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Saint Jacques du Haut Pas was established in the 12th century by a group of brothers from northern Italy as a rest stop for pilgrims on the road to Compostela, a popular pilgrimage route in Spain.
The church itself dates to the 17th century and is the work of architect Daniel Gittard.
There are a number of fine paintings in the church, including a 17th century work by the Le Nain brothers.
The land upon which this present day church stands was first settled by the an Order of Hospitalier brothers from Altopascio in Italy. Hence the name, St Jacques du Haut Pas, in English St James of the High Pass.
Hospitaliers were religious orders who offered places of rest along established pilgrimage routes
The Rue St Jacques has from a very early date been a main pilgrimage route through Paris.
In the 16th Century Catherine de Medici installed a community of Benedictines on the site along with the relics of Saint Magloire. These relics were brought to Paris by Hugh Capet in 923 AD. The relics were hidden away during the French Revolution, but discovered again during a renovation of the high altar in 1830.
Set in an area that for centuries was outside the walls of Paris, it was the parish church of the surrounding farms and villages and a welcome sight for travellers
In literature Victor Hugo uses the church as the parish church of his great hero, Jean Valjean in Hugo's masterpiece, Les Miserables.
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