Saint Sulpice Church - Eglise, Paris

4.5 out of 5 stars 33 Reviews

2 Rue Palatine, 75006 +33 1 42 34 59 98

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  • Saint Sulpice Church - Eglise
    by Maryimelda
  • Saint Sulpice Church - Eglise
    by Maryimelda
  • Saint Sulpice Church - Eglise
    by Maryimelda
  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Eglise Saint Sulpice - "Art Sulpicien"

    by breughel Updated Jan 4, 2015

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    Some like St Sulpice church, others not.
    In France when one speaks about "art Sulpicien" it has often a pejorative meaning.
    That's also what I felt after a second visit. The interior of the church is not really a highlight of religious art. I don't know what to say about the "Chapelle de la Vierge" from the 18th, maybe I better say nothing; it's so typically "Sulpicien".

    But let's look in the other direction where one sees one of the world's finest and most famous organs, constructed by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll in 1862. He used many materials from the church's earlier French Classical organ built by Clicquot in 1781. The sound and musical effects with five manual keyboards of this instrument are almost unparalleled.

    Presently the church is most known for references in popular culture. Dan Brown was mostly wrong with the Priory of Sion. After all the Da Vinci Code is a novel. Better as what concerns the literary value are the novels of the French writers like H. Balzac with " Splendeurs et misères des courtisanes" or J.K. Huysmans with "Là-bas".

    Finally I prefer the outside with the original architecture of the two towers (one hidden by works) and the beautiful fountain from 1847 by Louis Visconti

    St Sulpice - St Sulpice - Orgues. St Sulpice - the Louis Visconti fountain.
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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    Church Saint Sulpice

    by gwened Written Nov 20, 2014

    This is one of the classic churches of Paris, and lovely one indeed. The religious official site in French is here
    http://pss75.fr/saint-sulpice-paris/

    The Church is dedicated to Sulpice the pious, Archbishop of Bourges in the 7C. There was a Church here for many years before, when the construction of the wall of king Philippe Auguste in 1211, that was separating the area of the parrish and the ramparts cause a conflict between the bishop of Paris and the abbés of Saint-Germain.

    The current Church dates from about 1645 done plans started out by architect Louis le Vau (Versailles Vaux le Vicomte fame) ,and continue with several others. The work lasted over 130 years! until finally done in 1870,not only done in 1871 bombing by the Prussians destroyed the North tower.

    At the French Revolution, the church became the temple of reason, and the temple of the victories with the theophilanthropes where we celebrate the feast of the birthday of the punishment of the last king and under the directory fodder store and banquet hall. At that time, the physicist Claude Chappe settled, on each of the towers, an optical Telegraph communicating respectively with Fontenay and Villejuif!!

    The church of Saint-Sulpice is oriented in the usual sense East-West, is an imposing edifice of 120 meters in length, 57 meters in width, 30 meters in height under the central arch. It is after Notre Dame, the largest church in Paris!

    The large central pediment destroyed by lightning was never rebuilt. The North Tower was completed in 1780-1781. The South Tower, remained unfinished, as evidenced in the holes that the mark, that supported the wood scaffolding which was eventually removed due to its degradation. Saint-Sulpice has two towers of different architectures: the South tower completed curvilinear pediments surmounted by a circular area and the North tower consisting of a quadrangular triangular pediments and a higher upper part octagonal also circular. These towers, both crowned a railing of neo-Renaissance style generate thus, contrary to the initial project, an impression of asymmetry accentuated by their different height (73 meters the North and 68 meters the South Tower).

    The chapel of the Virgin is more baroque style has an altar dedicated to the Virgin, topped by a cupola rococo by Lemoyne in 1732 representing the Virgin Mary assumed into heaven on a cloud which supports, surrounded by angels, doctors and saints, saint Pierre to his right, saint Sulpice to its left; on the one hand, the fathers of the Church and heads order who publish his praises, on the other, Patron Virgin and Saint and in which an Angel distributes palms, and at the bottom, The murals each side are signed Carle van Loo.

