Standing near the Centre Pompidou is the Church of Saint Merri. This parish church was founded in the 8th century and named after Medericus.
Medericus, later known as Merri was a monk of the monastery of Saint Martin near the city of Autun. He had entered the monastery at the age of 13. He later became a priest and after the abbot of the monastery.
Sometime in the 8th century, the dates are not at all clear, Saint Merri made a pilgrimage to Paris and some accounts say that he died there.
Since 884 AD he has been the Patron Saint of the Right Bank of Paris
The small rayonnet church, the name of the style we have come to call "gothic" is a real gem and seems strangely situated near the colorful fountain in the Beaubourg.
This area plays prominently in the June Rebellion of 1832, which is the setting for Victor Hugo's great work "Les Miserables". It is in the neighborhood of this church that the great barricade battle takes place. This is where Gavroche is killed and where Jean Valjean frees Javert. Marius is seriously wounded, and carried away by our hero through the sewers of Paris.
The church itself dates from the 16th century and has a number of excellent stain glass windows that along with the entire church have undergone a recent restoration.
The church also contains two remarkable paintings, one called the Four Patron Saints by Vouet and the other, The Life of Sainte Mary of Egypt, is by Theodore Chasseriau.
There is also a beautiful organ case that dates from the 17th century.
The organ itself was built by the great master builder Francois Henri Cliquot in 1781.
You'll also fine the oldest church bell in Paris in the tower of this gem of a church. It was cast in 1331
The Church is open every day from 12pm to 7pm.
There is a hotel located near the church, Hotel Saint Merry unique in that it's rooms share some of the upper walls of the church so that you have the gargoyles looking in at you from your windows.
The hotel was originally the rectory, or residence of the parish priests of the church. It has finely restored 17th century interiors and in staying here you truly feel as if you were living in the old Paris.
The square between the church and the Pompidou Center has a most unique fountain with mechanical sculptures.
Many eateries surround the square making it a pleasant place for a lunch break or impromptu picnic, especially on a warm Spring day.Return to the Top of Saint Merri page.
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