The 8 Most Beautiful Churches in Paris Worth visiting

While  France is currently a secular country,  for many centuries, the state religion was Catholicism. Catholicism is very firmly anchored into French society and left its mark, both in the daily life of its inhabitants (the religious holidays are celebrated by everyone) and in its architectural history. Since religion implies having places of worship, centuries of Catholicism have brought about no less than 50,000 churches in the French territory; the city of Paris alone almost has 200 of them! Two hundred is a lot, so France Hotel Guide has made a list of the must-see, most beautiful churches in Paris.

 

1) Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral

Notre-Dame
Credits: Zuffe, Wikimedia CommonsCC BY 3.0

This icon of the French capital doesn’t need any introduction.

The Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral is located on the Ile de la Cité, in the 4th arrondissement.

It took more than 200 years to build and, for a long time, it was the highest building in Paris.

It hosted the coronation of Napoléon 1st and his wife, Joséphine de Beauharnais, which inspired the painter Jacques-Louis David paint the famous masterpiece The Coronation of Napoleon, currently in the Louvre Museum.

The Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral also has a major role in the eponymous novel by Victor Hugo, published in 1831. In this famous novel, Quasimodo, an orphan hunchback living in the cathedral as a bell ringer, falls in love with the beautiful Esmeralda, a bohemian woman who dances at the town square.

Update February 19, 2020: Due to it being rebuilt, the Notre-Dame Cathedral is currently closed to the public. You can still walk up to -and around- it in order to savor its resplendent architecture which still qualifies it as one of Paris’ iconic monuments.

Address: 6 Parvis Notre-Dame, Place Jean-Paul II, 75004 Paris

Opening hours: The cathedral is open every day from 7:45am to 6:15pm (7:15pm on weekends)

Prices: free.

Access: Metro station Cité or Saint-Michel (line 4) or RER station Saint-Michel (RER B or C)

Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral official website (The link is in french)

 

 

2) Sacré-Coeur Basilica

Sacré-Coeur
Source: Pixabay

From the top of the Montmartre Hill, the Sacré-Coeur basilica overlooks Paris and its Parisians.

Built after the Franco-German war in 1870, the objective of its construction was to forgive the sins committed during the battles.

Built in white stone, it hosts the biggest bell in France, the Savoyarde, that was given by the Savoie region and measures 3 metres in diameter.

The inside of the church is particularly beautiful, with the painting of the Christ in the choir.

It’s interesting to note that, since its construction in 1885, the worshippers have been ceaselessly praying, day and night.

The reason being that the Basilica is devoted to the perpetual worshipping of the Blessed Sacrament.

From the esplanade, the view of Paris is breathtaking and makes for a beautiful panoramic picture.

Address: 35 rue du Chevalier de la Barre, 75018 Paris

Opening hours: The Basilica is open every day from 6am to 10:30pm.

Prices: The entrance is free.

Access: Métro station Jules Joffrin (line 12) + Montmartrobus (stop Place du Tertre), Pigalle (line 2 and 12) + Montmartrobus (stop Norvins), Anvers (line 2) + funicular (costs 1 metro ticket) or stairs, Abbesses (line 12) + funicular or stairs.

Sacré-Coeur basilica official website

 

 

3) Sainte-Chapelle

Sainte Chapelle
Credits: Emilio Garcia, FlickrCC BY-SA 2.0

Built to receive the crown of thorns of the Christ and a piece of the real Cross, the Sainte-Chapelle was built by Saint-Louis between 1241 and 1248 on the Ile de la Cité.

The relics were destroyed during the French Revolution in 1789, but it is still visited today due to its magnificent stained-glass stained, giving the hall a surreal atmosphere.

Moreover, they depict the story of the Old and New Testaments, and the history of the world up until the arrival of the relics in the chapel.

After being abandoned after the revolution and until 1836, the Sainte-Chapelle had to be restored. Said restoration lasted 26 years.

The biggest part of the monument we visit today is from the 19th century, but it does not remove any of its charm.

Address: 8, boulevard du Palais, 75001 Paris

Opening hours: Open every day, from 9am to 5pm from October to March, and from 9am to 7pm from April to September. Closed on January 1st, May 1st, and December 25th.

Prices: The full price ticket is 10€, the reduced fare ticket is 8€, and the entrance is free for anyone under 25 years old and live in the European Union.

Access: 8 boulevard du Palais, 75001 Paris. Metro Cité (line 4), Châtelet (lines 1, 4, 7, 11, 14) or RER B or C Saint-Michel station.

Book your tour of the Sainte-Chapelle

 

 

4) La Madeleine

Madeleine
Credits: Sahee, Wikimedia CommonsCC BY-SA 2.5

Built in 1806 by Napoleon Bonaparte as a temple in honor of his soldiers, it was then converted into a church in 1845.

This church is devoted to St. Mary Magdalene, an essential woman in the life of Jesus Christ.