    The transept of the Church houses a gnomon, measuring tool used in astronomy, which allows to precisely determine the position of the Sun, and therefore a period of the year. The device was installed at the request of the parish priest , eager to fix precisely the date of the March equinox, and therefore that of Easter date of the Christian calendar. It was installed in the 18C by the scholars of the Observatoire de Paris.

    The Chair of the Saint-Sulpice Church was executed 1788 from the drawings of Charles de Wailly, and given by the Duke of Aiguillon du Plessis Richelieu, cardinal Richelieu was made, former Minister of Louis XV and first Church warden of the parish. It is made of oak and marble, and considered a masterpiece of cabinetmaking and equilibrium (its base, in fact, only lateral stairways that support). The Chair has many symbols on the various parts that make up: Two wooden statues from Golden Tilia the left holding a chalice (symbol of the faith) and the right anchor (symbol of hope). Four reliefs in bronze with animals that represent the evangelists: a lion (for Saint Mark, whose the Gospel begins with the Ministry of Saint John the Baptist, whose speech sounds like the roar of a lion in the desert), a bull (for Saint Luke, whose the Gospel begins with the announcement of a son to Zechariah, priest at the temple), an Angel (or a man, for Saint Matthew, whose the Gospel begins with the human genealogy of Christ) and an eagle (which sets the Sun as Saint Jean fixed God in the person of Christ divine and human). An Abat topped a group (a woman and children) gilt representative charity, which the underside of the sky is decorated with a Dove products with extended wings, symbol of the Holy Spirit surrounded by rays of light. Currently the Chair is more used for sermons, preachers commenting on the texts of the liturgy since the drives Panel, near the altar.

    It has a wonderful organ, and five bells having the best or one of the best sounds of Paris. Many works of arts, paintings especially decorated the Church interior. All at the grand Place Saint Sulpice square one of the biggest in Paris with 120 meterswide and 208 meters long!

    Very nice indeed.

    Church Saint Sulpice the chair of Saint Sulpice and ceilings the nave of St Sulpice Pl Saint Sulpice and the fountain
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  • Maryimelda's Profile Photo

    The Imposing St Sulpice

    by Maryimelda Written Aug 6, 2014

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    It took me ten visits to Paris to finally see St Sulpice. My VT friend stevemt had recommended it to me and I have often "meant to go there" but somehow I never did. On my most recent visit however, I was in the company of Sally (beausoleil) who was guiding our little group of VT friends to her favourite restaurant in St Germain des Pres when I rounded a corner and was confronted by a huge and very imposing building that I had never seen before. Sally informed me that this was St Sulpice and so at long last I had found it. After a wonderful lunch not too far away, I returned with Mike (mikebb) and his wife Jill and was very impressed with what I found in this magnificent church.

    Here of course you will find the famous Delacroix Frescoes along with many many works of art too numerous to mention. The big attraction these days however since the advent of "The Da Vinci Code", is the meridian line which runs through the nave of the church.

    Sally also recommended that I attend Mass there during my stay in Paris to hear the famous organ in action. I took her advice and the following Sunday just before 11.00am I was privileged to hear this massive instrument with its 100 stops and almost 7,000 pipes being played by the renowned organist Sophie-Véronique Cauchefer-Choplin. Not only can you hear this wonderful music before and during Mass but after Mass if you care to stay on you will be treated to a wonderful concert as well.

    For lovers of magnificent churches and inspiring organ music, St Sulpice is not to be missed.

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  • CatherineReichardt's Profile Photo

    St Sulphice - as featured in the Da Vinci Code

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Aug 29, 2013

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    Oh dear, I really don't like this church. It is the second largest church in Paris - second only to Notre Dame - but the contrast between the architectural mongrel that is St Sulphice and the serene Gothic perfection of Notre Dame is, at least in my mind, both stark and unflattering.

