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A little history of Saint-Martin-des-Champs abbey

The abbot church | Marianne Casamance / CC-BY-SA
Abbey Benedictine Saint-Martin-des-Champs abbey

A Parisian abbey

In 365, saint Martin cured a leper in Lutèce (old Paris name): where the miracle took place, they raised a little chapel, located on the way to Compostela.

Then followed wars, Norman invasions, epidemics, starvings... in short, all unimaginable curses! But the abbey resisted. King Henri I even rebuilt it in 1060 for Saint-Martin canons, canons who lived in lust.

They abducted their neighbours' wives, said period chronicles! Philip I expelled those monks, replacing them by Clunisian monks in 1078 and raising a surrounding wall.

The medieval tower on the corner of the rue de Vertbois is a vestige of this wall! And soon, the abbey became an important cultural centre... a rich centre, which owned 33 churches in 1096!


When it was founded, the abbey was outside the city wall. Philip Augustus' wall (12th century) didn’t solve the problem... In 1367, the abbey was included in the city wall.

At that time, the prior raised walls flanked by 21 towers in order to protect gardens and buildings. In 1794, the abbey was transformed into Sciences and Technologies' school, then into a weapon factory.

Nowadays, the church and the refectory are the only vestiges remaining from the primitive abbey. The other buildings were re-raised by Antoine in the 18th century, then extended between 1845 and 1897 by Léon Vaudoyer.

About the the author

I'm fond of strolls and History, with juicy and spicy details!