17.1.11

The Church of Saint Roch

The present Church of Saint Roch replaced previous chapels and churches and was built during a long period over the 16th, 17th and 18th century with a number of architects involved. It was finally completed in 1754. The design is a bit special with a series of chapels in succession.

Apart from the fact that the church is beautiful, there are some points which may be highlighted. The Marquis de Sade got married here. Some illustrious people are buried in the church including Diderot and the Baron d’Holbach (see previous post about the “philosophers”), Corneille, the garden architect (Versailles…) André le Notre…

The church has also a special chapel dedicated to the deported during WWII, normally hardly seen inside a catholic church. 
Another, maybe less well-known personality buried here is Jean-Michel de l’Epée, a priest who around 1760 created the world’s first public school for the deaf. He did not invent the sign language, but it was somehow rather created by the teachers and pupils in the school and later much improved and simplified. He’s referred to as one of the fathers of deaf education.
A lot of concerts are given here, including at lunch hours all Tuesdays (free of charge).

Saint Roch is also known for an event which took place in front of it, in 1795, when Bonaparte (aged 26) led a troop which killed some 200 “royal rioters” on the steps leading to the church. This is known as a “Whiff of Grapeshot” and thanks to this Bonaparte was rewarded with the command of the Army of Italy a year later… thus an important step on his way to become Napoleon. You can still see the traces of the “whiff” on the front of the church. (I wrote about these and other wall "traces" in previous posts, see here and here.)



There are still some shops attached to the church building. One of them, very small, pretends to have been there since 1638. It was originally a shop where religious items could be bought, then, during some 200 years, a barber shop, now an antique shop.

40 comments:

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

Fabulous posting, Peter, and we have been waiting for your research and many photos. One other event to note: Yves Saint Laurent's funeral was held there with over 1000 people gathered in June 2008.

Wish that I was next door again waking up to those beautiful bells each morning. I have marked this post so I can link to it with my future posts and photos.

Bises,
Genie

Ruth said...

Beautiful post as always, Peter. St. Roch is very famous to me for another reason. My sister and I stayed at the St. Roch hotel across the street from it in 1997 (not the most glamorous hotel, but very convenient). Every evening, after many steps walked, we wearily came "home" to our place, walking by the church, hearing various groups playing music in practice: choir, organ, etc. As we got ready for bed and fell asleep, it was a tremendous lullaby. :)

Virginia said...

Oh goodie. You've done this post so now I can enlighten my readers by linking to you!!! :) Having this beautiful church across the street from our apartment last week was a delight. The bells that started tolling at 8:00am were a wonderful way to wake up.

BTW, YOU are the star on my blog tomorrow. Hope you approve!
V

Studio at the Farm said...

Wonderful post, Peter. Your photos inside St. Roch made me feel almost as if I was there! Thank you.

Karen said...

Great photos of another of my favorite churches. This was just blocks from where I stayed on my first visit. It's my favorite neighborhood in Paris.

Jack said...

Your posts are so interesting, Peter. Every time I visit I get a mini-education.

Owen said...

Ah, the endless riches of Paris, historic, art, religion, military, culture in general... all threads from the past which weave into the fabric of the city today.

V Rakesh said...

Wonderful! Reminds me of the Chapel in St. Aloysius College, here in India!

Olivier said...

cette eglise est magnifique, je connaissais pas toute son histoire (et je l'a connais pas encore tres bien, le temps que je traduise tout ;o)) )

ALAIN said...

St Roch, natif de Montpellier, doit regretter le climat du Languedoc.

Cergie said...

Moi qui ne suis pas de la prime jeunesse je me souviens d'avoir vu la basilique d'Epinal avec des échoppes adossées mais cela remonte au siècle dernier.
Cette église est-elle en bon état ? Ce matin j'ai lu dans "La Croix" que nous recevons par portage ainsi que "Le Parisien", un article très intéressant sur la rénovation des églises de Paris (et des lieux d'autres cultes) ; tu devrais te le procurer. Dans certaines il pleut même.

Trotter said...