    I spent a long time staring at St Sulphice to try and work out what architectural style to ascribe to it ... and, in desperation, consulted Wikipedia (which charitably describes it as an 'unorthodox essay', which must be architectural code for 'a dog's breakfast'). It tells me that it was designed by Giovanni Niccolò Servandoni with a "double Ionic colonnade over Roman Doric with loggias behind them unify the bases of the corner towers with the façade; this fully classicising statement was made at the height of the Rococo". That explains it then - 'Rococo' is dangerously close to 'Baroque' in my book, and I am violently allergic to both!

    I also dislike the church's interior (admittedly not quite as much as the exterior) but it does, however, boast one interesting feature: a gnomon. Much though this may sound like a resident goblin, it is in fact a device for calculating the dates of Easter. This is achieved through the alignment of a sunbeam shining through a lens set into one of the windows, a brass meridian line inlaid into the floor and an obelisk at noon on winter solstice (21 December) in a manner that I don't begin to understand. If this all sounds very much like mystic symbolism in the vein of Dan Brown novels, then it will come as no surprise to know that St Sulphice is the setting for one of the early scenes in the Da Vinci Code movie, although permission was refused for filming to take place here, so the setting was recreated using CG graphics. The mere thought of that hideous architecture in combination with Tom Hanks' unfortunate mullet haircut is just too much aesthetic overload for a soul to bear!

    And, finally, the million dollar question: who was St Sulphice anyway? Well, St Sulphicius (also known as Pius) was Bishop of Bourges in the 7th century.

    But I really like the square on which it stands ...

    P.S. Just to further endorse its 'unorthodox' credentials, you may be interested to know that the Marquis de Sade was baptised in this church.

    Update (October 2011): Our resident VT organist, dnwitte, informs me that St Sulphice is the place of pilgrimage for organists visiting Paris and also has the best resident organist in the city - maybe next time I should consider visiting blindfold???

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  • CatherineReichardt's Profile Photo

    The elegant Place St Sulphice

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Jun 7, 2013

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    Although I actively dislike the architecture of St Sulphice church, I do find the large square on which it is located much more to my liking. It has pleasing proportions in keeping with the grandiose proportions of the church and an equally large fountain to match, making it one of Paris' more imposing squares.

    The fountain is a nice piece of mid 19th century sculpture, and features a bishop at each corner (none of whom ever made it to cardinal). On a hot summer's day, the sight and sound of the water is particularly soothing, especially if you can bag a seat in the shade on one of the adjacent benches.

    Living in a city that has relatively few public spaces, I really relish the way that Europeans utilise parks and squares as a place to congregate and while away their leisure time. I imagine that the square would be especially lovely in late spring, when the horse chestnut trees are in flower (apparently the 'candles' on the ones in this square are pink rather than white).

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  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Fountain of St Sulpice

    by breughel Updated May 20, 2013

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    The monumental fountain of St Sulpice is of imposing size, 12 m high.
    The three lower basins have an octagonal form. The second is decorated with four lions holding between their legs the arms of Paris. From the third water flows in the two lower basins through a nice system of waterfalls.

    Above the basins stands a square construction with four niches for large statues of bishops which under King Louis XIV were famous as preachers. Two of them Bossuet and Fénélon are still in the memories of those who like me had to study their works at secondary school. Yes in those times we would read Bossuet and Fénélon at school and have fun at home reading Balzac!
    These nostalgic souvenirs just to say that this fountain is really beautiful, actually better than what can be seen inside the St Sulpice church.

    Fountain of St Sulpice.
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    Please don't mention the book...

    by sourbugger Updated May 17, 2013

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    St Suplice was always a fine place to visit, but is now even more firmly back on the tourist agenda due to the popularity of Dan Brown's book "The Da Vinci code".

    Whilst anyone with even a very basic theological knowledge would know that it is a load of complete twaddle, this has not stopped thousands being taken in by this elaborate con. Even more were no doubt taken in by the moronic film of the same name.

    Many like to visit this church, which is the venue for one of the book's central scenes. If you look in one of the transcepts there is a typed notice (not sure if it is still there) which refutes the idea that the church was formally a pagan place of worship, that the brass line running across the church is an ancient 'rose line', and the inter-linked 'PS' on the stained glass windows are not a reference to a mysterious ' Priory of Sion'. The notice can't even bring itself to mention the book by name.

