Saint-Eustache

Paris, France

The Church of St Eustace was built between 1532-1632. St Eustace's is considered a masterpiece of late Gothic architecture. The church’s reputation was strong enough of the time for it to be chosen as the location for a young Louis XIV to receive communion. Mozart also chose the sanctuary as the location for his mother’s funeral. Among those baptised here as children were Richelieu, Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, future Madame de Pompadour and Molière, who was also married here in the 17th century. The last rites for Anne of Austria, Turenne and Mirabeau were pronounced within its walls. Marie de Gournay is buried there.

The origins of Saint Eustache date back to 13th century. The church became a parish church in 1223, thanks to a man named Jean Alais who achieved this by taxing the baskets of fish sold nearby, as granted by King Philip Augustus. To thank such divine generosity, Alais constructed a chapel dedicated to Sainte-Agnès, a Roman martyr. The construction of the current church began in 1532, the work not being finally completed until 1637. The name of the church refers to Saint Eustace, a Roman general of the second century AD who was burned, along with his family, for converting to Christianity, and it is believed that it was the transfer of a relic of Saint Eustache from the Abbey to Saint-Denis to the Church of Saint Eustache which resulted in its naming. Jeanne Baptiste d'Albert de Luynes was baptised here.

According to tourist literature on-site, during the French Revolution the church, like most churches in Paris, was desecrated, looted, and used for a time as a barn. The church was restored after the Revolution had run its course and remains in use today. Several impressive paintings by Rubens remain in the church today. Each summer, organ concerts commemorate the premieres of Berlioz’s Te Deum and Liszt’s Christus here in 1886.

The church is an example of a Gothic structure clothed in Renaissance detail. The church is relatively short in length at 105m, but its interior is 33.45m high to the vaulting. At the main façade, the left tower has been completed in Renaissance style, while the right tower remains a stump. The front and rear aspects provide a remarkable contrast between the comparatively sober classical front and the exuberant rear, which integrates Gothic forms and organization with Classical details. The L'écoute sculpture by Henri de Miller appears outside the church, to the south. A Keith Haring sculpture stands in a chapel of the church.

The Chapel of the Virgin was built in 1640 and restored from 1801 to 1804. It was inaugurated by Pius VII on the 22nd of December, 1804 when he came to Paris for the coronation of Napoleon. The apse chapel, with a ribbed cul-de-four vault, has at its centre a sculpture of the Virgin and Child of Jean-Baptiste Pigalle that the painter Thomas Couture highlighted by three large paintings.

With 8,000 pipes, the organ is reputed to be the largest pipe organ in France, surpassing the organs of Saint Sulpice and Notre Dame de Paris. The organ originally constructed by P.-A. Ducroquet was powerful enough for the premiere of Hector Berlioz' titanic Te Deum to be performed at St-Eustache in 1855.

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Address

Rue du Jour 2, Paris, France
See all sites in Paris

Details

Founded: 1532-1632
Category: Religious sites in France

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Robert Stephens (14 days ago)
If you can approach via the small lane ‘imp St-Eustache’ you see a glorious site - a hint of the church framed by the street buildings. Enter and you’ll be awed by the height , organ, variety of the windows. There are repairs in many of the side chapels but this doesn’t distract from the main view of the nave and the majesty of the building.
Revilosk8 (23 days ago)
Pretty church, inside very impressive. Appears bigger from outside. No ticket required free to enter
Chris Salt (32 days ago)
Beautiful church and free to visit. In here you’ll find one of the late great artist (Keith Haring) beautiful piece of artwork
Thao Do Le (3 months ago)
A magnificent and captivating church that you definitely cannot miss when you come to Paris.
Bob Plunkett (4 months ago)
In the afternoon music students are allowed to fire up the immense organ and stake the place with thunderous music. (Under supervision of course). It’s a bit of a crapshoot but try anyway. The massive church alone makes it worthwhile. And all free.
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