This aptly-named church (Saint Julien the Poor) is within sight of Nôtre Dame, but is as poor and plain and the cathedral is rich and elaborate.
They say this is the oldest church in Paris, dating from the 12th century. It was built on the site of an even older chapel dedicated to St. Julien, which was already in existence when the Bishop Grégoire de Tours stayed here in the year 580.
The church had its ups and downs through the centuries. During the Revolution in 1793 it became a salt-warehouse and wasn't used as a church again until 1826.
In 1889 Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre was turned over to the Greek-Melkite-Catholic denomination, who still use it today.
The church is also used for recitals and small concerts, typically two different concerts per evening, the first at 18:30 and the second at 21:00.
Second photo: Signs on the church fence, telling of the church's history and upcoming concerts.
Third photo: Velib' station 5009 on rue du Fouarre, behind the church.
Métro Saint-Michel, Maubert-Mutualité
GPS 48°51'7.23" North; 2°20'49.05" East
When I first saw the announcement for this concert I must admit I was a bit suspicious. It said in large letters: "HOMMAGE à MARIA CALLAS" followed in smaller letters by the name of a soprano I had never heard of, who was said to be "from La Scala in Milan." Meaning I suppose that she had sung there at some point, but I wondered what and when.
Of course I went to the concert anyway. The singer Lina Castellanza (whose real name I'm told is Marceline Roussel) did turn out to be more or less my generation -- well, not quite, but tending in my direction, so to speak.
Her bio that was distributed at the concert mentioned that she had once studied at the Opera School of La Scala, Milan, but not what or when she had ever sung there. It also said that she had studied for several years with the tenor Franco Corelli in Milan -- this being the Callas connection, since Corelli had often sung opposite Callas on the stage.
I later found out that Lina Castellanza and her husband, the pianist Herbert du Plessis, have been giving these concerts for several years at Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre -- since 2001 at least.
Well, since I did not go in with any sort of exaggerated expectations, I actually quite enjoyed the concert. She still has a strong voice and good technique, and sang several well-known arias by Rossini, Bellini and Verdi. I thought she did best with the excerpts from Bellini's Norma, reminding me of the performance I saw in Berlin a few years ago with Silvana Dussmann in the title role.
There were about 80 people in the audience, and the applause was quite enthusiastic.
Second photo: Lina Castellanza enjoying the applause.
Third photo: Selling CDs afterwards, and giving autographs.
Métro Saint-Michel, Maubert-Mutualité
GPS 48°51'7.23" North; 2°20'49.05" East
One of my favorite spots in Paris that I "discovered" is the rue des Barres area behind the flamboyant gothic church St-Gervais-St-Protais in the Marais. It's on the west side of the restaurant, Chez Julien (1 rue Pont Louis Philippe), passes behind the church along rue des Barres. The term "flamboyant gothic" refers to the flamelike spires on the cathedral. This intermediary architectural era bridged the gothic & Renaissance styles. Another great example of flamboyant gothic architecture in Paris is the Saint Etienne du Mont edifice near the Panthéon.
Supposedly Heloïse & Abelard, that tragic Middle Ages couple, stayed not too far from here at 12 rue des Barres. This is now an MIJE (LES MAISONS INTERNATIONALES DE LA JEUNESSE ET DES ETUDIANTS) youth hostel and it has a very ancient feeling.
I love it's stepped cobblestoned area; it feels very medieval. In the morning, I'd leave the Marais via rue du Pont-Louis-Philippe, turn the corner down the short rue Grenier sur l'Eau and then cut thru rue des Barres (admiring the gargoyles & the Gothic & Renaissance architecture) thru this wonderful picturesque area to go across the Pont Louis-Philippe.
At night I'd reverse this, pass thru this square watching the kids hanging out behind the church but would go to the end of rue des Barres, cut throught the Place Baudoyer where the police station was and make my merry way home.
According to Frommer's Irreverent Guide to Paris, "adherents keep up a round-the-clock vigil, kneeling silently in their robes on the cold hard stones before the altar". Enter the church via the rue des Barres entrance. Go at midnight!
Photos: Feb 06
In this street are a couple of oddities, not least the "Quasimodo" sitting in his cage overlooking the small place in front of the church. (See the tip for "Quasimodo and 52 rue Galande".)
No. 14 with the delicate lintle, with the scales of justice above the door was the home to Isaac Laffemas, a chief of police for Cardinal Richelieu in the 15th century. He was also known to have been the executioner for Louis XIV. The cellars of the house date from the 14th century and were used as a jailhouse in 1793 when the prisons were so full of heads to be chopped!!!!Under the other houses in the street are also cellars but whether they were used for the same grisly reason is not known.
Opposite, of course is the second oldest church in Paris, St. Julien le Pauvre. An ancient basilica and a cemetary stood here from the 6th century onwards, but this church was built from 1170 - 1240. It had spent many years in a state of abandon, also being used as a salt wharehouse during the Revolution, finally being restored in 1889 and taken over by the Melkite Order, a congregation of Eastern Catholics.
On the river Seine side of the church is the Square René Viviani with a great view onto Notre Dame. There is also the oldest tree in Paris planted here in 1901, a "robinier" , now supported by concrete beams.
This very small church in Quartier Latin is one of the oldest churches in the city. It is said that it was built somewhere in the 12th century. It is situated at the little square Rene Viviani that not only has the old church, but also shows you Paris' oldest tree, that dates from the 17th century.
The church has had strong bonds with the university of Sorbonne for many century, and many principals were chosen inside the churchwalls. Later, during the Revolution, the building was turned into a salt-storage and in 1889 it was given to the Syrian community of the city, who made their own Christian church inside.
Inside the church you can see several paintings and statues, of which a lot of them are of orthodox origin.
This is the little garden in the small square called Square Viviani behind the church, which you can see in the background. One of our happiest memories is of a concert we attended in the simple, Romanesque church. If you turn around you will see Notre Dame on the other side of the Seine!
The Church of Sainte-Julien-le-Pauvre (Saint Julien the Poor) sits on the Left Bank of the Seine in the Latin Quarter, just across the river from Notre Dame. Next to the church, a rather ordinary-looking living tree has had its hollow trunk filled with concrete and its branches supported by concrete posts. It is a false acacia (called Robinier or Robinia Pseudoacacia). The plant was brought from Virginia to Europe in 1601 and planted there by Jean Robin, herbalist to King Henri IV of France and director of the nearby Jardin des Plantes. He was the first to describe the plant and memorialized in its Linnaean name. It is the oldest tree in Paris. The vacant area north of the Sainte-Julien church was turned into a little park, the Square René Viviani, which opened to the public in 1928. There is an interesting fountain is in middle of the square.
The garden of St Julien le Pauvre, which, it is said, give the best view of a startlingly light Notre Dame (I first saw it in the summer of 1968 - 'it was a very good year').
The garden is on the Left Bank and is a nice haven.