Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Église Notre-Dame de Bonne Nouvelle, Paris

The present Église Notre-Dame de Bonne Nouvelle ("Our Lady of Good News" = the annunciation), in the 2nd arrondissement in Paris, is the third structure to stand on this site.  The first chapel was built in 1551, only to be destroyed by the Catholic League during the siege of Paris by Henry IV.  Thirty-seven years later, in 1628, Anne of Austria laid the first stone for the second edifice.  This version was then so severely damaged as a result of the French Revolution that much of it had to be rebuilt.  The present structure was built in the then-popular neoclassical style between 1823-1830.  The architect, Étienne-Hippolyte Godde, had also designed the Église Saint-Denys-du-Saint-Sacrement

"Anne of Austria, by the grace of God Queen of France and Navarre, laid the first stone of the heart [apse] of this Church of Notre Dame de Bonne Nouvelles in the month of April of the year 1628."  (This version of the church was later damaged during the French Revolution.)

The church, like so many other Catholic churches, now has two altars.  The elevated altar used to be the sole altar, rather removed from the faithful in the sanctuary.  Since Vatican II, a second altar has been installed in the centre of the neoclassical nave, surrounded on three sides by chairs.  This is the sort of formation I wish all churches would use.

Surely added more recently, the heating grill is surely one of the most attractive I have seen in a church floor.

Now that microphones are available, the elevated elaborate wood pulpit is likely no longer necessary, though it would be interesting to see it being used.