This is Paris: Church of St Etienne du Mont!!

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 Church of St Etienne du Mont!! Hope you enjoy it as I.

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. The 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.  And I admit need to come back for more here, on the list…

Saint-Étienne-du-Mont Church is located on the Sainte-Geneviève hill, 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, it 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 1540 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 Church of Sainte Etienne du Mont stands on the site of an abbey founded by Clovis, King of the Franks (466-511) and later dedicated to Ste. 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 Ste. 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. Ste. 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.


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 official Church Saint Etienne du Mont

The Paris tourist office on the Church Saint Etienne du Mont

This is one of the dandy churches of Paris that I would consider an off the beaten path site and a must to visit. Hope you have enjoy the post on the wonderful Church of Saint Etienne du Mont! St Stephens!

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

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