Denuelle.  Under the Second Empire, the construction technique of the churches progressed: a metal frame was built. Masked by a stone covering. This practice has a triple advantage; the building is very strong, construction is fast and not expensive. St. Francis Xavier Church follows this new concept.

The Saint-François-Xavier Church does not enjoy an important natural luminosity. It has a large number of windows, only two of which are with history on them. These two stained glass windows, dating from 1959, represent Saint Vincent de Paul and Saint Teresa of the Child Jesus. The two transept rosettes, which are identical, possess, for their own, petals decorated with liturgical symbols. The other stained glass windows are geometric compositions, often based on circles sustained colors. In fact, all the stained glass windows, by the intensity of their colors, obstruct the daylight. In grey weather or late afternoon, the church is bathed in a pronounced twilight that only increases until artificial light has taken over.

In the Chapel of the Sacred Heart lies the shrine of Sainte Madeleine-Sophie Barat. Born in  1779, she created the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1800 to develop the teaching of young girls. The shrine is in the Chapel of St. Joseph.

The Choir of the Church of  Saint-François-Xavier is one of the most beautiful in Paris. Above the altar, in the spandrels, Moses holding the Tables of the law and, on the left, his brother Aaron holding his miraculous wand . Finally, above, in front of a Christ of Byzantine inspiration, Saint Francis Xavier presenting to Jesus Christ the peoples he has converted.  The statue of St. Francis Xavier, the sculptor (unknown) represented the Saint brandishing the Cross with a raging and determined gesture. His mouth is open as if he needed to catch his breath with his Cry of Faith. This cry is accentuated by the left hand which grasps the reverse of the garment as if to put the heart to bare and show the violence of his faith.

Another wonderful find in Paris, and again seldom visited but should be a must, well maybe a route of the Churches of Paris should be an inspiration by the Tourist Board of Paris!

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

The parish Church Saint François Xavier

Catholic Churches of Paris:

Hope it helps as not in the tourist office, need to stop by yourself, well worth it. And remember, happy travels, good health ,and many cheers to all!!!

Tags: , ,
July 6, 2018

This is Paris: Church of Saint Nicolas des Champs

My ongoing saga to show some of the favorite Churches of Paris in my opinion continues with one seldom known or visit ,especially by visitors.  It’s time to get to know the little known beauties of Paris. I like to give a small introduction to the Church of Saint Nicolas des Champs.

The Church of Saint-Nicolas-des-Champs, is located on Rue Saint-Martin in the 3éme arrondissement or district of Paris. It is of flamboyant Gothic style dating from the 12-15C. The closest metro is Réaumur-Sébastopol on lines 3 and 4 and Arts-et-Métiers line 3 and 11.

A document of 1079 shows that a parish was erected for the population of the vicinity of St. Martin des Champs. . This population took such a development that a parish Chapel dedicated to St. Nicholas was built outside the monastery before 1119. The present Church, begun around 1420, was built for the greater part in the 16C.

On the day of Pentecost 1623, St. Louise of Marillac lived in this Church an outpouring of the spirit. As a result of this strong spiritual experience, and with the spiritual guide of Saint Vincent de Paul, she decided to found the congregation of the Daughters of Charity.

The Church is not well recognize and does not attract the eye of the passing crowds on rue Réaumur and rue Turbigo. Its size is however important with its 90 meters long, and 36 meters wide and its bell tower which rises to 32 meters. The portal of the building was completed in 1587 and is on the south side on rue Cunin-Guidaine.

The Church of Saint-Nicolas-des-Champs has been equipped with organs since 1418. The present organ dates from 1777 (Clicquot) and modified in 1930. In 1834, Louis Braille, inventor of the tactile writing system for the blind, was one of his incumbent organists. Édouard Batiste was organist from 1841 to 1854 and Michel Chakraborty from 1954 to 1972. Today, it is François Eric and Vincent Genvrin who hold the tribune of the great organs.

The Church maintains one of the only 17C monumental altarpieces still in place in a Parisian Church, painted by Simon Vouet, it rises 12 meters above the high altar and represents the assumption of the Virgin. Which, alone, is worth coming to see it

PAris Paris Paris Paris

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

The parish webpage of Saint NIcolas des Champs;

Catholic Churches of Paris on Saint Nicolas des Champs:

Hope you stop by when walking the wonderful streets of Paris, the best way to see the city once in it.

Remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!



Tags: , ,
%d bloggers like this: