Saint-Augustin Church

A post about another church… Well, there are some 250 churches / religious buildings in Paris – with a domination of the Roman Catholic ones – some 140 … and so far this blog has only posts about some 50 (and my previous blog less than 10), so there is more to do.

The Saint-Augustin Church was built during the 1860’s in an area, then completely newly shaped by Haussmannian boulevards … One considered that there was a need for another prestigious church building. During the construction, it was thought that the Emperor Napoleon III should find his place of rest in this church. (Finally after the capitulation in 1870 and his death in 1873, he found his grave in England.)  

The architect, Victor Ballard (1805-74) – more famous for “Les Halles” – had a tough job: A triangular space between existing avenues and streets and a wish to have a cupola which should be visible from afar. We can see how the church actually has some unusual proportions. The official entrance side, behind the Joan-of-Arc statue, looks quite narrow. It’s when you turn around to the opposite side that you see how big the church actually is. (Part of the exterior has just been cleaned… on the Google Earth picture, the restoration is ongoing.)

The church architecture was actually quite criticized, perhaps also because Ballard was a protestant and that this is a catholic church. Many found the cupola to be out of proportion. (Please note the little red lantern on top of the cupola, some kind of a Ballard signature.)

Some details from the front side.

Looking at the interior, what is very distinctive is the use of iron, especially visible in the ceiling, something quite new for the period – of course a Ballard speciality with the experience from Les Halles.

The church is quite dark and some cleaning also of the inside would be welcome.

There are two organs, the main one was one of the very first church organs to employ electricity.


Maria Russell said...

And why is Napoleon III buried in England?
The fact that he died there does not mean he should have stayed there, right?
Last I heard, he was the one responsible for the transformation - among a million other great things - into what the capital of the French is today...
French logic 101:
1-A miracle worker like Napoleon III, to exile, in disgrace, of course...
2-A traitor like Bernadotte, to the Swedish throne...
Both of them born and bred in France!
Go figure!

Jeanie said...

Maybe it's out of proportion but I think it's lovely!

joanna said...

Amazing and extraordinary beautiful to look at. -- Architecturally the building in my humble opinion still is very successful even with the out of proportion design.