The Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois Church

The Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois Church got its name from a man who was a bishop at Auxerre during the 5th century. A previous church was destroyed by the Vikings during the 9th century, a second one from the 11th century was replaced by the present one during the 12th and 13th centuries – of course with a number of additions and modifications during the following centuries.

The church is situated very close to the Louvre and has always been some kind of a royal church. It became known in history because of the Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in 1572, when the bell, named “Marie” – still there – rang at midnight to announce the beginning of the killing of thousands of Huguenots, Protestants. The 12th century tower a spire in those days, which disappeared in 1754.

Here we can see how and where the church appears on a map from the Saint Bartholomew Massacre year. We can see that the Louvre didn’t look at all like it does today.

A few years later, the now oldest still existing Paris bridge, Le Pont Neuf, had been constructed, the Louvre had got an aisle and part of the Tuileries Palace had been built.   

A picture from the 17th century shows the church with the tower spire. In 1834 there were still a number of buildings between the Louvre and the church. The Haussmann modifications of the city plan led also to the idea of opening space in front of the Louvre. In 1858 we can see the church standing a bit alone (also painted by Monet in 1867), but around 1858-63 the Town Hall of the 1st arrondissement, with an architectural front very similar to that of the church, and the Tower / Bellfry were added.

Here are some pictures from the exterior...

... and some from the interior.

I actually found the fading colours and decoration in the side chapels – they have not been renovated since the 19th century (at least) - quite attractive – see also the top picture.  


Eli said...

I have gone past this church many times whilst on buses and always wondered what it is called. Thank you for the answer!

Mystica said...

I think this church is absolutely gorgeous. Thanks for the history lesson and the pictures. We still without all social media!

claude said...

Très intéressant comme toujours !
Ta précédente publication aussi d'ailleurs.
Dans celle-ci coup de coeur pour le bénitier Ange.

Jeanie said...

It's fascinating to see how the architecture of the church has changed over time. Thanks, Peter, for introducing me to this and for all your work digging out the history as well!

lyliane said...

Je suis passée très souvent à coté, mais je ne me souviens plus si j'y suis entrée. Comme Claude j'aime le bénitier, mais aussi la Piéta.

Anonymous said...

When I saw that first photo, I thought it was a painting.
Love your photography!
Thank you, Peter.

Rakesh Vanamali said...

Gorgeous pictures. Such splendid photography!

Susie said...

Do you ever cry from seeing so much beauty? Blessings, xoxo, Susie

Studio at the Farm said...

Peter, I enjoyed this post so much. What a gorgeous building inside and out, and with such fascinating history!