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A solidly imposing hunk of Gothic architecture
Église Saint-Eustache has been on my 'Must See' Paris list for ages, so I was delighted to have the opportunity to address this oversight on my most recent visit.
My love of Gothic architecture is no secret, so the fact that it would appeal to me was beyound question. However, I was quite surprised as how different it was to many of Paris' earlier Gothic churches in that this has proportions that are substantial and slightly squat rather than soaring, which gives it almost a hulking presence. So, although it shares flying buttresses and other key elements in common with other Gothic masterpieces, I found it a slightly menacing structure, a place where where it would be easier to believe in a God of might and vengeance, rather than a God of love and forgiveness.
Anyway, enough of the fanciful imaginings, and back to the basics. The church was named in honour of St Eustacius, who was a Roman general who was martyred - along with his family - by being burned alive for converting to Christianity. In Gothic terms, the structure is quite late - only having been constructed between 1532 and 1632 (although there has been a church on the site since the 1220s) and, as a result, also reflects Renaissance influences. It is a church that has played a pivotal role in the lives of so many historical figures - the christenings of Madame de Pompadour, Cardinal Richlieu and the playwright Moliere, the funeral mass for Mozart's mother and the first communion of Louis XIV - and yet along with offering its services to the nobility and glitterati, it also ministered to the spiritual needs of the working class traders who plied their trades for centuries at the adjacent fresh produce of Les Halles until the late 1960s.
I personally don't find the interior as attractive or distinguished as the exterior - although others would probably beg to differ - although I do appreciate that one of the massive doors is kept open (although sealed with a glass door) to light up what would otherwise be a somewhat gloomy exterior. To my shame, I missed the Keith Haring memorial to 1980s AIDS victims in one of the side chapels because I hadn't done my research in advance and didn't realise that it was there - but I was absolutely enchanted by the whimsical cartoon-style monument to the former Les Halles traders in another of the side chapels.
St Eustache lays claim to the largest pipe organ in France, and thus is often the venue for classical concerts: watch posters and other media for updates.
Also don't miss out on the lovely public space and excellent kids' play area located on the south side of the church from where this photo is taken - a wonderful place to catch up with friends, have a picnic lunch or just to recharge your batteries after a hard day's sightseeing!
Church of Saint Eustache
One of the unmistakables churches of Paris, a must when in town, first the usual ,schedules
open Mondays to Fridays from 9h30 to 19h, Saturdays from 10h to 19h15 and Sundays from 9h15 to 19h15 for free
Then some history of this wonderful church:
The Saint Eustache Church has its origins at the beginning of the 13th century. A chapel dedicated to Saint Agnes was the first building built. A crypt of that name is still adjacent to the Church on the western side. This Chapel would be the gift of a bourgeois of Paris, Jean Alais, who would have it built in recognition of the right of the King Philippe Auguste had granted to levy a penny on each basket of fish arriving at les Halles.
From 1223, St. Agnes was established as a parish and took the name of St. Eustache. The most likely reason for the new name would be the transfer of a relic of the saint Eustache martyr in the new Church, relic until then held by the Abbey of Saint-Denis. King Philippe VI retained her Royal protection, especially for the Magdalen brotherhoods that are ensured the mass. Just before his death in August 1483, Louis XI the confirmed in testament. In 1532, it was finally decided to build a church worthy of the heart of Paris. The foundation stone of the present building was laid on 19 August of the same year by Jean de bar, Provost of Paris. Built in a Gothic style in full Renaissance, the Church produces a harmonious architectural character where antique Greek and Roman columns meets even rows of the middle ages.Its construction was slowed by frequent problems of financing. René Benoist, curé de Saint-Eustache Church in 1569, acquired such influence over the parishioners that he was nicknamed the 'Pope of les Halles'. In 1578, he did print a query to obtain relief for the completion of his Church. Begun in 1532, it could not be completed, and Benoist himself had not yet started to work, despite the "great influx of people than any parish church of France.
