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A little history of St-Paul and St-Louis church in Paris

Detail | GO69 / CC-BY-SA
Parish church Saint-Paul-Saint-Louis church in Paris

Here’s the old chapel raised by saint Eloi: Saint-Paul-des-Champs ("Saint-Paul-of Fields"). The name means that the chapel was outside the city wall. It became a parish in 1107, but it was too small: they rebuilt it in the 15th century. We found a cemetery, at that time, where great men were buried!

Oh, such as writer Rabelais, marshal de Biron, Nicot, architect François Mansart, king Henri III’s minions Quélus, Maugiron, Caussade and Saint-Mégrin... and even the man with an iron mask! Famous Breton Georges Cadoudal was buried in the church, until his last remains were translated in Auray, Brittany...

In 1580, cardinal of Bourbon gave lands in rue Saint-Antoine to the Jesuits, in order to raise a chapel dedicated to saint Louis.

King Louis XIII allowed them to rebuild a bigger one in the 17th century! 3 architects succeeded on another: Martellange, Jesuit fathers François Derand and Turmel.

The first one began the building site in 1629. The second one replaced it and raised the façade and vaults. He completed the church in 1641 with the dome (60 metres high), unique at that time in Paris!

Cardinal Richelieu said the first Mass few weeks later, with Louis XIII, queen Ann of Austria and Louis' brother, Gaston, duke of Orléans. It was only consecrated in 1676. Turmel designed the inner decoration.

Just imagine! The church housed amazing and beautiful masterpieces (nowadays in Louvre museum). For that matter, St-Louis housed Henri II of Bourbon’s sumptuous mausoleum, where kings Louis XIII and Louis XIV’s hearts were buried...

Meanwhile, Jesuits were expelled in 1762, and they replaced them by canons of Sainte-Catherine-du-Val-des-Ecoliers. During the Revolution, the church was transformed into a library and every art objects were removed. Finally in 1803, it became Saint-Paul and Saint-Louis church...

About the the author

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