Learn about Saint Etienne du Mont, the burial church of Saint Geneviève (protector saint of Paris), near Panthéon.
The origins of the Saint-Etienne-du-Mont were in the abbot church from 508 AD, Sainte-Geneviève church, the burial place of Saint-Geneviève.
Due to the popularity of Saint-Geneviève, the protector saint of Paris, and as Saint-Étienne’s remains were relocated to the church (during early 13th century), the church was deemed too small for being such a high profile religious building…
…even with the expansion work done in 1328.
To facilitate this need for additional space, Saint-Etienne-du-Mont was built adjacent to the old monastery church.
Work on the building commenced in 1492, from plans by architect Étienne Viguier.
PHOTO: The church facade artwork, including those at tympanum, portray events from Saint-Étienne’s life. Tympanum-section artwork, titled “Stoning of Saint-Étienne”, by Gabriel-Jules Thomas was added to the facade in 1863.
PHOTO: Saint-Étienne sculpture to the left of main entrance. The statue holds a palm branch in his hand (allegorically to martyrdom), and has a stone next to his feet, a reference to the way the saint died.
Work on the church was completed in stages, resulting in there being several architectural styles used at the Saint-Etienne-du-Mont.
The church apse and bell tower were built from 1494, with the first church bells being manufactured in 1500.
The church’s choir, meanwhile, in rich late Gothic style, was completed in 1537, with the stained glass artworks and statues being from 1542.
The Renaissance style nave was completed in 1584.
The church was finally consecrated in 1626 by Jean-Francois de Gondi, the first archbishop in Paris….but construction work on the church details continued until 1651.
Saint-Étienne-du-Mont was, in the 17th and 18th centuries, a very popularpilgrimage destination, as many wanted to see the final resting place of Saint Genevievè.
The holy relics of Saint Genevievè were lost during the French Revolution (1789-99), when the church was first closed, then reopened as a non-religious temple, until 1801.
Saint Etienne du Mont
Address: Rue de la Montagne Sainte-Geneviève, 75005 Paris, France
Official website: SaintEtienneDuMont.fr
Restoration work on the church facade and interior artworks, damaged during the French Revolution, took place during the Second French Empire, under leadership from Victor Baltard.