So, the Divine Marquis married at St. Roch... It must have been quite a party... ;))

PS: Too busy to visit blog friends? ;)

Trotter said...

Thanks for the comment at Blogtrotter Two. Fortunately, I've made some other trips after that one to Aswan... ;)
Have a great week!

Thérèse said...

Interessant comme toujours, mais vais-je retenir? :)

Ola said...

Intersting story and beautiful interiors!

BLOGitse said...

Beautiful building, amazing paintings...

la fourchette said...

Bonjour from Aix en Provence...I found you through Virginia's blog (nice portrait!) and what a treasure trove you have. Add me to your many followers.

Starman said...

The thing I find most interesting about this church is that there are several that look just like it. I can think of at least three, and there are probably more that I haven't seen yet.

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Anne in Oxfordshire said...

An amazing post Peter, and to think that I have been so close to such a wonderful church . Most probably walked past it.

Thank you for your lovely comment .... YES it must be a MUST next time I come to Paris.. take care Anne

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

How wonderful that Virginia stayed so close to the lovely church too :-)

ParisBreakfasts said...

I've passed here many times...
Church of Saint Rock...
Very Baroque!

Hotel La Defense said...

Those photos, i feel like i'm really inside the Church of Saint Rock
Compliments.

caterpillar said...

The pictures are amazing....the architecture is magnificient, and the bit about Jean-Michel de l’Epée was something I didn't know...

Drew Benn said...

The photos are stunning. I love all the snippets of history that you attach to them. I don't know how you ever manage to find your way home living amongst such amazing history, architecture, art and culture... I'm still very jealous! Please keep more coming :)

PS

I think you should buy a guest house and take people on tours, I would definitely book a week to stay! haha

claude said...

Très belle Eglise, Peter, et quand enplus on lit un bout de son histoire, c'est top !
Samedi j'ai vu un reportage à la télé sur les église que certaines communes veulent détruirent car elles n'ont pas le financement pour les faire réparer. Dans une commune en Bretagne les habitants ont voté sa renovation et dans une autre l'église a été détruite au bulldozer. C'est une honte pour notre patrimoine. Ils ont construit à la place, comme disait un défenseur de ces Maisons de Dieu, une niche à chien d'une laideur pas croyable.

Cezar and Léia said...

This Church is magnificent, I love the first shot!
There are many artwork inside, so adorable spots there!
Wonderful post dear Peter!
hugs
Léia

Mo said...

Wonderful informative and very visual post as always.

Laurent said...

Virginia is right you're Parisian n°1 ! Thanks for this very intersting post.

Abraham Lincoln said...

A very elaborate set of photographs. Nice post, Peter.

Olga said...

Thank you for the beautiful documentation of the wonderful church.

Virginia said...

P,
I love that you and Laurent finally were able to meet. I loved meeting him as well. What a fun night that was sharing dinner with the two of you. Thank you both for sharing your Paris with all of us. Isn't Blogworld grand! :)
V

PS HE's got some photos he took across the tracks at the Metro that I 'm not sure I hope see the light of day!

Shionge said...

Thanks for the directory....I can see that it is a short walk from The Louvre :D

Nathalie said...

Bravo pour ce reportage.
L'implication de la religion dans la vie sociale et politique est un sujet intéressant - se souvenir des déportés de la 2ème guerre mondial est excellent.

FrancescPhoto said...

Excellent post!!! Salut!!

Francesc, Barcelona

http://balapertotarreu.blogspot.com

Sciarada said...

Ciao Peter, a church rich in history and interesting architecture!

JM said...

Hi, Peter! These are some fantastic shots of a beautiful place. The ceilings are incredible!

arabesque said...

i think this is quite a church with so much history. the architecture's stunning, esp the detailed ceiling and the sculptures.
and marquis de sade got married here?! why not! ^0^

ParisBreakfasts said...

I wonder if you are able to see this program over there?
PARIS: THE LUMINOUS YEARS
http://video.pbs.org/video/1690715934/

You would enjoy it I think
carolg

Penny Auction Bidding said...

OMG!! what-a-beauty. I've never seen such art. Keep sharing..