Beginning in 1653, the St-Gervais-et-St-Protais church employed and sheltered the Couperin family, one of the most famous dynasties of French musicians, for more than two centuries. On one side of the church, the home of the famous harpsichordists, organists, and composers still stands, with a plaque commemorating the Couperins' tenure in this place. The organ used by Louis and François Couperin still exists today inside the church. Built by the most famous organ builders of the time — François-Henri Clicquot, Louis-Alexandre Clicquot, and Robert Clicquot — it is a fine example of the French baroque style.
This church site is one of the oldest in Paris. Its existence at this place is mentioned as early as the fourth century. Dedicated to Gervasius and Protasius, the church was formerly the seat of the powerful brotherhood of wine merchants. It assumed its present appearance in the 16th century. Its façade was completed much later, however, about 1620.
The present church was begun in the Gothic style in 1494, the chapels of the apse were finished in 1530 and the transept in 1578. The doorway of the church was built in 1616–1620 by Claude Monnard in the classical style. Between 1600 and 1628, a second row of chapels was built on the north side including the golden chapel ornamented with painted woodwork.
The church was refurbished to coincide with Pope John Paul II's second visit to Paris with the continued installation of a number of new stained glass windows (Claude Courageux, earlier work by Sylvie Gaudin.
One side of the church is skirted by the Rue François Miron, where two of the oldest medieval houses of Paris survive, at numbers 11 and 13. They date, most likely, from the 14th century. One can see the exposed wood of the half-timbered structures.
On 29 March 1918, a German shell, fired by the long-range 'Paris Gun', fell on the church, killing 88 people and wounding 68 others; the explosion collapsed the roof when a Good Friday service was in progress. This was the worst single incident involving a loss of civilian lives during the German bombardment of Paris in 1918. Among those killed was Rose-Marie Ormond Andre-Michel, the niece and a favorite model of John Singer Sargent.References:
The Cloth Hall in Kraków dates to the Renaissance and is one of the city's most recognizable icons. It is the central feature of the main market square in the Kraków Old Town (listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978).
The hall was once a major centre of international trade. Traveling merchants met there to discuss business and to barter. During its golden age in the 15th century, the hall was the source of a variety of exotic imports from the east – spices, silk, leather and wax – while Kraków itself exported textiles, lead, and salt from the Wieliczka Salt Mine.
Kraków was Poland's capital city and was among the largest cities in Europe already from before the time of the Renaissance. However, its decline started with the move of the capital to Warsaw in the very end of the 16th century. The city's decline was hastened by wars and politics leading to the Partitions of Poland at the end of the 18th century. By the time of the architectural restoration proposed for the cloth hall in 1870 under Austrian rule, much of the historic city center was decrepit. A change in political and economic fortunes for the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria ushered in a revival due to newly established Legislative Assembly or Sejm of the Land. The successful renovation of the Cloth Hall, based on design by Tomasz Pryliński and supervised by Mayor Mikołaj Zyblikiewicz, Sejm Marshal, was one of the most notable achievements of this period.
The hall has hosted many distinguished guests over the centuries and is still used to entertain monarchs and dignitaries, such as Charles, Prince of Wales and Emperor Akihito of Japan, who was welcomed here in 2002. In the past, balls were held here, most notably after Prince Józef Poniatowski had briefly liberated the city from the Austrians in 1809. Aside from its history and cultural value, the hall still is still used as a center of commerce.
On the upper floor of the hall is the Sukiennice Museum division of the National Museum, Kraków. It holds the largest permanent exhibit of the 19th-century Polish painting and sculpture, in four grand exhibition halls arranged by historical period and the theme extending into an entire artistic epoch. The museum was upgraded in 2010 with new technical equipment, storerooms, service spaces as well as improved thematic layout for the display.
The Gallery of 19th-Century Polish Art was a major cultural venue from the moment it opened on October 7, 1879. It features late Baroque, Rococo, and Classicist 18th-century portraits and battle scenes by Polish and foreign pre-Romantics.