Eglise Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption – A few historical facts

The Eglise Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption is located in the prestigious Rue Saint-Honoré and near the Louvre.

Eglise Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption
Inspired by the Pantheon in Rome

The architect Charles Errard, the director of the Academy of France in Rome, drew the plans.

The church was built in the 1670’s on land the Jesuits bequeathed to the Sisters of the Assumption so they could build a convent.

The contractor in charge of the construction altered some of Errard’s original project, while the architect was in Rome.

It seems that a polemic developed around the architecture of the Eglise Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption, which was inspired from the Pantheon in Rome.

Errard’s plans were indeed largely influenced by the Italian Renaissance and Roman Antiquity!

However, the church was eventually built… not on the traditional Latin Cross plan, but on a centre-focused plan.

Eglise Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption
At Christmas

This architectural feature was considered too unconventional in the 18th century, even in Paris!

A peristyle supported by six Corinthian columns opens the imposing Classical facade.

It leads directly into a 24m wide rotunda.

The centre of rotunda’s coffered ceiling is painted with a 65m2 fresco representing the Assumption of the Virgin by the painter Charles de la Fosse.

The only source of light comes from the eight windows that open the lower section of this imposing rotunda.

The soft light they filter enhances the beauty of the many murals and paintings.

The church also boasts a late 19th century organ created by the renowned organ builder Aristide Cavaillé-Coll.

Eglise Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption, the Polish Church in Paris

The convent of the Sisters of the Assumption was demolished during the French Revolution.

The church, however, escaped demolition.

It was converted into a warehouse for theater sets; the paintings and various pieces of furniture were either sold or destroyed.

Eglise Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption - Cupola with Assumption of Mary by Charles de la Fosse
Cupola with Assumption of Mary by Charles de la Fosse

However, it was returned to the cult in 1802 and became the parish church of Paris 1st district.

The Eglise Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption was made available to the Polish community in Paris in 1844.

Many Poles indeed fled their country invaded by the troops of the Tsar of Russia.

They found refuge in Paris after the Warsaw November Uprising of 1830-32.

The interior of the church was renovated between 1856 and 1857.

What was left of the monastic buildings was pulled down in 1898 in order to build the Cour des Comptes (Court of Audit).

The church was restored in 1933, then from 1969 to 1971 and once more from 2012 to 2014.

The Eglise Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption is today essentially dedicated to the Polish Catholic Church.

It also serves as headquarters to the Mission Polonaise de France.

You’ll therefore come across a bust of Karol Józef Wojtyla – Pope John Paul II – in the church’s porch.

The Eglise Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption was classified Historical Monument on December 20, 1907.

Directions: 1st district – Place Maurice-Barrès on Rue St-Honoré
Metro:  Concorde on Lines 1,8,12
Coordinates: Lat 48.867440 – Long 2.325780

Photos Wikimedia Commons: Church exterior and headerInterior

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