Somehow in all our trips to Paris we hadn't visited the inside of the Pantheon so we decided to do it. On the way we walked past St. Etienne du Mont church and couldn't resist going inside. It was a gorgeous church and we were there on a sunny day so the sun coming through the stained glass windows cast glorious colored reflections on all the white stone interior.
There were two special exhibits in the cloisters. One was stained glass and was beautiful, particularly because it was set at eye level and you could get right up next to it and really examine it. If you've noticed, many artists in stained glass put contemporary street scenes in small panes that normally can't be seen in a church, but when you are right there, they are easily visible and great fun. It's almost like a photograph of medieval life.
The other exhibit was paintings by a local school group of health related services. I think it may have been a fund raiser, but the kids' art was wonderful. It was so refreshing and honest; we loved it.
This is a great stop on the way to the Pantheon or a side trip from the Luxembourg Gardens. It's on Place Sainte-Geneviève.
The Pantheon, built after the French Revolution to replace the ancient church on the site that the Revolution had destroyed, saw its purpose changed when it was chosen to be the last resting place of the great men of France - and a cold and formal place it is, suitably full of its own importance as much as the importance of the men who lie entombed there. It's built on the site of a great pilgrimage destination - the tomb of St Genevieve - the patron saint of Paris, but she isn't included in the pantheon of the great and the good lying here.
Not that there's a lot left of the poor lady - the anti-religion fervour of the Revolution saw her mortal remains burnt in 1793 and her church destroyed - all that the ornate sarcophagus we see now contains is what was left of the original burial casket. That you'll find in the church in the square behind the Pantheon, Saint Etienne-du-Mont, and it's is a different matter altogether from the great edifice of the Pantheon. A Gothic fantasy (though of 16th century construction) it is as feminine a building as the Pantheon is masculine. As well as the saint's "tomb", there is some particularly beautiful stained glass here, and an extraordinary rood screen with a marvellous stone spiral staircase.
Other notable burials at St Etienne are the 17th century men of letters and science - Jean Racine and Blaise Pascal.
Metro: Cardinal Lemoine
Closed Mondays in July and August. Otherwise the church is open every day but it is closed for quite long periods in the middle of the day so you would do best to time your visit for mid-morning or late afternoon.
This church is a pleasant respite from the bustle of the Latin Quarter. Of interest is the carved marble rood screen.
This is the church I had chosen to attend mass at this last visit, but the fates conspired! I did drop in during the daytime and saw this prayer service led by the nuns.
When you are headed for the Pantheon or that little wine bar nearby it is easy to ignore this church. Don't.
Saint Genevieve, Blaise Pascal and Jean Racine are buried there -- but historically the most important for Paris is Saint Genevieve. For a brief account of her history visit the website below.
I have actually never heard of this catholic church until I've wandered one day in the 5th arrondissement with a friend. It's around 10 min walk from Pantheon. The address is 1 r St Etienne du Mont 75005 PARIS .
This is one of the most beautiful church I've seen in France, mainly because of the jube. It's the only church in Paris that has a jube and it's really beautiful. I would have liked to take a picture of it but it was forbidden to do so.
This church is mainly dedicated to Sainte Genevieve, the protector of the city of Paris. Inside the church, there are a few panels that explain the origins and history of it.