Monday, August 10, 2009

Église St-Paul-St-Louis, Paris

In the 4th district in Paris, in Le Marais, is the beautiful Baroque Jesuit church now known as the Église St-Paul-St-Louis. The chronology at the conclusion of this entry shows some of the troubled history this church has endured. The Jesuits purchased the property in 1580 but were briefly expelled from France (1595-1603). Returning to France, they procured more land and resources. Louis XIII laid the cornerstone in 1627. None other than Richelieu said the first Mass in the presence of the royal family (1641). In 1764 the Jesuits were once again proscribed, and several decades later, the church was stripped of its remaining wealth and treasures as a consequence of the Revolution (1792), when it was dedicated to the cult of Reason as an expression of the Age of Enlightenment. Nearly 250 years after it was constructed, St-Paul-St-Louis was finally reconsecrated as a church (1872) and now serves the city as one of its local parish churches.

The dome soars to 195 feet, foreshadowing future architectural structures in the city.

Clean classical architectural lines run through the nave and side aisles.

Busy Baroque decorations adorn arches, while sculptures and paintings preserve poses and attitudes favoured by the Jesuits in the 17th century.

To learn more about the chronology of the church, click on the following photograph.