After several interruptions, the Church was completed in 1633 and dedicated April 26, 1637 by Monseigneur de Gondi, Archbishop of Paris.The old Western facade of St. Eustache, whose towers remained unfinished, was weakened by the construction of two chapels commissioned in 1665 by Colbert. The underpinning to be resumed, it was decided to rebuild. A new project was designed by Louis Le Vau, which Colbert had to secure funding.It was not yet that on May 22, 1754 that the Duke of Chartres laid the first stone. Jean Hardouin-Mansart de Jouy was the architect. Its construction dragged due to lack of means, and the initial draft, which included two two-storey towers connected by a gallery, was transformed by the heavy pediment which crushes the facade.Architect Mehta finally completed execution. The right Tower remained unfinished as it is seen today.
The church is 105 meters long by 43,5 meters wide and its highest is at 33,5 meters. Some of the illustrious by here were Richelieu, Molière, Jean-François Regnard and Madame de Pompadour were all baptised here. Colbert is buried here in 1683 as well as Scaramouche, Rameau, François de Chevert, admiral de Tourville, Voiture, Vaugelas, Marivaux, Montesquieu, Mme de Tencin ; and the funerals of La Fontaine, Mirabeau , of the mother of Mozart, and Anna Maria Pertl,were held here. The Sully and Pomponne wre married here.
Impasse is the parrish entry and rue du jour at pl du jour is the public entrance.
- Historical Travel
- Religious Travel
Unexpected tribute to the former 'Belly of Paris'
Of all the artworks that I expected to find lurking in a side chapel of the imposing Gothic hulk of Église St-Eustache, I can say with absolute honesty that this technicolour cartoonlike-tribute to the market traders of the Les Halles fresh produce market wasn't one of them!
The city's wholesale fresh produce market of Les Halles was located for centuries adjacent to St Eustache until it was relocated to more spacious and ergonomically designed quarters in Rungis in the Parisian suburbs in the late 1960s. This would undoubtedly have brought about quite a change in the neighbourhood - probably quieter and more genteel but less vibrant - and I found it touching that its colourful past would have been commemorated in this manner.
I regret that- despite my best efforts - I have been unable to discover anything else about this sculpture. If you are more knowledgeable on this sculpture and would care to address my ignorance so that I can upgrade this tip, then I'd be absolutely delighted!
Update: Having perused pfsmalo's utterly brilliant off the beaten track tips on his Paris page, I discover that this sculpture is by Raymond Mason, who also was responsible for a bronze sculpture called 'La Foule (The Mob)' close to the Jardin des Tuilieries. Follow this link for more information:
Raymond Mason's 'La Foule'
Saint-Eustache is a church built between 1532 and 1632.
I don't remember where I read that:
"It is another Parisian gothic gem. The church's reputation was strong enough of the time for it to be chosen as the location for a young Louis XIV to receive communion. Mozart also chose the sanctuary as the location for his mother's funeral. Among those baptised here as children were Richelieu, Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, future Madame de Pompadour and Molière, who was also married here two decades later. The last rites for Anne of Austria, Turenne and Mirabeau were pronounced within its walls.
Situated in an area of Paris renowned for fresh produce of all kinds, the church became a parish in 1223, thanks to a man named Alais who achieved this by taxing the baskets of fish sold nearby. To thank such divine generosity Alais constructed a chapel dedicated to Sainte-Agnès, a Roman martyr. The construction of the current church began in 1532, the work not being finally completed until 1637. The name "Saint-Eustache" refers to Saint Eustace, a Roman general who was burned along with his family for converting to Christianity. Several impressive paintings by Rubens remain in the church today. Each summer, organ concerts commemorate the premieres of Berlioz's."
Anyway, the historic references are only one more note in a very interesting visit.
