The earliest known example of Paris Churches was actually built before Paris was Paris.
While the city was Roman and known as Lutetia (Lutèce in French), there was built a Temple to Jupiter. On these foundations a church to Saint Etienne was later built which is actually the spot where Notre Dame cathedral now stands.
The ruins of these and other ancient constructions can be visited in the Crypt of the Notre Dame.
With the spread of Christianity, many Paris churches were built by the Merovingian and Carolingian kings, though little remains of those today.
When Clovis I made Paris his capital in the middle of the 6th century, he built the abbey of Saints Peter and Paul on Mount Ste. Geneviève, where now stands the Panthéon and the church of St. Etienne du Mont.
The historic Paris Churches can be a mixture of architectural styles, mostly Romanesque and Gothic. Some excellent examples of Gothic architecture are the churches of this city, including Sainte Chapelle, considered one of the world's finest constructions of Gothic architecture.
The churches of Paris offer the visitor a unique perspective on art, architecture and history.
Many of the churches in Paris house some stunning and priceless art treasures.
There are wood carvings in the pulpits, frescoes and murals on chapel walls and ceilings, sculptures and paintings from recognized masters and, of course, stained glass.
If you are interested in the history of churches in Paris, take a look at this very interesting book.
"The aim of all churches in Paris is to be a place of visitation, welcoming tourists and passers-by; a haven of peace, beauty and hospitality, rich in history.
Their accessibility, and the willingness of the men and women who maintain the churches and greet visitors speak softly of God's goodwill to the hearts of those who accept to enter His house.
But they also express the church's esteem for for those who venture in, coming just as they are, with their own lives, their questions, their richness, their world. In that hospitable relation between church and visitor, how can we fail to recognize each other?
We are certain that a new Word is born of each encounter and that the guest leaves the church stronger and beautified."
Isabelle Renaud-Chamska President of Art, Culture and Faith, Paris
There are over thirty memorable and historically significant churches in Paris. None of them charge an entrance fee.
Most function as parish churches and places of worship.
Because of this, there are a few things that should be kept in mind:
Many of these Paris churches have long histories and have played essential roles over the centuries. They may become among your favorite places to visit.
Paris Churches by Arrondissement
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