Archive for July 7th, 2018

July 7, 2018

This is Paris: Church of St Etienne du Mont!

And here we go around the best of Paris’ churches in my opinion. This one is excellent ,very nice quartier and very nice Church. The name can be St Stephen’s on the Hill Church in English me think. Another stop you should do in Paris.

Church of Saint Etienne du Mont is one I have written a bit in other posts mix in with many but not done a sole post on it, and well, its about time. All worth it.

Saint-Étienne-du-Mont Church is located on the Sainte-Geneviève Mountain, in the 5éme arrondissement close to the Lycée Henri-IV , Luxembourg garden, and the Pantheon.  After being briefly transformed into a temple of filial piety under the French Revolution, she was returned to her parish church functions in 1801 and has not changed assignments since. The Shrine of Sainte Geneviève,(patron saint of Paris) empty of its relics since the French Revolution in 1793 (when thrown in the sewers) with only one piece of bone remaining, as well as the stone of her coffin is now preserved there. The church also houses an organ whose origins and the buffet date back to the years 1630. It is the last Parisian church where you can still see a rood.

The gallery that surrounds the bedside, adorned with twenty-four stained glass windows was built from 1605. Finally the bell tower is raised in 1624 while the gate is built in 1610. The architect Victor Baltard restored the façade of the church between 1861 and 1868. The church of Saint-Etienne-du-Mont is remarkable in several capacities: it has a rood of finely carved stone (one of the last existing in Paris), dating from the vicinity of 1530 and combining with a perfect elegance the late Gothic vocabulary and Renaissance. Inside the tomb of Blaise de Vigenere, Blaise Pascal, Racine, and Mgr. Sibour.

The église Sainte Etienne du Mont 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. The arches of the apse and the steeple are built in 1492, the heart of flamboyant Gothic style up to the transept in 1537.

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The most impressive here other than the relics of Sainte Geneviève are the rood. Towards 1540 the Rood, will be built, in an oval style for the arches and Renaissance style for the enablement, in 1580 the vaults of the nave and the transept.  The roods have disappeared from most of the Gothic Churches, and their use has been lost in modern Churches. They served for certain rites, but suspended between the chorus and the nave, they further isolated the priests of the faithful, which probably explains their destruction. Several cities in France still have roods but one of the most curious and remarkable is that of the Church of Saint-Étienne-du-Mont, the only one surviving in Paris. This rood conjugates a Gothic structure with Renaissance ornamentation. The balustrade, a veritable interlace of stone lace, is carved in St. Leu Limestone and its two staircases wrap around the pillars while serving both the rood and the courtyard. Strangely, the author of this masterpiece is unknown when most of the names of the craftsmen who participated in the construction of the Church are known to us. On the other hand for the sculptures of the Rood, whose two figures of young men with ecstatic glances above the doors leading to the choir, the author is well identified: it is about Pierre Biard the Aîné.

However, the Church retains, in the Chapel of Communion , a beautiful collection of stained glass windows painted at the end of the 16C or early 17C. Mutilated and dispersed in the French revolution, they were again assembled in 1834; Unfortunately, there are only 12 left of the original 22.

Among all the works of art, one can highlight the entombment, a group carved in terracotta composed of eight characters dating from the end of the 16C. The author of this work is not identified, but this group, initially placed in the old church of St. Benoit, would come from the French school a chair in carved wood, made around 1640.  Its perimeter is adorned with seven allegorical statues representing the cardinal virtues (Prudence, Justice, Temperance, and Force) and theological (Hope, Faith, and Charity), separated by bas-relief sculpted on the panels telling the story of Saint Étienne. The canopy is surmounted by an angel, surrounded by different geniuses. The pulpit is supported by a figure standing on an extended lion, holding in his right hand a donkey jaw: So it is Samson, a biblical figure endowed with a legendary force, who has struck down a lion (book of Judges 14, 6) and killed a thousand philistines with a donkey’s jaw (Book of Judges 15, 14-17). The church also maintains many frescoes and paintings.

The organs are wonderful indeed and great concerts are given. The buffet organ, built in 1630, is considered a true masterpiece of carpentry. The organ itself dates from 1636. The organ was severely damaged in 1760 during a violent fire. It was rebuilt by Cliquot in 1777, then Aristide Cavaillon-Coll enriched it in 1863 and 1873. Theodore Puget makes improvements in 1911. The House Beuchet-Debierer performs a radical transformation in 1956 at the instigation of Maurice Duruflé. Danin-Gonzalez realigns the whole and changes the console to 1975; Bernard Dargassies performs a lift in 1991 and another in summer 2011. And the smaller one is the Choir organ  an instrument of 14 games, of which 12 are real, distributed on two keyboards of 56 notes and a pedal of 30. Built by Puget in 1902, it is placed on the north side of the choir behind stalls. The transmission is pneumatic. The instrument is housed in a two-storey Gothic style buffet with a high bedrock. Horizontally, the buffet is organized in a tripartite way, A must to hear it play.

