Hospice des Enfants-Bleus
La Trinite Church is located in the bustling and densely populated district that stretches north of the Grands Boulevards.
It was built on the site of the hostel King Philippe-Auguste built in the late 12th century to accommodate pilgrims who reached Paris after the curfew.
This hostel, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, became an orphanage during the 16th century.
The Hospice des Enfants-Bleus (blue childrens) was named after the colour of the young residents’ uniforms.
These children, mostly from disadvantaged or dysfunctional families, learned a trade and were rehabilitated.
Oddly, the orphanage was pulled down at the French Revolution!
La Trinite Church dedicated to the Holy Trinity
The architect Théodore Ballu completed the church in 1867.
La Trinite Church, the Church of the Holy Trinity, is a perfect illustration of neo- Renaissance (Baroque) architecture.
The lavish style of the Second Empire indeed marked a revival of Ancient Greece and Rome architecture, known for their wealth of adornments, statues and sculptures.
La Trinite Church is no exception to the rule. Ballu wanted to create a gigantic, lavish and bright church; he succeeded!
A superb illustration of neo-Renaissance architecture
The church indeed boasts an imposing 65m-high bell tower topped by an octagonal campanile and French Renaissancedome.
The three statues of the Holy Trinity adorn the porch of the lavish and eclectic facade.
But above all, the metal roof structure allows for the church’s impressive dimensions: 90m long by 34m wide by 30m high!
The interior is equally spectacular!
A stunning vaulted ceiling, supported by pillars and columns, caps the 17m wide nave. Two statues of the Apostles adorn each column.
The ambulatory is narrow in order to limit the circulation of people during the services.
All the windows of the upper level are made of clear glass so the light can pour into the nave.
However, the apse, Chapelle de la Vierge and lateral chapels boast colourful stained glass windows with geometric patterns.
Ten columns that symbolize the Ten Commandments frame the chancel, which is slightly raised in order to adjust to the natural slope of the land.
Two tribunes were especially built on each side of the chancel for Napoleon III and his court.
The Emperor, however, never set foot in La Trinite Church!
It’s a shame, because he never had the opportunity to admire the gilded bronze altar created by the goldsmith Puissielgue Rusand.
Nor Barrias‘ fresco, depicting the Holy Trinity, on the ceiling above!
He would also have liked the Christ on the Cross, sculpted in 1992 by Philippe Kaeppelin, and the murals that adorn the lateral chapels.
The Chapelle de la Vierge, in particular, boasts a stunning stained glass window by the master glass-maker Nicod.
The renowned organ builder Cavaillé-Col produced the great organ.
The instrument sits under another superb fresco that represents a scene from the Apocalypse of St. John, Christ and the Paschal Lamb by the painter Jobbé-Duval.
My favourite sculptures are the two angels (by Charles Gumery) that stand on each side of the entrance.
As I wrote above, the decoration boasts a wealth of sculptures, statues, vases, paintings, carvings as well as a pulpit decorated by the painter Denuelle.
The church suffered relatively little damage during the Franco Prussian War of 1870-71 as it was converted into an hospital.
It was, however, looted during the Paris Commune of 1871, but was restored to its original state.
La Trinite Church is slightly off the main tourist areas, but is definitively worth the visit if you are a fan of Baroque style!
Free admission and indoor photos are allowed!
Directions: 9th District – Place D’Estienne-d’Orves
Metro: Trinité-D’Estienne-D’Orves on Line 12
Coordinates: Lat 48.877193 – Long 2.331467