Saint-Pierre de Chaillot

I just moved to a different area of Paris which also means another parish. Of course, I hardly ever go to church, except for the beauty, the architecture… of the buildings. I thought I owed a visit to my new (catholic) parish church, Saint-Pierre de Chaillot.  

This imposing (almost “too much” ?) building from 1938 replaces a much more modest one (which by the way hosted the funerals of Guy de Maupassant and Marcel Proust). The name of the architect is Emile Bois. You can see how the church is squeezed in between rue de Chaillot and the Avenue Monceau. The idea was originally that the surrounding buildings should disappear, but… 

The Apostolic Nunciature is very close. The future Pope John XXIII was nuncio (the Vatican “ambassador”) in Paris 1945-53 and Saint-Pierre de Chaillot was of course his parish church.

The architecture, although with some Roman and Byzantine influence, is however very much “1930”. Especially the tower is imposing, once again and in my mind, a bit “too much”, but we must remember that our appreciation of different periods in art and architecture varies very much with time.  

The creator of the facade – representing the life of Saint Peter - is Henri Bouchard (1875-1960), who has left a number of sculptures also on other facades in Paris.

Difficult to get decent pictures from the interior… dark and some blending spot lights. The frescoes by Nicolas Untersteller (1900-1967) look better in reality than on my photos.

The fresco in the cupola is by Pierre-Henri Ducos de la Haille (1889-1972) who also among a lot of other works a few years earlier had decorated the interior of the ocean liner “Normandie”, by many considered as the greatest of ocean liners, several times having the “blue riband”, but with a sad end (fire during transformation to a US troopship and capsized in the NY harbour).  

The organ (which we can see also on the top photo) was added as late as during the 1990’s – the first great organ newly installed in a Paris church since more than 100 years.  It’s obviously an excellent instrument and there is an organ festival held in the church every two years.  


Jeanie said...

Thanks, Peter, for this walk through your neighborhood and to this lovely church. The organ image looks magnificent. I'm so glad you shared it with us.

It's Thanksgiving here in the U.S. today so I will extend the greetings across the pond with all good wishes and thanks for all you bring us.

Anonymous said...

Looks like a wonderful neighborhood! And that impressive organ probably makes beautiful music...

Thank you, Peter