This is Paris: Basilica Notre Dame des Victoires!

And I did a series of posts on the various churches of Paris because they hold the history and best examples of architecture in the city me think. This one is a particular one that is very nice and should tell you a bit more with revise text and links. See the Basilique Notre Dame des Victoires! Hope you enjoy it as I.

Written on churches before in my blog and some just mention briefly, this one deserves a post of its own. A wonderful Church Basilica Notre Dame des Victoires. Basilique Notre Dame-des-Victoires is located at Place des Petits-Péres in the 2éme district or arrondissement of Paris. It is one of five minor Basilicas in Paris been raise to Basilica in 1927.


The basilica is in the Chapel of the former Augustinian convent. The construction begins in 1629. King Louis XIII posed the first stone and dedicated the Church to Notre-Dame-des-Victories because of its military successes, especially at the Siege of La Rochelle (1628).  111 years took to completed it finally in 1740. The convent had a library of forty thousand books. In the French revolution, it was closed. The Church is occupied by the offices of the National Lottery and then by the stock exchange. It was returned to worship in 1809. The conventual buildings, themselves, were destroyed in 1859. During the commune 1870-71 , the church was looted again and ransacked.


In 1836, Notre-Dame-des-Victories is consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of the Virgin. The abbot creates an association of which one of the first aims is the conversion of sinners. In 1838, the association became Arch confraternity patronized by Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows, approved by Pope Gregory XVI. In 1927, the church was elevated to the rank of minor basilica by Pope Pius XI.

Our Lady of the Victories or Notre Dame des Victoires is a high place of devotion, unique in Paris, its walls are covered by about thirty-seven thousand ex-votos in gratitude to the Virgin. Finally, the Church has a choir richly endowed with seven paintings by Carl Vanloo. Six of them are devoted to the life of St. Augustine. In 1778, Mozart prayed in this church . The total length of the church is 62 meters for a width of 24.50 meters. The height of the vault is 15 meters. The church is in the Classic style, notice the cornice in modillions and roses, and its pilasters of ionic order.

Some of the nicest Chapels to see are the Chapel in memory of St. Teresa of Lisieux ,surmounted by the stained glass showing Sainte Thérèse de Lisieux in 1887, before going to Rome to asked the Pope the permission to enter the Carmel of Lisieux, the girl comes to pray to Notre-Dame-des-Victories with her father and sister. The Sainte-Anne Chapel dated from 1878 and showing the painting of “The Education of the Virgin” (upper part). The Saint Augustine Chapel on the left side of the transept. The six paintings of Carl Vanloo on the life of Saint Augustine were painted between 1746 and 1755. Removed from by the French revolution, reestablished in 1811, they evoke the baptism of Saint Augustine, his episcopal ordination, his oratorical jousting with the Donatists, his homilies before Bishop Valeri, his death, and finally the translation of his relics in Pavia. This collection of paintings by Carl Vanloo is unique in France!


The impressive cenotaph of Jean-Baptiste Lulli.  Lulli lived in Rue des Petits-Champs and was buried in the Church. His tomb, executed in 1687 was demolished during the commune. What remained of the tomb was placed between the chapels of St. John and the Holy Childhood to the left and to the right are seated two mourners representing poetry and music. On the upper pedestal: two statues of children (or weeping geniuses). At the top sits the bust in bronze of Lulli 17C.

Eight windows of the nave follow a common pattern, they are surrounded by a garland with decorative themes. The background is made up of a grey clover-base on which one or two central characters are detached. These stained glass windows let little light pass. In summer, the grand portal of the Basilica is always open to bring a little clarity to the nave. On the other hand, the transept and chorus are still quite dark. The 37 000 ex-Votos of Notre-Dame-des-Victories are, above all, marble slabs that cover the aisles and the transept, but also thousands of hearts, stained glass windows, military medals and decorations. The ex-Votos are in French, English, German, Polish, Spanish, Portuguese, etc. True to the principle of arch confraternity conversion is the main subject of recognition.

The Chapel of the Virgin dedicated to the very holy and Immaculate Heart of Mary a statue financed by king Louis XIV. Beneath the altar is a part of the relics of St. Aurélie, victim of persecution under Emperor Valérien.  Dressed in a white mantle, the forehead girded with a golden crown.  The Virgin disappeared in the French revolution with all the treasures of the Church!!

The lower part of the stained glass illustrates the vision and its consequences. The manuscript of the archives of the Augustinian Convent reports, after the Brother Fiacre had  heard the cry of a grandchild: he turned his head on the side of the voice and saw the Sacred Virgin surrounded by a beautiful and pleasant light, having a Child in her arms, dressed of a blue robe dotted with stars, her hair hanging on her shoulders, three crowns on her head, sitting on a chair and saying: “My child, do not be afraid, I am the mother of God.” On this, the witness Brother Fiacre  flung himself to the ground to worship the Child held between her arms, believing that it was Jesus Christ, but the Sacred Virgin said to him:  “My child is not my son, it is the child that God wants to give to France.” This story came to the ears of the court and the king. The Virgin asked for three novenas in three shrines of the kingdom dedicated to Notre-Dame, including Notre-Dame of Victories and Notre-Dame de Paris. Brother acquitted himself of this prayer in November and December 1637. Ten months later, on September 5, 1638, Queen Anne of Austria gave birth to a son, Louis Dieudonné ( Louis the God given), at the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye (future king Louis XIV)! At court, it was recalled that this birth had been foretold by a religious. Brother Fiacre will devote his life, through prayer, to the royal family, to the poor and to peace and will become famous. It is reported that later, his portrait adorns a car rental office on horseback. They will eventually take its name, the famous “cabs”, ancestors of our taxis. Nice story after all, you find thousands in the churches of Paris.

The Basilique Notre Dame des Victoires has two representations of the vows of Louis XIII a painting by Carl Vanloo 18C  and a 19C stained glass window. Another great stained glass window can be seen on this theme at the Chapelle Saint-Vincent-de-Paul de Blois (17C).  In gratitude for this long-awaited son (Louis-Dieudonné, the future king Louis XIV), king Louis XIII vowed, in 1638, to dedicate “his person, his state, his crown and his subjects” to the Virgin and to renew this vow every year at the feast of the Assumption. In Carl Vanloo’s painting, King Louis XIII,  has his vow, exposed to the Virgin the drawing of the façade of the church which he had promised to edify. This will be Notre-Dame-des-Victoires.

The first crowned statue in France is that of this basilica, on 9 July 1853 at the request of Pope Pius IX in gratitude for the grant of Rome by the French. The organ was executed by Lesclop, factor of the 18C and the buffet by Louis-Alexandre Reigner, Master Carpenter in Paris and member of the Académie Saint-Luc since 1735. The buffet, made of wood carved and decorated in the mass, consists of a large body with five turrets and a positive of three back turrets. It has decorations in bas relief and in round hump, including vases, trophies and musical instruments; The central turret is crowned by an angel who holds an open book on his knees. The light asses of the turrets are adorned with heads of cherubs at mid-body. It dates from 1739.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and recommended are:

The official Basilique Notre Dame des Victoires:

The Paris tourist office on the Basilique Notre Dame des Victoires:

Enjoy Paris ,a lot more to see than on many travel books. And the story is not over yet because Paris is eternal. Hope you enjoy the post on the wonderful Basilique Notre Dame des Victoires!

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

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