I love churches and if they are old, much better. The silence, the lights and shadows, the history that weighs on them often plunges me into deep reflections. Although I believe that God is everywhere I feel something special every time I step on a temple.
Paris is an ancient city and Christian so it is logical that it has many churches and chapels. While you ride with the bike you come across some that are not known but discover that they are just as beautiful or more than those that appear in the tourist guides. And many times you don't even have to pay a euro to get lost in them. Therefore, if you like churches, here I leave you three beautiful and little known churches of Paris.
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Chapel of the Miraculous Medal
It is a nice chapel that zealously guards the incorrupt body of a saint and that, believe it or not, receives the annual visit of around two million pilgrims. It is located in the 6th arrondissement, on Rue du Bac, next to a major shopping center called Le Bon Marché.
The chapel does not attract attention and perhaps that is why you know the shopping center and the neighborhood but the church does not sound familiar to you. The thing is has a simple and very discreet front but you have to know that the building contains fantastic stories. One of them tells us that one night in July 1830 Catherine Labouré was sleeping when she was awakened by her guardian angel telling her that the Virgin Mary was waiting for her.
Catherine was a barely 23-year-old novice and was guided by the angel through the halls of the Hijas de la Caridad convent to the chapel where a mysterious aura occupied the chair of the director of the convent. Stunned, the novice He fell to his knees and touched the Virgin's lap. Four months later the mystical encounter took place again and there were times when Catherine heard the rubbing of the Virgin's dress around her or even saw the Virgin floating on the altar.
The vision was completed one day with the appearance of a written medal, with a cross, two hearts, horns and a sword. The order was to make an equal medal so that whoever had one would receive many thanks. Obviously the convent went into a frenzy to manufacture medals ... and to sell them. Later some miracles which continued even after Catherine's death on New Years 1876.
56 years later his body was exhumed and was beatified. When his coffin was opened in 1933 it still looked very good. Anyway, if you want to visit the chapel and see the coffin and Catherine you can do it. You arrive on the metro on lines 10 and 12, getting off at Sèvres and Babylone stations. Buses 39, 63, 70, 84, 87 and 94 also drop you off.
To know the schedules you can visit the official website that has a Spanish version.
Church of Sain-Etienne-du-Mont
It is located in the 5th district of Paris, next to the Pantheon and on the mountain of Saint Genoveva. Precisely the mountain keeps the tomb of the saint who is none other than the patron saint of paris but it also keeps the tomb of Blas Pascal. And if you want to know more in the movie Midnight in Parisby Woody Allen some scenes were filmed next to his steps.
This it is one of the most beautiful churches in the city. At first it was the church of the apostles Peter and Paul, built under the reign of King Clovis, buried here together with his wife. In the Middle Ages it became an important royal abbey. It dates back to 1222 although the current building began to be built in 1492 and was only completed in 1626. In 1744 King Louis XV decided to replace the abbey church, half in ruins, with a better monument that ultimately resulted in the Pantheon .
In times of the French Revolution the church was destroyed and the relics of Saint Genovevea burned down. What was left of the building was converted into what is now a school, although the church was lost, leaving only the bell tower. Then, it was the church of Saint-Etienne du Mont that inherited the relics of the saint and when you visit it you will see a beautiful stained glass window where you can see both churches one next to the other.
It is on number 30 rue Descartes and there are usually masses so if you like to attend one you can visit the website that includes a section in English.
The Madeleine Church
Originally It was a building consecrated to the glory of the army of Emperor Bonaparte, but after his fall King Louis XVIII decided to turn it into a church, a temple that was only consecrated in 1842. It is striking its front with 52 majestic columns in Corinthian style.
It is located in the Place de la Concorde, one of the most important in the French capital, so don't overlook it. It has bronze doors, a beautiful baroque interior decorated with frescoes that contrasts with the neoclassical exterior and she owns a fantastic organ who have known how to play important musicians throughout their history. And it must be said that it sounded gloriously at Chopin's funeral.
Mass is celebrated every day, sometimes there are concerts and also important people usually get married here. Getting here is super easy because the subway leaves you almost at your door. It opens from Monday to Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The Church of the Soldiers in Les Invalides
Les Invalides or Les Invalides is a complex that It is in district VII, very close to the Military School. It was built to house active and retired soldiers and is here where Napoleon's grave is
It was built on the orders of Louis XIV around 1670 with the idea of housing the old soldiers who were homeless and had served the kingdom. The church in question was built some time later, in 1706. The postponement was due to the fact that the first plans were vetoed by the king because he was looking for a church that the soldiers and himself could attend but without mixing.
Thus, a new plan suggested the division of the original church in two but with architectural continuation. On one side the Church of Saint-Luis des Invalides and on the other the Dome Church only for the king and his court. Today you can see the Veterans Chapel with a beautiful organ and hundreds of trophies taken from enemy armies from 1805 onwards.
Since 1837 the church has been separated by a huge glass wall from the area of the dome which is where Napoleon's monumental tomb is. Today the church is controlled by the French army and is its cathedral. You can take advantage and also visit the museum.