Thursday Doors – Paris

This week I’m taking you for a tour around the exterior of L’église Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois, a Catholic Church located in central Paris.

But before we begin, I should warn you to take a seat. If you’re into historical architecture and design as much as I am, this church might just take your breath away. I know that it did mine. Mostly because there was so much to take in. I didn’t know where to look.

The church we see today was mainly built in the 15th century, although the site saw previous variations dating back to the 7th century. Back when the nearby Louvre was home to French Royals, L’église Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois was the Royal parish church.

While not as well-known as Notre Dame, this church does have the honour of hosting the former’s church-goers while it’s being rebuilt after the devastating fire of 2019.

Do you notice the figure holding his own head on the column above? That’s Denis, Patron Saint of Paris and France. He’s a common sight across the city. You may remember him from my earlier post.

L’église Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois butts up against the Town Hall for the 1st arrondissement (district), with this pretty walkway separating the two. I now wish I had taken a stroll to see where it leads.

I really like the main entrance to the church. From the curved archway and decorative porch ceiling, there’s so much to marvel at.

Did you see my post last week about why I love Paris? I recommend you check it out if you didn’t. In that post, I shared a photo of a plaque under the Pont Neuf which relates to the Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Day (1572) when a targeted attack by Catholics murdered 4000 Huguenots.

The start of the Paris attack happened here at L’église Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois with the ringing of the church bells setting off the craziness. Many high ranking Huguenots were in town for a wedding, so it made sense for the Catholics to strike then. I’ve heard of weddings getting a bit out of hand but this .. this is next level. Yikes.

Founders of the church, from left to right, King Childebert, Queen Ultrogoth
and Deacon Vincent.
Saint Germain of Paris, Saint Geneviève
and an Angel carrying a torch.
Virgin and child.

I’ll be back soon with a tour of the inside of L’église Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois. Be sure to check back, or sign up for email notifications so you never miss a post.


Thursday Doors is a weekly event facilitated by Dan. If you’re interested in participating, check out Dan’s blog.

19 thoughts on “Thursday Doors – Paris

  1. I am enjoying this series, Marla. The architecture is stunning. It boggles my mind that this church was largely constructed 600 years ago. They were celebrating mass in this building before Columbus bumped into our part of the planet. Thanks for sharing this with Thursday Doors.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been to the church of Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois, but never noticed that statue of St. Denis holding his head. But as you say, he’s a common sight across the city.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just like Héloïse and Abelard, Denis is ubiquitous in Paris. And it’s not surprising you missed him – the church is overwhelming in its details!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. There really are too many churches in Paris to check out, and not just the big ones like the Notre Dame or the Sacré Coeur. Once again, you’ve captured beautiful details in the façade– I’ve not heard of Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois, but I’ll have to check it out when I revisit Paris. My personal favorite is the église Saint-Eustache in Les Halles: stunning, high interior, and a stained glass dedicated to its charcuterie past (yes, stained glass has an image of a pig on it!).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guarantee that you’ve walked past this one multiple times. And the day I went to this one, I was flip flopping on it or Saint-Eustache. Next time (in 3 weeks!) I feel like I’ll probably visit St. Denis where the Royals are buried. If you’ve been, let me know what you think.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I’ve been to St. Denis. It’s pretty impressive, as that’s where almost all of the French kings and queens are buried. High ceilings and deep-violet stained glass that make you feel like royalty. I believe you’ll have to pay to go in, but it’s worth it!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, what a truly magnificent building especially its richly decorated bell tower. Its beautifully ornate clock and highly detailed stone carvings and sculptures make this tower a true feast for the eyes. I would love to visit this charming old church when I’m in the Louvre area. Thanks for sharing, and have a nice day 🙂 Aiva xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Brenda. Sad history, for sure. One branch of my family tree were Huguenots that fled France at this time so it’s always fascinating for me to learn the history.

      Liked by 1 person

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