Saint Germain l’Auxerrois is the historical parish church for the Louvre palace and rulers of France, and it is one of the oldest churches in Paris.
Origins of the church go back to the 7th century, but it was completely rebuild several times throughout the centuries that followed…
…which is why you’ll see many types of architecture used in the building, including Roman, Gothic, and Renaissance styles.
Name for the church originates from the famous historic bishop of Auxerre, Germanus.
PHOTO: Saint Germain l’Auxerrois, as seen from Rue de l’Amiral de Coligny. The street is named after Gaspard de Coligny, who had a central role in French wars of religion.
PHOTO: Statue of an angel, by Pierre-Jules Cavelier, located on the portal (leading to an inner courtyard) between the church and the northern tower (an addition from 1860).
PHOTO: Mairie de 1er Arrondissement, an administrative building for the 1st arrondissement from 1859, to the left of picture, was designed to reflect architectural themes used in the Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois church.
When the royal family of France and the royal court moved to the Louvre palace in 1358, the church obtained a role as the court’s church…which also meant funds for rebuilding.
There is a black period in the church’s history, when its southern tower’s bells were rang (in 1572) to mark to start to the St. Bartholomew’s day massacre, where thousands of Huguenots died as part of the wars of religion.
One of the church bells used at the St. Bartholomew’s day massacre, “Marie“, manufactured in 1527, still remains in use at the southern bell tower.
The northern church tower was added to the building in 1860, to complement the southern tower, which was originally built in the 12th century.
Constructed at the same time to the northern tower, the Mairie de 1er Arrondissement (www.mairie1.paris.fr) building next door, was designed by Théodore Ballu.
Mairie de 1er Arrondissement, completed one year before the church’s northern tower (in 1859), in fact, reflects themes used in the Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois, and externally, they look very similar.
Highlights on the church facade include the verandah, added in 1435-39 from a design by Jean Gaussel, and the monumental church rose window.
Inside the church, you’ll be able to see…
- a wooden Saint Germain statue from 15th century,
- a stone sculpture of Saint Vincent, and
- a Flemish wooden altar artwork.
The stained glass artworks are especially beautiful, even though many were originally destroyed during the French Revolution.
Claude Monet, the French artist, immortalized the church’s beauty in his painting “Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois”, in 1867.
The painting is on display at the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin (www.smb.spk-berlin.de).
The church has been a center for church music for centuries, popular with famous organ players such as Louis-Claude Daquin, who performed here from 1738.
Saint Germain l’Auxerrois
Address: 2, Place du Louvre, 75001 Paris, France
Official website: SaintGermainAuxerrois.cef.fr
Originally, it was located at the Sainte-Chapelle, from where it was moved to Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois in 1791.