There you go this one is a must and the area is gorgeous. Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

The Church Saint Etienne du Mont webpage :

Paris tourist office on the Church:

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


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July 7, 2018

This is Paris: Sainte Trinité Church!

In my continuing saga to present to you places of history, and architecture and religion very close to the membrane of Paris, I present to you the Holy Trinity Church or église de La Sainte Trinité very near the big department stores along rue Saint Lazare.

This is a very popular area with visitors and locals alike as the train station Gare Saint Lazare is very near and good transports on RER, Metro, and Bus abound. It is very central to see all of Paris. I used to come by Saint Lazare to work in Paris so this area is as I said run over by me several times.

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 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.

I have written on it on some of my previous blog but never as a stand alone which it deserves. So here is my story.

The Holy Trinity Church is at the square or Place d’Estienne-d’Orves in the 9éme district or arrondissement of Paris at the crossing of rue Blanche , rue de Clichy, rue de la Chaussée d’Antin, rue Saint Lazare, and rue de Châteaudun. It gives the name to the metro station of line 12 Trinité-d’Estienne d’Orves.

As like many other Churches of Paris the Church of the Holy Trinity was built during the Second Empire (Napoléon III) the architect was Théodore Ballu who also did the Basilica of Sainte Clotilde. The Church of the Holy Trinity was finished in 1867,in an imposing neo renaissance half Italian half French style that created an attraction in the neighborhood. The style was done as well mentioned by many as a basilical type as the Church of Saint François-Xavier (more of it later in my blog) with a metallic backbone as only one block of iron could allow such proportions ,and the sides were kept narrow as not to bothered the visitors during Mass.

The Church has a wonderful lighted clear view thanks to the stained glass windows in white with only the abside using colored windows with history. The lateral Chapels have a series of religious paintings from the 19C. The theatrical look at is vastness inside has given contemporaries now to call a masterful construction.

The choir is raise to follow the declination of the land surrounded by two tribunes with columns ;this space was hoping the visit of the Emperor Napoléon III but he never came. The nerf is long of 17 meters decorated with sculptures , statues, and vases all below a vaulted ceiling of floral and arabesque paintings. The monumental painting on the arch that falls on the choir was consecrated to the Holy Trinity. Many specialists call it audacious because the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit are holding hand. The Church remained loyal to the practices of the times such as the proclamation of the Church’s dogma, and apparitions of the Virgin to reinforce the beliefs.

The bell tower of the Church of the Holy Trinity is at 65 meters high, the bells are in octagonal form finish by a dome in the French renaissance style. The façade in front of the Place Etienne d’Orves has a heterocyclic style typical of the Second Empire period as many train stations done at the time. The three statues in the front illustrate the Holy Trinity, and four statues in the extremes of the façade represent the four cardinal virtues; below is the Force with a sword on her right side.

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During the French revolution the pulpit of the Holy Trinity Church served as a revolutionary tribunal of very dreadful decisions. In the Franco-Prussian war of 1870 the Church becomes a hospital. The nave is big and covered in wood, gave a good hospital during the siege of Paris. In the winter of 1870-71 the heating system of the Church was not enough so temporary heating chimneys were installed that stained the ceiling. The parishioners are squat on the floor attending the wounded with everybody in the vicinity helping out even a kitchen and laundry was set up in the Crypt.

In March 11 1869 the funeral of Hector Berlioz was held here. The parish Church was consecrated in 1913 and it was the first one in France to be given to the community of Emmanuel in 1986 to help out the clergy there and still does today. The webpage for the community of Emmanuel is here :

The organ was built in 1869 by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll a renown organ maker, very badly damaged during the events after 1870 it was completely rebuilt by Cavaillé-Coll and Alexander Guilmant.  This later composer created most of the works performed in the organ and the Church is a site to listen to very good concerts even today.

Some further webpages to help you plan your trip here are

The Church of the Holy Trinity official webpage in French:

Catholic churches of Paris on la Sainte Trinité

Paris tourist on the Holy Trinity Church:

You will have a blast visiting and walking the area very lively and visited part of Paris with many things to see nearby such as the Opéra Garnier and the department stores on bd Haussmann. Hope you have enjoy the post.

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

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