Everybody made gifts in order to allow Russians in Paris to have their own church! Every orthodoxes gave something, rich as poor... Someone gave 100 000 francs, a Greek student from the Sorbonne School gave 20 cents...
It was because the old chapel founded in 1816 by Alexander I for Russians diplomats, in their embassy rue de Berry, became too small! So priest Joseph Vassiliev, who came in Paris in 1846 in order to serve the chapel, started to collect money... Why? To raise a bigger church, of course!
In France, you have to figure that French didn't like Russians, at that time: memories of Napoleon's wars in Russia, maybe... But Vassiliev didn't give up: finally, he gathered enough money. Even tzar Alexander II gave 50 000 roubles from his personal fortune...The first stone was laid down in 1859 and the church was completed 3 years later. It was achieved by architect Ouzmine from the Russian national art school in Saint-Petersburg and architect Strom (who built the cathedral of St-Vladimir, Kiev).