A 'seminary for foreign missions' had been set up on rue du Bac in 1637 by Monseigneur Duval, with an accord from pope Urban VIII, during the Counter Reformation. The seminary's oratory or chapel was built between 1683 and 1689, with interior decoration by Jacques Stella, Nicolas Poussin and Simon Vouet, and it was this chapel that operated secretly as a parish church for the area during the Revolutionary era when the area's actual parish church of Saint-Sulpice was shut down. In 1801 the chapel was attached to the church of Saint-Thomas-d’Aquin, which became the church for the Faubourg Saint-Germain, and the 'Missions étrangères' parish was officially recognised and split from the parish of Saint-Sulpice in 1802, at which time its curé was abbé Dessaubaz.
40 years later, in 1842, the parish was dedicated to St Francis Xavier. However, the chapel soon became too cramped for the seminarians and parishioners to share and the parishioners began construction on a new church in 1861 under abbé Jean-Louis Roquette (curé of the church from 1848 to 1889), headed by Adrien Lusson then Joseph Uchard and paid for by the Ville de Paris. The chosen site was in the corner of boulevard des Invalides and a planned boulevard right across the district towards rue des Saints-Pères that would meet the Seine level with pont du Carrousel. According to the principals of Haussmann's renovation of Paris, the new church would then form the end to this planned boulevard, explaining why its siting seems odd today, shifted over the boulevard and the hôtel des Invalides. Lusson began the works, but they were interrupted in 1863 and resumed under Uchard after Lusson's death. Work on the exterior was completed on 15 July 1874 and inaugurated at Easter 1875, at which point the interior decor was still incomplete. It was finally consecrated on 23 May 1894, the eve of Corpus Christi, in a ceremony presided over by François-Marie-Benjamin Richard, archbishop of Paris.References:
The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.
The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.
The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.
The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.
Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.
At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.
In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.