The entrance is a gate, which reflects the neoclassical polish, a style which imitates the Ancient Greek and Roman periods.

The interior is richly decorated with columns, paintings, and sculptures.

The sculpture showing Mary of Magdalene’s intense joy and the painting depicting the Christ’s resurrection are must-sees.

Finally, the huge organ which Camille Saint-Saens and Gabriel Fauré, two famous French musicians, played is also an impressive part of the visit.

Address: Place de la Madeleine, 75008 Paris.

Opening hours: The church is open every day from 9:30am to 7pm. The church is not open for visits during the mass. You can check the church’s official website to keep informed about its schedules for the mass. (the link is in French)

Prices: The entrance is free.

Access: Metro Madeleine-Tronchet (lines 8, 12 and 14).

Eglise de la Madeleine official website (the link is in French)

 

 

5) Abbey of Saint-Germain des Prés

St Germain des Prés Church
Credits: Connie MaWikimedia CommonsCC BY-SA 2.0

The Abbey of Saint-Germain des Prés is the oldest amongst the great Parisian churches.

Indeed, its construction had started in 543 A.D. While it was initially built as a royal abbey devoted to the Holy Cross, it ended up being rebuilt during the 10th century in a gothic style, and was one of the first of such constructions, not only in France but in the world as well.

After the French Revolution, all churches were closed, and so the Abbey of Saint-Germain des Prés was closed in 1792 and turned into a saltpeter factory.

In 1803, it was reopened and the cult resumed. With the architecture and decorations attesting of its history, the Abbey of Saint-Germain is amongst the most interesting churches in all of Paris!

Address: 3, Place Saint-Germain des Prés, 75006 Paris.

Opening hours: The church is open every day from 8am to 7:45pm

Prices: The entrance is free.

Access: Metro Saint-Germain des Prés (line 4) or Mabillon (line 10).

Saint-Germain des Prés official website (the link is in French)

 

 

6) Church of Saint-Eustache

St Eustache
Credits: Pavel krok, Wikimedia CommonsCC BY-SA 2.5

Built in 1213, the Saint-Eustache church was, at first, a small chapel, built in order to sore some relics that used to belong to the Roman martyr, Saint Eustache.

Over the years, it became more and more popular and, in 1532, it started expanding.

This expansion lasted for over two resulting in a surprisingly uniform architectural structure.

A few years after the French Revolution, in 1793, the church was closed and turned into the Temple of Agriculture until 1795.

The Church of Saint-Eustache is a combination of gothic and renaissance styles and is as beautiful on the outside as it is on the inside.

The stained-glass windows and the paintings, in particular, are beautiful sights!

Address: 2, impasse Saint-Eustache, 75001 Paris.

Opening hours: The Church of Saint-Eustache is open from 9:30am to 7pm on weekdays and from 9am to 7pm on weekends.

Prices: The entrance is free.

Access: Metro Les Halles (line 4) ou Châtelet (line 4, RER A, B or D).

Church of Saint-Eustache official website (the link is in French).

 

 

7) Saint-Alexandre-Nevski Cathedral

St Alexandre
Credits: Annesov, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

The only Orthodox church in this list, the Saint-Alexandre-Nevski cathedral, was built from 1847 to 1861 and is dedicated to Alexander Nevsky, a Russian war hero who lived between 1220 and 1263.

It is the place of worship for the Russian expatriates living in Paris.

The exterior of the cathedral, with an orthodox style, is particularly intricate with its gold plated crosses.

The interior is richly adorned in a byzantine style and is, as such, overflowing with icons.

A visit to this cathedral will always be worth your time, so don’t hesitate to go there.

Address: 12, rue Daru, 75008 Paris.

Opening hours: The cathedral is open on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, from 3pm to 5pm.

Prices: The entrance is free.

Access: Metro Ternes (line 2).

Saint-Alexandre-Nevsky cathedral official website (the link is in French)

 

 

8) Saint-Augustin church

St Augustin
Source : Wikimedia Commons, public domain

Built from 1860 to 1871, the Saint-Augustin church is located in the 8th arrondissement of Paris.

At the crossroads of the Boulevard Malesherbes and the Boulevard Haussmann, it is one of the noisiest churches in Paris, despite which, none of its magnificence is to be lost.

Indeed, the Saint-Augustin church was the first religious building of its size to use cast iron.

This way, it doesn’t need any abutments.

The interior is full of sculptures as well as a few paintings, here and there.

There’s no point in telling you that this church is indeed an absolute must-see!

Address: Place de Saint-Augustin, 75008 Paris.

Opening hours: The church is open for visits from Monday to Friday, from 10am to 4:30pm and on Saturdays from 10am to noon. During school holidays, it is open from Monday to Friday, from 10am to 1pm.

Prices: The entrance is free.

Access: Metro Saint-Augustin (line 9) or Gare Saint-Lazare (line 9, 12, 13, 14).

Saint-Augustin Church official website (the link is in French)

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