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
A wonderfully family-friendly public space
The venerable Gothic pile of St Eustache is situated adjacent to what used to be the fresh produce market at Les Halles. The market was sadly relocated to the suburbs in the early 70s, and replaced by an underground shopping complex of staggering monstrosity which at the time of writing (October 2011) was mercifully being redeveloped into something that will hopefully be more tasteful and in keeping with its surroundings.
Anyway, despite all this disruption, the square by St Eustache remains a remarkably laid back and amenable spot that provides a surprisingly family-friendly retreat from the surrounding urban hustle and bustle. The square is dominated by Henri Miller's colossal sculpture 'l'Ecoute' (The Listener) and is bordered by an amphitheatre arrangement of semi-grassed terraces that are ideal for picnicking, as well as an excellent adventure playground.
Saint Eustache - a solemn place
When I think of my visits to Saint Eustache, the Da Vinci Code comes to mind. It is not fair I know because the church has been significant because of other occasions. I read from Wikipedia that Louis XIV received his communion here, Mozart's mother and Anne of Austria's last rites were given within its walls, etc.
Before going inside, enjoy looking at the church (during warm days, from the benches outside where Parisians sit down and relax). I find the Gothic features breathtaking. The church has many gargoyles. The windows are beautiful when observed from inside (the inner architecture is of renaissance style).
The church stands 33.45 meters tall, it is said to house the largest pipe organ in France. Behind the church are coffee shops which are worth a visit.
Opening hours according to its Website in May 2011:
Monday to Friday: 9:30 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Saturday: 10:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Sunday: 09:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Considered one of the most important churches in Paris, Église Sainte-Eustache was the royal chapel from the 17th century until la Révolution. Construction work on this architectural masterpiece began in 1532, after its older predecessor was demolished to make way for a grander church, and concluded over 100 years later. Although the façade is Neoclassical, with a small Renaissance-style bell tower, the interior and rear of the church are an astonishing fusion of Renaissance and Gothic styles. A second tower, on the right hand side of the façade, was never completed and gave the façade a rather awkward lopsided appearance. Had the second tower been completed, the façade might have resembled that of Saint-Sulpice on the Left Bank. The impressive interior of Église Saint-Eustache rises to a dazzling height of 33 metres and is 105 metres long (see next tip for a description of the interior). Sainte-Eustache is located next to les Halles, the ancient Parisian marketplace.
- Historical Travel
Église Saint-Eustache - Interior
The massive interior of Église Saint-Eustache is nearly as impressive as the Notre-Dame de Paris. It measures 105 metres in length by 43 metres in width, and rises to a lofty 33-metre height. It consists of five aisles, flanked by richly decorated side chapels, and harmoniously blends Renaissance and Gothic styles, rarely seen elsewhere. The rib vaulted ceiling is quite remarkable, while the pipe organ is the largest in Paris. The church was consecrated in 1640 after just over a century of construction work, and it became the royal chapel thereafter. It was the site of royal and noble baptisms, weddings, and funerals.
- Historical Travel
Church of St. Eustache, 1st.
For my money, one of the loveliest exteriors of Parisian churches, St. Eustache towers over the northern side of "Les Halles" shopping mall. Originally the chapel of Ste. Agnes early in the 13th century, a short while after became St. Eustache. A crypt where from time to time concerts are held is still named Ste. Agnes, situated on the N-E wall along rue Montmartre. The decision to build a churth worthy of the name was taken and began in 1532. Financial difficulties were the bane of the church and was finished just over a century later and consecrated in 1637. Due to problems in the construction of the western wall it was decided to rebuild it in 1754. Once again financial difficulties were part and parcel of the work and even today the right hand or S-W tower on that side is still unfinished.
The church has had many well known names pass through its doors, among them the Sun King Louis XIV and Moliere were baptised here, and Colbert and Scaramouche are both buried here.
Reconstructed a few times, not least in 1989, the organ, with 8000 pipes is the largest in France, just in front of Notre-Dame and St. Sulpice.