    Whether you have read the book or not, the church is well worth a visit if you are in the Latin Quarter area.

    St Sulplice - the rose line ? Disclaimer in the church
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    Fontaine des Quatre Evêques: Fountain of 4 Bishops

    by goodfish Updated Apr 2, 2013

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    In the square in front of Èglise Saint-Sulpice is a very large mid-1800's fountain that commemorates four bishops: Bossuet, Fénelon, Massillon and Fléchier. It was designed by architect Joachim Visconti, and each of the four figures was sculpted by a different artist. Place Saint-Sulpice is a lovely little square with cafes nearby and benches for resting tired feet or having a bag lunch. As you can see, these young people chose the fountain itself for a little tête-à-tête.

    Fontaine des Quatre Ev��ques, Paris
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    Èglise Saint-Sulpice

    by goodfish Updated Apr 2, 2013

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    This 17th century baroque/neoclassical beauty was a church of note long before Mr. Brown figured it into his book. Only slightly smaller than Notre Dame, it was the place of the notorious Marquis de Sade's christening and Victor Hugo's wedding. The current structure, built on the site of a former church, dates from 1646-1745 with a facade that appears strangely out of balance due to a mismatched pair of towers: one was never completed. Interior restoration in the mid 1800's repaired damage occurring during the French Revolution when it was briefly a Temple of Victory, and additional interior and exterior cleaning and repair was performed and completed in the past decade.

    Highlights include:
    • One of the largest organs in the world with 6,500 pipes, 102 stops and five keyboards

    • Frescos by Eugène Delacroix

    • Beautiful Chapel of the Madonna designed by Florentine architect, Jean-Nicholas Servandoni, (who also designed the west facade) and sculpture of the Virgin by French artist, Jean-Baptiste Pigalle

    • Gnomon: an astronomical device that operates much like a sundial, determined the exact date of Easter each year, and was employed in several other French and Italian churches. This one gained some notoriety due to its fictional role in the Da Vinci Code.

    • Macabre tomb of curate Jean-Baptiste Languet de Gergy, commissioner of the gnomon, by René-Michel/Michel Ange Slodtz

    The church is open daily from 7:30 AM - 7:30 PM and hosts regular organ and music recitals. This link has concert information in both French and English:

    http://www.stsulpice.com

    This link for background about the church itself is only in French but online translation sites can help you figure it out:

    http://www.paroisse-saint-sulpice-paris.org/visite.aspx

    Please be respectful in dress and conduct, and do your looking about when services are not in process.

    Organ, Saint-Sulpice Nave, Saint-Sulpice Chapel of the Madonna, Saint-Sulpice Crucifixion, Emile Signol, Saint-Sulpice Tomb of Jean-Baptiste Languet de Gergy
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    Another Church in Paris with a fantastic organ

    by stevemt Updated Oct 19, 2011

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    St Surplice, is yet another well known church in Paris that has a musical history.

    It is one of the biggest churches in Paris, with one of the biggest organs, frequent concerts are held here.

    The church itself is old and imposing.

    Great to visit and look around

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    More than the Da Vinci Code

    by gordonilla Written Aug 28, 2011

    After seeing the church feature in the film " The Da Vinci Code" starring Tom Hanks, I thought it was about time that i visited the church in reality. There was a service on going during our visit. It was fairly full.

    The church is large and architecturally impressive.

    Exterior (1) Exterior (2) Interior (1) Preaching Interior (2)

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  • pfsmalo's Profile Photo

    St. Sulpice church. 6th

    by pfsmalo Written Jun 12, 2011

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    What was not my surprise a couple of weeks ago when walking around by St. Sulpice and noticing that the scaffolding was finally down. The north tower is now showing nice and shiny. I'm afraid that the south tower need doing, still it does look much better. Begun in 1646, but only finished in 1745, it is the second largest church in Paris, slightly smaller than Notre Dame. Victor Hugo was married here and the Marquis de Sade and Charles Baudelaire were both christened in the church. Another claim to fame is of course the "gnomon and meridien line" that were featured prominently in the book and film "The Da Vinci Code". Whilst making a good book there is not an ounce of truth in saying "it was once a pagan church and the meridien line has never been known as the Rose Line". Neither is it in line with the meridien that goes through the Observatory. With the use of a small hole in the south window and using the sun, one could determine the time of the Spring and Autumn solstices and other scientific purposes such as determining the Earth's orbit by following the position of the pinhole point of the sun on the brass line.

