Monday, January 9, 2012

Église Saint-Nicolas-des-Champs, Paris

The Église St-Martin-des-Champs (Church of St Martin of the Fields) is in the 3rd arrondissement on the right bank of Paris, 0.2 kms from both the Hôtel de Ville and Châtelet métros.  The original chapel was quite modest, dependent on the St. Martin's Abbey (now the Musée des Arts et Métiers).  In 1184, the chapel was rebuilt as the principal place of worship for the newly-created parish for Beaubourg, people living around the Abbey and undoubtedly earning at least some of their livelihood by working for it.  Designed in the flamboyant Gothic style, it has been constructed in stages over a considerable time, with special building campaigns surfacing in the 12th, 15th and 17th centuries.  In 1793, in keeping with the truly bizarre thinking of the radicals leading the Revolution, this beautiful church was designated as the Temple to Hymen and Fidelity.  Once the excesses of the radicals were no longer tolerated, the church reverted to its original function, as a place of worship (1802).  Today, it is the headquarters for a very active parish.  During my visit in May of 2011, there was special interest in the progress of the canonization of John Paul II.