Paris – Ile De France

Saint Gervais Saint Protais Church – Paris

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A church dedicated to  the twin martyrs Gervais and Protais

Saint Gervais Saint Protais Church is located on the eastern side of the Hôtel-de-Ville.

It stands on a hillock known as Monceau Saint-Gervais and replaced the Chapelle Saint-Gervais-Saint-Protais.

This chapel served the fishing village that developed on the small mound during the 5th century. This community was one of the few on the Rive Droite, which then was a vast marsh today known as Marais.

The chapel was dedicated to the twin Roman officers who were martyred under the reign of Nero (1st century AD).

Place Saint-Gervais, the church square was initially called Carrefour de l’Orme. It was named after the huge elm that marked its centre and was felled at the French Revolution.

It was enlarged and renamed during Haussmann‘s renovation of Paris of the mid 19th century.

The cemetery was decommissioned in 1765 to give way to Place Baudoyer, the square that serves the town hall of the 4th district.

Sarcophagi and burial artifacts dating back to the 1st century AD were discovered during construction works.

Saint Gervais Saint Protais Church, a fine illustration of French architecture

The Hôtel-de-Ville district developed in the 13th century and gave rise to a thriving community. The little Saint Gervais Saint Protais Chapel became obsolete, a larger church was much needed!

However, the construction of the new church dragged on from 1494 to 1660 due to the lack of funds.

Amazingly, this slow progress turned Saint Gervais Saint Protais Church into a perfect illustration of the evolution of French architecture.

Salomon de Brosse designed the French Baroque (Jesuit Style) facade with the three classical orders, the first of its style in Paris.

The 25m high Gothic Flamboyant nave and the 16th and 17th century stained glass windows are equally impressive.

Francois-Henri Clicquot built the organ in 1601. The wind-chests, reeds and two-thirds of its stops are original and turn the instrument into one of the oldest organs in Paris.

The composer François Couperin is among the prestigious organists who played in Saint Gervais Saint Protais Church, which is to this day a major centre of Sacred Music.

The church has two other, but smaller, organs which are located in the side chapels.

Directions: 4th district
Metro: Hôtel-de-Ville on Lines 1, 11
Coordinates: Lat 48.855509 – Long 2.354615

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