Saint Severin, Paris
St Severin is probably a church you will pass if you are staying in the Latin Quarter.
I found it interesting that historically it is such an important church. a church has been on that site since the 5th century, though with time it has grown and changed from its original Romanesque origins. It remains one of the oldest churches in Paris.
I found going to St Severin to be quite different from going to many of the famous churches in Paris. Why? well for one the interior is very dark, so not only is it hard to take pictures, i had a really hard time seeing the paintings in the side chapels well.
The stained glass windows are not as dramatic as the nearby Notre Dame or Ste Chapelle, but of course you have to remember that this was a parish church that served ordinary parishioners.
The first time I visited this church I came across it by mere chance, while walking from the Cluny Middle Ages museum (please see my tip on the THINGS TO DO section) towards Notre Dame.
This church is rather hidden; even though it's not far from Blvd. St. Michel and Blvd. St. Germain (in the Quartier Latin area), you cannot see it from far away. For that same reason I couldn't really make a very good picture of the outside (it's surrounded by smaller streets, one of them called the same as the church, so you can't really walk too far from it and get a good perspective without some other buildings/houses getting in the way).
It was raining when I walked by and I realized it was a somewhat big church so I decided to spend a few minutes inside. I was pleasantly surprised as the inside is quite big and the architecture (gothic) is very impressive. It was a bit too dark and there was a little mass going on, so I didn't take any pics back then.
Even though the decoration is rather simple, the building itself is gorgeous. There are many beautiful gothic churches and buildings around Paris but this one isn't very famous/popular and yet it's a really nice place to see. If you're around the area, take a peek inside this church and I'm sure you'll enjoy it. There are some maps where it is clearly pictured so you will find it easily. On my latest trip I took my husband there because I really wanted him to see this church, and this time I was able to take several pics. Besides, we were pleasantly surprised by an organ concert that was taking place at that time (Sunday 2 PM or so), so we listened to some music for free.
Another chance to get your nose and eyes off the floor or away from the wares in the souvenir shops. On the first floor facade you can see this old sign, perhaps dating from the early 13th century representing a swan and a cross. According to Wikipedia this could be a play on words for "The sign of the cross" as in French swan is "cygne". So," cygne de la croix"......
St. Michel or Cluny-Sorbonne are the nearest metro stations.
Nested in a maze of narrow streets, Saint Séverin., close from Notre Dame, was built between the XIIth and the XVth and still keeps a medieval feeling (if you don’t pay too much attention to the kebabs, fake greek, vietnamese restaurants and souvenir shops surrounding it ).
Once you are inside of the gothic style edifice, things are better : you can appreciate – since the church is not considered a 'must do' for mass tourism - some beautifull stainglasses and a peacefull cloister.
The best time to visit is -if you love music - during an organ concert (there is an excellent organ from the XVIIIth century).
1 rue des Pretres Saint Severin - 75005 Paris
Metro St Michel
Open: 11:00 am - 7:45 pm monday-friday; 11:00 am - 8:00 pm saturday; 9:00 am - 8:45 pm sunday
This is a church that is hidden in plain sight. There are so many churches to visit in Paris that we tend to glaze over. But don't miss this one! The chandeliers and the "Tree of Jesse" window are reasons enough to stop by. The organ dating from the mid 1700s, is one of the best in Paris. Frequent concerts are given. It is a quiet respite from the bustling nearby streets.
Church of St.-Severin: The church got its name after a hermit who lived in 6th century. The church deserves attention because of its pure Flamboyant Gothic style, which is not surprising given that it was finished in 16th century - just when the style dominated Europe. A great piece of work is the choir. Another point that merits a mention is a set of stained glass windows created by J. Bazaine - a modern painter. There is also a charnel house with a gabled roof. Go to 1 rue-des-Pretres-St-Severin (Latin Quarter), or phone 01 42 34 93 50