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Sunday, August 25, 2019

Saint-Eustache Paris (Why it's awesome!)

On our trip to Paris in June, we stayed near the Les Halles area. When we arrived, we took the Les Hales exit, and we accidentally passed this large church while we were walking to our flat. At that time, I was very impressed with the architecture of this church, which is very gothic, but because our first destination was not here, we only took photos from the outside.

However, on the last day in Paris, we managed to visit this church because I couldn't wipe the image of this church from my head. This church is rich in history, it makes this church even more exciting for me. 

Saint Eustache is located in the historic district of Les Halles (Paris medieval marketplace) where it is one of the most visited churches in Paris. It is known for its great organ, and faithful to its musical tradition, this church hosts all year round philharmonic courses, choirs and prestigious festivals. Saint Eustache is a church in the 1st arrondissement of Paris.

At first, before this great church, a modest chapel was built in 1213, dedicated to Sainte-Agnès, a Roman martyr. That small chapel was funded by Jean Alais, a merchant at Les Halles who collected a tax on the sale of fish baskets. The church became the parish church of the Les Halles area in 1223 and was renamed Saint-Eustache in 1303. 

The name of the church refers to Saint Eustace, a Roman general of the second century AD who was burned, along with his family, for converting to Christianity.

Construction of the current church began in 1532 and continued until 1632, and in 1637, it was consecrated by Jean-François de Gondi, Archbishop of Paris. 

During the French Revolution, the church was, like most churches in Paris, desecrated and looted. It was closed to Catholic worship in 1793 and used for one time as a barn; it was re-opened in 1795 with significant damage to the building and its furniture. 

The building was further damaged by a fire in 1844. Then it went through a complete restoration of the building from 1846-1854, including the construction of the organ case, pulpit, and high altar and the repair of the church's paintings. 

The church was set afire during the rule of the Paris Commune in 1871, and needed repairs to the attic, buttresses, and south facade. The facade was revised from 1928-1929.

In 1969, the Halles de Paris market was relocated to Rungis, it modified the neighbourhood of the church of St. Eustache. Les Halles area now became a large shopping centre, a hub for regional transportation and the place of cultural activities. The Church of St. Eustache remains a landmark of the area, one of the main elements of the district.

yes, the ceiling is so high as I felt the witch was watching my soul from above

The architecture of this church has been the object of the most contradictory judgments: some reveal a passionate admiration, the others the most extreme severity. The famous architect considers Saint-Eustache as "a confused heap of debris borrowed from all sides, without connection and without harmony, a kind of Gothic skeleton in Roman rags sewn together like the pieces of a Harlequin dress."

By its design and structure, Saint-Eustache is the daughter of Notre-Dame de Paris. The interior decoration is a type of the Renaissance era: with classical and modern influence at the same time.

Personally, I think this church has been through a lot of hardship, it feels sombre, and even though beautiful; somewhat tough. I kinda love the journey of this church, somehow it teaches me that's how life is. No matter how hard it hits you, you need to stand tall on your feet. I find it impressive, and it inspires me.

I spent a few hours inside this church looking at the bruises all over the wall, countless beautiful significant works of art in different media and styles, and in awe with the history of this church.

From the seventeenth century, and until the Revolution, this church has the title of "royal parish"; it is frequently visited by the humble people of Les Halles - merchants and craftsmen - and by the nobles as well.

St. Eustache has had several notable parishioners over the centuries. In 1649, the young Louis XIV made his first communion here. On December 30, 1721, Jeanne Poisson, who will be known under the name of Madame de Pompadour, was baptised here. On July 4th, 1778, Mozart chose Saint-Eustache as the funeral place of his mother; and many more.

There is some beautiful stained glass art that has survived from the accidents, they are prettier in real life. Even though I'm not a Christian, I feel the solemn calmness during my visit that made me wanna pray and meditate for a while. You'll get what I mean when you visit this church. It is worth the visit.

One more thing about this church, it has the most famous organ between all churches in Paris. With 8,000 pipes, the organ is the largest pipe organ in France, surpassing the organ in Saint Sulpice and Notre Dame de Paris. The organ has been trough some modifications before the present one. In the 1990s, after many difficulties, the organ was restored again after many accidents. Saint Eustache now has one of the most important instruments in France. 

the pipe organ in saint-Eustache

It was a little bit dark in the church as you can see below, the lighting changed during the sun movement and so the light. When the light changed, the colour was slightly changed too. But as you can see, the high ceiling is actually higher in reality.

When I looked up, I felt my neck was going to break. I just couldn't stop admiring every single art there. Not only the church but also the Les Halles area is very lively with a lot of good stores, and you wouldn't want to miss them.

How to Access:
Saint-Eustache is located near the Métro station: Les Halles (line 4)

Église Saint-Eustache
146 rue Rambuteau
Adresse postale : 2 impasse Saint-Eustache
75001 Paris

There is no admission fee!


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