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Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois Church - Next to the Louvre Museum
2, place du Louvre 75001 Paris
75001 PARIS
Tel : 33 (0)1 42 60 13 96

The church of Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois welcomes for a few years the liturgies of the Cathedral Notre-Dame de Paris, with new schedules.

The church is open every day from 9am to 7pm

Access

Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois Church - Next to the Louvre Museum
2, place du Louvre 75001 Paris
75001 PARIS
Phone : 33 (0)1 42 60 13 96

  • Metro: Line 1 (Louvre - Rivoli stations) - Line 7 (Pont-Neuf station)
  • RER : Line A (Chatelet - Les Halles Station) and C (Musée d'Orsay Station)
  • Bus : 21, 27, 67, 69, 72, 74, 85
  • Parking :
Address

Église Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois – Close to Louvre Museum
2, place du Louvre 75001 Paris
75001 PARIS
Tél : 33 (0)1 42 60 13 96

 

Coordinates Latitude Longitude
Sexagesimal (°, ', ") 48° 51′ 34″ N 2° 20′ 28″ E
Degré décimal (GPS) 48.85983 2.34089
Reservation

Église Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois – A côté du Musée Louvre
2, place du Louvre 75001 Paris
75001 PARIS
Tél : 33 (0)1 42 60 13 96

Description complète

The Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois Church is first a Merovingian sanctuary, destroyed in 885-886, then rebuilt in the 11th century. The church was enlarged or rebuilt many times: the Romanesque tower remains from the 12th century, the portal and the choir date from the 13th century. Enlargements continued until the 16th century, when the Valois kings moved to the Louvre. The church then became a royal parish in the 16th and 17th centuries: the kings came to hear mass there. Since the Ancien Régime, it has been known as the "artists' parish", as artists living in the Louvre are buried there: painters, goldsmiths, engravers, poets, and the architects Le Vau, Gabriel, and Soufflot.

It is a church located in the current 1st arrondissement of Paris. It was also called church Saint-Germain-le-Rond.

Origin of the name of the church

It was not until the XIᵉ century that the name "Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois Church" appeared. It recalls the meeting that is said to have taken place at this very spot between Saint Germain, bishop of Auxerre and the patron saint of Paris, Saint Genevieve, in the Vᵉ century.

Another particularity of this church. It was, from the Middle Ages, both collegiate and parish church: that is, it was partly the seat of a college of canons. It was also the place where all the inhabitants of the district gathered, under the spiritual direction of a priest and the temporal administration of the churchwardens. This complex institutional situation sometimes created tensions.

The Saint-Barthelemy massacre and the involvement of the Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois Church

The St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre was the massacre of Protestants in Paris on August 24, 1572, St. Bartholomew's Day.

The massacre lasted several days in the capital, then spread to more than twenty provincial cities during the following weeks and even months. The real causes are still not clearly explained. It was the consequence of the French nobility's split between Catholics and Protestants, particularly the vendetta between the House of Guise and the Châtillon-Montmorency clan. But there were also possible international reasons (liberation of the Netherlands from Spanish rule) and royal reasons (jealousy of Catherine de Medici towards the Protestant Gaspard de Coligny, who had returned to grace with his son Charles IX). In the end, the role of the crown, and the historiographic tradition made the king Charles IX and his mother, Catherine de Médicis, the main responsible of the massacre.  Without any certainty.

The trigger for the massacre occurred on August 22, 1572. Gaspard de Coligny was attacked with an arquebus as he left the Louvre on his way to his hotel on rue Béthizy. The Admiral was shot with the index finger of his right hand torn off and his left arm ploughed by a bullet that remained stuck in it. Suspicions quickly turned to people close to the Guise family, princes of the blood. The attempted assassination of Coligny was the event that led to the crisis that led to the massacre in a few hours. The Protestants rose up against this attack on their most respected leader and demanded revenge. The capital was on the verge of civil war.

On the evening of August 23, 1572, the king held a meeting with his close advisors.  It would have been decided to put out of harm's way the Protestant captains of war while deciding to spare the young Protestant princes of the blood, namely the king of Navarre (future king of France Henri IV) and the prince of Condé. Shortly after this decision, the municipal authorities of Paris were summoned. They were ordered to close the city gates and arm the citizens to prevent any attempt at an uprising.

In the evening, a "commando" of the Duke of Guise was led to the house of Admiral de Coligny in rue de Béthizy, who was dragged from his bed, shot and defenestrated. The Protestant nobles lodged in the Louvre were evacuated from the palace and massacred in the surrounding streets. Guise's troops then attacked the Protestant leaders lodged in the Faubourg Saint-Germain

The "third act" began the same night: the assassinations of Protestant leaders turned into a generalized massacre of all Protestants, regardless of age, sex or social rank.

Alerted by the noise and agitation of the military operation, the most exalted Parisians - mostly anti-Huguenot - were carried away by fear and violence. They wrongly attributed the nightly disturbance to the Protestants and began to pursue them, thinking they were acting in defense of their city. It is because of this fear that the tocsin would have sounded at the bell of the church Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois, close to the Louvre, a tocsin quickly taken up by other bell towers of the city of Paris and the surrounding communes to finally set fire to the rest of the agglomeration.

The butterfly effect and the tocsin of the Church of Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois

For this reason, the Church of Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois bears a heavy responsibility for the spread of the effect of the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre in Paris, and then throughout France, and over time, in the following centuries.

