Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Saint-Denis-du-Saint-Sacrement, Paris

Saint-Denis-du-Saint-Sacrement (St Denis of the Holy Sacrament, dedicated in 1835, Métro Saint Sebastien Froissant in the Marais Quarter) was the first parish church to be constructed in Paris after the Restoration of the monarchy.  Designed by Godde, its Neoclassical style recalls that used for Greek temples, though temples would have surrounded the entire edifice with the Ionic columns.  The sculpted frieze depicts Faith, Hope and Love.

After fleeing troubled Lorraine in the late 1600s, some Benedictines of the Holy Sacrament established their home at this site until they were displaced by the Revolution, which closed all monastic establishments in France.

The Concordat of 1801 allowed monks to return from exile, and in 1823 the City of Paris decided to construct a new church.  They appointed Étienne-Hippolyte Godde to design it in the Neoclassical style (elements of which were frequently used for North American banks, government buildings and libraries).  Columns were used in the interior, with flat ceilings over each side aisle and a barrel-vaulted ceiling for the nave proper.  The Neoclassical style revels in simplicity, clean lines, uncluttered appearance and constrained openness.

Looking toward the altar at the front of the nave
Looking toward the back of the north aisle (confessionals on the right)

High altar, statue of Mary on the right
Bass of a reflective brass statue of Mary

Skylight in the intricately designed barrel-vaulted ceiling in the nave

Chamber organ in aisle, up front by the altar (there is no balcony)

Electric chandeliers

Marble inlay in aisle flooring
Wood parquet floor with similar tones in chairs and wall

Front doors