Saint Eustache Church in Paris, built during 1532-1633, was the baptismal church of Sun King Louis XIV.
Saint-Eustache is located at an area which is one old the oldest commercial areas in Paris: Les Halles.
The church, a representative of best in late Parisian Gothic architecture, is, in fact, at southern end of Rue Montorgueil, just a short walk from Forum les Halles shopping center, one of the biggest in the city.
Originally, the church was building (in 13th century) as Sainte Agnès chapel by wealthy Les Halles merchants…
…as a show of gratitude towards King Phillip-Auguste Alais, for the ability to charge a penny as a tax for each fish basket that came to the Les Halles marketplace.
PHOTO: A view to the church facade, as seen from Jardin du Forum des Halles park.
The church was renamed “Saint-Eustache” in 1223, as it became the parish church for Les Halles. There is, however, still a crypt called “Sainte Agnès“, at the eastern wing of the church.
The 105 m long and 43.5 m tall Sainte-Eustache was designed by Italian architect Domenico da Cortona, in a beautiful Gothic style.
The church was rebuild in 1633, making it more grandiose, after which it quickly gained reputation as a royal church…
….partly thanks to it being close to Louvre Paris France, a royal residence.
High-profile Parisians baptized here include:
- King Louis XIV,
- Cardinal Richelieu,
- Madame de Pompadour, and
- Molière (who also got married at the church).
Also, Anne of Austria and Jean-Baptiste Colbert had their burials at the Saint-Eustache.
Even though Sainte-Eustache was originally done in Gothic style, it also contains highlights from Renaissance, due to rebuilding efforts over the years.
Also, rebuilding done in 1754 by Jean Hardouin-Mansart de Jouy added two new two-story towers to the church…
…but his ambitious efforts to completely rebuild the church got stuck in financial problems, which is why the right-side tower is — still — partly unfinished.
“Saint-Eustache” is a reference to Saint Eustachius, a Roman empire general, burned (with family) for his Christian faith.
Inside the church, you’ll find many highlights, such as…
- “Les disciples d’Emmaüs” by Rubens (1611), and
- Santi di Tito’s “Tobie et l’ange” from 1575 (located near the choir section).
If you are in Paris in the summer, you’ll be able to visit one of the church’s highlight classical music concerts, to honor of the fact that…
- “Te Deum” by Hector Berlioz, and
- “Christus” by Liszt…
…both got their premieres at Saint-Eustache church, in 1886.
The organ has over 8,000 pipes, making it the largest in France (yes, even larger than the one at Notre Dame de Paris).
The Saint Eustache church organ was a signature piece by Pierre-Alexandre Ducroquet, one of the most famous organ makers in world history.