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.

Paris

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 https://www.sfx-paris.fr/

Catholic Churches of Paris: https://www.paris.catholique.fr/-saint-francois-xavier-.html

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!!!

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