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A little history of Val-de-Grâce church

The church | Poulpy / CC-BY-SA
Abbot church Louis XIV Anne of Austria Val-de-Grâce church

On a little quiet square, here’s a gorgeous building raised in the 17th century, one of the nicest one we have in Paris! Come on, let’s go. Young Louis XIV, 7 years-old, laid down the first stone in April 1645. He didn’t know, but this church, his mother founded it for him!

Indeed, queen Anne of Austria seemed to be infertile. But in 1638, after a 20 years wait, finally! She prayed that God send her a son: if he accepted, she would raise a church... and here he came! Waiting for the future Louis XIV’s birth, she immediately raised a church dedicated to Nativity.

Best artists worked here: François Mansart, then Le Mercier, Le Muet, Le Duc, who completed the church in 1655 by the add of the current convent. A Baroque masterpiece, created by Pierre Le Muet and Gabriel Le Duc, who drew their inspiration from Saint-Peter church in Vatican.

Did you notice the dome? So huge! The highest dome in Paris with Invalides and Pantheon ones! Inside, don’t miss Mignard frescos but also the cloister and buildings (17th century). The monastery knew few setbacks! Transformed into a hospital in 1793, then into a military hospital 2 years later, nowadays it’s still a hospital.

Statue in the courtyard (made by David d’Angers) is Larrey' effigy! A baron, emperor Napoleon I’s surgeon... But the place is very old... the land was mentioned in the 13th century, as the Valois royal family's estate. Fell to Bourbon family, a religious society moved here in 1611, for 5 years. Then Anne of Austria put Benedictine sisters here, in 1621...

About the the author

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