Sunday, 27 January 2013

Church on Sunday...Saint-Étienne-du-Mont,Paris

Staying in Paris this Sunday with a visit to Saint-Etienne-du-Mont (Saint Stephen on the mount) which sits behind its grand neighbour the Pantheon in Paris. Although dedicated to Saint Etienne the church has a greater part to play in the religious order of Paris.It was here that the remains of the Patroness of the city, Saint Genevieve, lay entombed awaiting the completion of what was going to be the most spectacular church  in the city. What is now the 'Pantheon' was intended as her new resting place built to replace a small church that had been nearby where her tomb had been since the sixth century. It was Louis XV who had it built in her honour and indeed she did spend time there after its completion in 1626 (it  had taken over 130 yrs to build) before being removed by the Revolutionists in 1789.The church was then dedicated to the Revolution, and  immediately secularised as the 'Panthéon'.

After the Revolution some bones and a few other relics of the saint were said to have been recovered and replaced in the sarcophagus they had once occupied within the church of Saint-Etienne-du-Mont - so in fact the Patroness of Paris has no 'official' resting place!

That said, her current location isn't just happens to bear some other saint's name!

It is built in a very flamboyant Gothic style and certainly has the 'wow' factor.

It has a rather elaborate rood screen separating the nave from the choir, probably  there to separate the riff-raff from the nobility, with spiral staircases on either side.(Much better pictures than mine here...)

It has a rather ornate altar worthy of its surroundings.

The organ

We actually didn't spend as much time in here as we;d have liked as guests started to arrive for a wedding although they showed no heed to us or the other tourist mulling about.

It was fitting that the church  dedicated to the saviour of Paris should also find a place for our own Joan - the saviour of France!

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