    The lovely fountain in the square is by Visconti and has four sculptures of Louis XIV's bishops.

    Nearest metro is St. Sulpice.

    Visconti's fountain with the new facade behind. Nice view of the fountain. The obelisk or Small pinhole in the south window. Wallace fountain and south tower.

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    St. Sulpice

    by TexasDave Written Jan 4, 2011

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    Made more famous by the movie "The da Vinci Code" this church started to be built in 1646 and was finished more than 100 years later.
    In 2010 it was undergoing an extensive renovation, only the North tower exterior had been finished. At the base of it there appears the Tetragrammaton, 4 Hebrew letters representing the name of the Creator, translated as Jehovah in English.

    Fountian of the Four Bishops
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    Église Saint-Sulpice

    by MM212 Updated Nov 25, 2010

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    The second largest church in Paris, Église Saint-Sulpice is located near boulevard Saint-Germain. It is thought that a church was first built on this site in the 10th century, though construction of the existing Saint-Sulpice began only in the 17th century, on the site of a previous 13th century structure, and was not completed until well into the 18th. The interior of the church contains famous works of art by Eugène Delacroix. Although not visible in the attached photographs, the symmetry of the beautiful façade with its arches and ionic columns is broken only by the mismatching towers, the most famous feature of the church. For several years now, Saint-Sulpice has been undergoing a restoration project, which seemed to be nearing completion upon my visit in Nov 2010 (see attached photo). Église Saint-Sulpice was also recently made famous by the best selling novel, the DaVinci Code

    Saint-Sulpice - Nov 2007 Saint Sulpice during restoration - Nov 2007 Interior of Saint-Sulpice - Nov 2007 Ionic columns of the fa��ade - Nov 2007 Ongoing restoration of Saint-Sulpice - Nov 2010
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    What Is a Gnomon?

    by riorich55 Written May 22, 2009

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    No, I'm not going to get into the whole DaVinci Code aspect of Saint-Sulpice. In fact I'm not even going to get into much of what is common knowledge and can be found in many sources about Saint-Sulpice. Instead, I'll relate a little story first of how we discovered Saint-Sulpice and then answer the question from the title of this tip. If you're ready let's go.

    After having spent a long day walking up the steps to Sacre Coeur, walking through and around Sacre Coeur, catching the Metro to somewhere near (we thought) the Musee d' Orsay, spending 3 hours at the Musee d'Orsay and then walking through the St. Germain area some more it was almost 8:00 p.m. we were getting hungry (I guess we had skipped lunch somehow). Wandering the streets looking for one of our guidebooks recommended places we came by this fairly large structure with lights shining on it and being the tourist we were looked to see where we were on the map and guess where we were? Too late to tour we snapped a couple of pictures and then went to eat at Cafe de la Mairie (another tip).

    Now the word definition and a little history lesson: In 1727 Languet de Gergy, then priest of Saint-Sulpice, requested the construction of a Gnomon. The gnomon is - ready for this - the part of a sundial that casts the shadow. Gnomon being an ancient Greek word meaning "indicator" or one that reveals. It was put in the church as part of its new construction, to help determine the time of the equinoxes and hence of Easter.

    Constructed by the English clock-maker and astronomer Henry Sully, the gnomon was also used for various scientific measurements: This rational use may have protected Saint-Sulpice from being destroyed during the French Revolution where for a brief time St. Sulpice was known by the revolutionaries as the Temple of Victory.

    Side View of St. Sulpice Stain Glass Window From Outside
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