On the N-E wall at no. 1 rue Montmartre, not far from the crypt can be seen a stone carving of a fish thought to be sign of Jean Alais, a fishmonger who became the first benefactor of St. Eustache, when he built the Ste. Agnes chapel.
Le Halles is the nearest metro.
Parisian gothic gem
The church’s reputation was strong enough of the time for it to be chosen as the location for a young Louis XIV to receive communion. Mozart also chose the sanctuary as the location for his mother’s funeral. Among those baptised here as children were Richelieu, Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, future Madame de Pompadour and Molière, who was also married here two decades later. The last rites for Anne of Austria, Turenne and Mirabeau were pronounced within its walls. Marie de Gournay is buried there.
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
Eglise Saint Eustache
I was lucky enough to have found accomodation for one year near this outstanding church! Saint Eustache has a prominent role in the community, and regularly holds soup kitchens for the homeless, and everyone. Located near Forum des Halles (big shopping area) and near the Quartier Montorgueil (amazing restaurants), most people do not visit Saint Eustache, and even though it would not be one of my top 10 things to do, if you are in the area, you must pay the church a little visit!
Keith Haring in Paris!!
In 1532 began the construction of this church and it took a century to finish it. Different styles as gothic, classical and renaissance are mixed up together. Whatever whatever but, the 17th century stained-glass window and over all, the piece of art made in gold by Keith Haring are, no doubt, part of the unforgettable memories I treasure about Paris.
Open every day, from 9.00 am to 7.30 pm (8.00 pm during the summer). Free entrance.
- Budget Travel
- Arts and Culture
Another spectacular church in Paris
Construction of this church began in 1532 and ended over a century later. Along with Notre-Dame and Saint-Sulpice, it is one of the biggest and certainly one of the nicest churches in Paris. While the architecture of Saint-Eustache is Gothic in style, its decorations and ornaments belong to the Renaissance period. Among some of its most famous works of art are two paintings by Rubens, and some of its most famous parishioners have included King Louis XIV, Mozart and Moliere.
I think that what impressed me the most about this church was the aerial effect created by the five high vaults (over 30 m tall) in the nave. I would definitely recommend a visit to Saint-Eustache to anyone interested in architecture, but I'd also like to point out that the church is surrounded by a nice little park and also by plenty of nice restaurants and cafes at the corner of rue Montorgueil and rue Montmartre, which makes it a great place to stop for lunch or drinks in the Beaubourg-Les Halles area.
- Religious Travel
Eglise St-Eustache is a very beautiful, Gothic & neoclassical church, constructed between 1532 & 1640. You'll know when yuo have arrived at this church because lying in front of it is a very modern sculpture of a head with a hand.
- Religious Travel
It's time to leave the area of Les Halles behind me, but before I do, there was one more thing on my wish list: St.Eustache! While preparing for my trip to Paris, I stumbled on some tips about this sculpture in front of the church of Saint Eustache, and it appealed to me right away. And of course I had to see it for myself!
The sculpture called "l'Ecoute", is enormous, and consists of a head with a hand in front of it. I really enjoyed this sculpture, which looks different, but fascinating from all angles. I captured this image on one of the rare moments that no one was sitting on the hand, hiding behind it, or posing in front of it. It certainly is a popular piece of art for both kids and adults! Somehow it captures the imagination of all and makes it is irresistible for people to be part of this sculpture. But 'empty' with no people on it or around is how I liked this statue, created by Henri de Miller, at its best.
In the additional photo you can see the sculpture including people, which shows the real proportions of the statue. And yes, it is enormous! Don't miss having a look at it when you are in the area, I don't think you'll be disappointed. The square "Place René Cassin", where the statue is located, is also a popular area for people to take a break from their sightseeing tours, just to have a coffee, a sandwich or simply to rest the feet a bit. Long cement benches surround the square, and the lively atmosphere of this area makes it quite an enjoyable place to sit down for a few minutes.
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