Saint Bartholomew's Day changed history in France and in Europe. The consequences were enormous, both economically and historically, in the centuries that followed. In the months following the massacre, various discriminatory measures were taken against Protestants, who were banned from public employment. In addition, the king strongly encouraged conversions. King Henry III of Navarre (later Henry IV of France), the king's brother-in-law, had to recant his Protestantism on September 26.  Until the end of 1572, the exactions led to a strong emigration of Huguenots to Switzerland first, then to the German provinces and the Netherlands. Most of them were artisans with knowledge of the trades that drained the French economy for the happiness of the countries of immigration. Many refugees went to Geneva, which took the nickname of "city of refuge".
The Saint Bartholomew's Day massacre helped lead France into the Wars of Religion, eight civil wars of religious origin that took place in the kingdom of France from 1562 to 1598. They opposed partisans of Catholicism and partisans of Protestantism (the "Huguenots") in military operations that could go as far as pitched battles. In 1598, when Henri III of Navarre became Henri IV of France, he inherited a devastated country, having lost the wealth brought by its craftsmen.
It was also in 1610 the assassination of a capable and esteemed king that Henri IV had become. His assassin Ravaillac, a fanatical Catholic, murdered him at 8-10 rue de la Ferronnerie (75001) in Paris (a plaque on the pavement is sealed there).
Finally, the Edict of Nantes was revoked, allowing the Hugurnots who remained in France to practice their professions. When Louis XIV revoked this Edict in October 1685 (after various restrictions already operated against the Huguenots in the previous years), at least 200,000 Protestants went into exile (out of the 800,000 in the kingdom at the end of the 17th century). The revocation of the Edict of Nantes can be seen as a mistake made by Louis XIV, which contributed to further impoverish and weaken the country already ravaged at the end of his reign by natural calamities affecting the crops and by the cost of wars committed.

The 18th century changes of the Church of Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois

In 1744, the chapter of canons was integrated into the chapter of the Cathedral of the diocese of Paris. This was not done without protest from the canons. But the parish won its case and was thus able to recover the space of the choir in order to display all the liturgy of the parish community as it pleased. As a result, the church of Saint-Germain was able to undergo important transformations in the 18th century.

The colored stained glass windows had been removed and replaced with white glass in the early 18thᵉ century. This in order to bring light into the church, the parishioners wanted from then on to bring the choir "up to date". They entrusted this work to Louis-Claude Vassé and Claude Bacarit to give it a more "antique" look.

The parishioners also removed the rood screen which was considered too gothic. To replace it, the wrought iron gate decorated with fleur-de-lis motifs and bearing the initials of Saint Germain and Saint Vincent was installed. This work of Pierre Dumiez, locksmith to the King, remains in place today, for although it was dismantled during the Revolution, it was reinstalled in the XIXᵉ century.

The turmoil of the XIXᵉ century and the restoration of the Church of Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois.

Of course, the Revolution of 1789 came and went. It closed the church to worship in 1793, and it became a saltpeter factory, a feed store, and a printing house. It was returned to Catholic worship with the Concordat of 1802.

But historical events were to catch up with the church once again. It was ransacked in 1831 by anti-legitimist partisans (in favor of King Louis-Philippe, who had been in power for a few months) following a funeral service given for the repose of the soul of the Duke of Berry, assassinated on February 13, 1820. He was the son of the king Charles X (legitimist, brother of the king Louis XVI), driven out of power in 1830. During this event, the bishopric was looted. The church had to be completely closed until 1845.

It was restored in the 1840s and 1850s under the direction of Lassus and Baltard.

In the course of history, the church was more than once in danger of being completely razed. Already under Louis XIV, great projects were planned to rebuild it in the axis of the new eastern facade of the Louvre palace (also known as Claude Perrault's colonnade). The last attempt, that of Baron Hausmann, prefect of the Seine in the late 1800's. He planned to demolish it to make a large street pass through it, of which the Avenue Victoria (near the Châtelet) is the aborted embryo. It is notably the age of the church and its artistic quality that saved it from speculative destruction.

How to visit the Church of Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois

The church is open every day from 9am to 7pm. But before this visit - or as an alternative to this visit - it is possible to have an almost complete view of the interior by clicking on "Visit the Church of Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois". It is a particularly successful interactive view that describes the porch and portal, the great organ, the nave, the altar, the transept, the choir, the baptismal font and the first northern chapels, the northern ambulatory chapels, the radiating chapels, the southern ambulatory chapels and the chapel of the Holy Virgin.

The Replacement Church of the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris

As of September 1, 2019, the church houses the canonical services of the Notre Dame Cathedral Chapter due to the fire on April 15, 2019.

Continue to the rue du Louvre and go towards the Seine to the quai des Tuileries. Then go towards the Cour Carrée du Louvre.

 

 

 

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Open hours today: 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Monday

    9:00 am - 7:00 pm

  • Tuesday

    9:00 am - 7:00 pm

  • Wednesday

    9:00 am - 7:00 pm

  • Thursday

    9:00 am - 7:00 pm

  • Friday

    9:00 am - 7:00 pm

  • Saturday

    9:00 am - 7:00 pm

  • Sunday

    9:00 am - 7:30 pm

  • July 16, 2024 8:04 am local time

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