Top 10 churches in Paris
During your walks through the city of Paris, you will stumble upon many splendid churches. In particular, if you go to Paris oldest districts! Churches are amazing places. You will enjoy visiting some of the ones you’ll see during your stay because it will feel like a break from the hustle & bustle of Paris.
Churches in Paris are so quiet and peaceful. The architecture is also so impressive. If you love to explore and discover all the aspects of a new city, visit the churches. For a very long time, the religion established our rights and duties as members of the society. One could say the religion was kind of like a political force. So whenever you want to learn more about a country and its history, you can do so by visiting its churches. If you feel like exploring the history of the churches of Paris or simply visiting gorgeous churches and their architecture, read on to find out my top 10 churches in Paris!
Visit the perfect example of Gothic architecture: Notre Dame
First on my top 10 churches in Paris is obviously the Notre Dame Cathedral. This gothic cathedral is probably the most famous one of its kind. Located in City Island, “Ile de la Cité” in French, in Paris fourth district, the construction of the Notre Dame Cathedral lasted for almost two centuries!
This Parisian landmark is iconic! It presents so many details that no longer exist in contemporary architecture. The design of the facade is so wonderful and harmonious, making it a perfect example of gothic architecture! The dimensions, the stained glass windows, the statues and sculptures are unmissable! Don’t hesitate to visit the towers of the Notre Dame Cathedral, and also its treasures and the crypt.
Be mesmerized: Sacre Coeur
If you want to see a different type of church and enjoy an amazing view over the city of Paris at the same time, the Sacre-Coeur Basilica is the perfect place! On the contrary of most churches in Paris that are gothic ones, the Sacre-Coeur Basilica was constructed in a Romano-Byzantine style. Its construction started in 1875 and ended in 1914, so it is quite a recent church!
During your visit of the Montmartre neighborhood, the Basilique du Sacré Cœur is obviously not to be missed! It is on top of the hill and offers one of the bests views over Paris. When you reach the top and stand in front of the Sacre-Coeur Basilica with Paris at your feet, it feels as if the time had stopped. It reminds you of how little you are in this world and that life is to be enjoyed. Every moment needs to be cherished.
Have a peaceful moment: Saint-Eustache
Right in the heart of Paris, you will find the Church of Saint-Eustache! Its construction began in 1532 and ended in 1633. Its style is late gothic architecture, but it also has some Renaissance details, that makes it even more unique and one of my favorite Paris churches! You will find the church between Les Halles and the Montorgueil neighborhood. I love this church and the fact that whenever I enter the church, I feel so at peace. Outside there’s the crowd and the noise, but once you get inside, everything is so quiet and peaceful!
In the heart of the Latin Quarter: Saint-Étienne-du-Mont
The Saint-Étienne-du-Mont is found in the Latin Quarter, next to the Panthéon. So if you happen to have a walk through the Latin Quarter, you really shouldn’t miss the opportunity to visit this church that is both gothic and renaissance style. The inside is very luminous and and the church houses one of the oldest organs of the city! At Saint-Étienne-du-Mont, you will also find the tombs of important French figures, such as Blaise Pascal and Jean Racine.
“There are no secrets that time does not reveal.” – Jean Racine
Attend a concert: Sainte Chapelle
This church is located on the City Island, near the Notre Dame. The Sainte Chapelle dates back from 1150. It was commissioned by Louis the 9th to house Jesus Christ’s crown of thorns he brought back from the crusade. Like the Notre Dame Cathedral, the chapel is another very good example of gothic architecture. The stained glass is particularly impressive! The pillars are very thin and thus give the impression that the roof is held only by the glass.
Before visiting the Marais: Saint Merry
This flamboyant gothic style church is called Saint Merry Church. During the eighteenth century, the inside decorations were becoming more and more similar to the baroque style. And you will notice that this church has no windows, all the lightning come from the domes. If you pay attention to the paintings and sculptures, you will be impressed by all the details!
You can find the Saint-Merry in the Marais neighborhood, at 76 rue de la Verrerie, near the Centre Pompidou.
A little surprise: Saint-Sulpice
You probably already know this church from the Da Vinci Code! The construction of the Saint-Sulpice Church started in 1646 and ended in 1870. It is located next to the Luxembourg garden, on Saint-Sulpice Square (Place Saint-Sulpice). You will love to watch the sunset as it hits the church’s facade. This church is really beautiful, especially its exteriors that are quite unique! Inside you will find many Delacroix paintings!
Celebrate victories: La Madeleine
The construction of La Madeleine was ordered by Napoleon, the first. He wanted a temple to celebrate his armies victories. It then became a church in 1845. Inspired by the Greek and Ancient Rome architecture, the church is a good example of neoclassical architecture. Inside you will be amazed by all the columns, paintings and statues! You can see La Madeleine from the Place de la Concorde. You should also know that many funerals of important figures happened in this church, such as Josephine Baker in 1975, Dalida in 1987 and Johnny Hallyday in 2017.
Don’t miss: Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois
If you’re visiting the area around the Louvre Museum, you will probably meet the Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois Church along your way, because it does not go unnoticed! On August, 23rd and 24th of 1572, a terrible event happened known as the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, five thousand to thirty thousand protestants were assassinated. The Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois Church played an important role in the understanding of this event because the chuch’s bells rang that night to signal the beginning of the massacre.
Despite its unfortunate participation in the massacre, one has to admit the church is stunning, especially its stain-glass windows!
A Jesuit church: Saint-Paul-Saint-Louis
This church is actually not very famous, but it’s essential to the understanding of the history of Paris, but also of France at the same time. It’s a baroque church and one of the first Jesuit churches of Paris. Inside the church, you can see a commemorative plaque of all the priests who were murdered during the Revolution and many more details all equally interesting.
The outside looks of the Saint Paul Church are quite simple, but the inside details and architecture are outstanding! You will be amazed by its facade, dome and vaulted ceiling.
You now know my top 10 churches in Paris! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article and that it has been useful to you! Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need further information about anything! Note that the entrance to the churches is free of charge, except for the Sainte Chapelle. As you will be visiting the city of Paris and admiring all these churches, you will realize each one of them is beautiful for different and unique reasons. All the details are worth to be admired with attention. Enjoy the city and all it has to offer! See you soon in Paris!