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Saint-Sulpice Church: Second Largest in Paris

When it comes to churches and cathedrals a Paris traveler’s list usually includes two main cathedrals – the world famous Notre-Dame and the Basilica du Sacre Coeur. Both are the undeniable symbols of Paris and a person who is visiting the fashionable French capital for, let’s say, two days will rather give preference to these cathedrals than visit a lesser known spiritual site.

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But popularity isn’t everything; history knows lots of exceptionally talented artists who died without being known to the world. So if your time in Paris is limited, but not to a day or two, then you can quietly add Saint-Sulpice Church to your list, of course if churches and their architecture are of interest to you.

The Church of Saint-Sulpice is one of the most beautiful churches coming with a most unique exterior design. It’s the second largest church in Paris (the largest is the Notr-Dame). It was named after 7th century bishop of Bourges Sulpitius the Pious and is dedicated to him. The construction of the church lasted 135 years. The church is 34 meters tall and 113 meters long and is located in the VI arrondissement.

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Prior to this church, there was another church, which featured Romanesque style and dated to the 13th century. The building of the present-day church was erected in 1646. The design was worked out in 1636 but the construction works were launched only ten years later. Meanwhile, the civil wars in Paris broke out and in their turn, interrupted the construction of the church. The construction was later resumed and continued until the 18th century.

Six architects have been involved in the construction of the church, therefore the church is especially interesting with its different and varying solutions. The façade is one of the most impressive points of the church. It was designed by Jean-Baptiste Servandoni. The interior of Lady Chapel was designed in Baroque style. When you are inside, don’t forget to look up at the dome, which is lit by natural light. The light enters through hidden windows. There is also a fresco on it, which depicts Assumption of Mary. The fresco dates to 1734 but it has undergone several restorations since then.

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During the Directory regime (1795-1799) the church was used as the Temple of Victory. The Revolution greatly damaged the church, so after it the church was restored again and several murals were added. One of the most memorable events that the church has hosted is the marriage of prominent playwright Victor Hugo to Adele Foucher. They got married in 1822.

One thing you will definitely notice and be amazed in the church is its huge organ. It dates to the 18th century. The organ was considerably improved in the second half of the 19th century. The sounds the organ produces are most unique and pleasantly alarming.

In 1900 an electric blower and two pedal stops were added to the instrument.

Photo by JR_Paris

With all its beauty and charm the church will take more or less an hour of your day. Considering you are in the 6th arrondissement it would be a good idea to plan your day so that to visit several places of interest rising in this part of Paris. Firstly, you can get to the VI arrondissement by metro, RER or bus. The quickest might be by metro. Make sure not to trespass the metro rules, not to face problems and to spoil your mood.

So a visit to the marvelous church can be accompanied with the visit to Eglise Saint-Germain-des-Pres, Palais du Luxembourg and Eugene Delacroix national museum. If you think that visiting two churches on the same day might be boring, then you should know that Eglise Saint-Germain-des-Pres is the oldest church in Paris, accordingly, you might want to visit it not only out of interest but also out of respect towards Paris people.

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Palais du Luxembourg with its enchanting Luxembourg gardens is one spot not to miss. If you would love to visit this palace, you should make reservations in advance. But even if you don’t manage to, seeing it at a distance will also be a pleasure for the eye; be ready to transform to the times of royal Paris. Eugene Delacroix National Museum might interest those people who love art and who are acquainted with the works of Romantic artist Eugene Delacroix.

After visiting these top destinations in the VI arrondissement you can try some French wine and taste delicious French cheese at one of the restaurants and cafes spread all along the Parisian streets.

Lastly, enjoy every moment spent in the sparkling city of love and lights.

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