February 25, 2008

Saint Sulpice

The Saint Sulpice church is situated on the east side of Place Saint Sulpice, not far from the Luxembourg Gardens. The place as such is quite nice and in the middle you find a fountain, created by Ludovico Visconti in 1844, just renovated.

Saint Sulpice is the second biggest church in Paris – after Notre Dame. The present church which replaced an older one from the 13th century was mostly completed in 1732 (the facade a few decades later). (Half of the church facade is under renovation, so I show only the other half.) From the interior you can note a beautiful pulpit, the Chapel of the Madonna (statue by Pigalle) and some wall paintings by Delacroix (too dark to be correctly photographed). The church is known for its organ, which is supposed to be one of the best in the world, created by Arisitide Cavaillé-Coll in 1862, but still with a lot of material from its original construction in 1781. Cavaillé-Coll is considered as one of the world’s best organ builders ever. The church has also always employed top class organists (and composers). The organ is frequently used for concerts and recordings.

The church is also known for its gnomon (from 1749). It was requested as part of the original church construction. The purpose was to determine the time of equinoxes (and hence of Easter). A meridian brass band crosses the floor and ends up on the gnomon, a marble obelisk. The sunlight comes in through a small lens on the opposite side of the church. The fact that this was also used for different scientific experiences may have saved it from destruction during the Revolution (when the church temporarily became a “Temple of Victory”). The church was made even more famous thanks to the "Da Vinci Code". I have already in a previous post indicated that the “French Prime Meridian” and this Saint Sulpice meridian have nothing to do with each other. The church is situated some hundred meters from the “French Prime Meridian” (referred to as the “Rose Line” by Dan Brown). Furthermore, relating to the "Da Vinci Code": The church does not stand on the place of an old pagan temple and the symbolic “PS” you can find in the church refer to St. Pierre and to St. Sulpice and not the invented “Priory of Sion”.

Some of these pictures can as usual be found on my photo blog.


Annie said...

Although I thought The Da Vinci Code was tripe I think the church is magnificent.

hpy said...

Hello dear Stradivarius of the Parisian blogs. Will you show Saint Placide next time? (For me it goes with St "Supplice".) And thanks for your last judgement on my blog.

lyliane said...

bonjour, je reviens plus tard je n'ai pas le temps de tout lire convenablement. bises

Anonymous said...

This is a dramatic place and your photos are nice.

April said...

It's always astonishing how much history there is one place alone and how many precious things you can find in those big churches.

Azer Mantessa said...

i came across the name Arisitide Cavaillé-Coll first time when i need to know more about musical baroque style. i remember that he built the kargest organ ever but totally forgot where it is located.

when i read your posting ... said to myself ... yes! that's where it is!

alice said...

J'aime beaucoup cette place et tu me donnes envie de pousser la porte de l'église une prochaine fois...

Peter said...

Yes, but there still tourists in the church looking for the Da Vinci Code "details".

There are many churches and saints left, maybe not really the ones you mention!

... alors bises, en attendant!

Peter said...

Yes, there is alsways some history around these places ... and I try to mention only what I think are the major points.

Exactly what I just said above. I could have copied your comment!

I hesitiated to mention his name ("too much"). Good that someone, like you, knew about him - and obviously got a confirmation! He built some 30 or 40 organs around Europe, but I think this was his major one!

Peter said...

Tu dois, elle n'est pas trop lourde!

pink ginger 珂琳 said...

This is just so beautiful. I should plan a trip to Paris in the near future.
Hope you're doing well, Peter.


krystyna said...

Hi Peter!
It is very interesting, and I learned a few interesting tidbits about Paris history and architecture. Thanks!

Best to you!

Dorothée said...

Hi Peter!
Your posts are great! They are so well documented, informative with captivating details. It's a real pleasure to look at them and discover things about my own city I ahve left a while ago. I love your blog. I will come back more often. Merci :-)

Ming the Merciless said...

Great photos, Peter. I love the exterior shot of the fountain.

It is a shame St. Sulpice doesn't get as much attention as the Notre Dame.

'JoAnn's-Digital-Eyes'NL said...

Peter, What a fantastic collection of shots did you make again , from this church, I can remember going there ...and the glasswindows are in reality very great to see!! Also on your photo's..

And Yes, Dan Brown is a writer of my heart, I red a couple of his books, also 'The Da vinci code' great story "playing in Paris also", filled with fantastic facts, true or not... it made me look to several places/buildings in Paris,(as"the Louvre"!... and other's) a different way, Yes!

You should read his other books too, "The Bernini-code' is also great written story.

Thanks for showing this photo's and thanks for your sweet words(for my still sick dog) I was a bit busy with her last days... greetings

JoAnn from Holland

lyliane said...

Encore un bel et instructif exposé sur cette église, je suis déjà passée plusieurs fois sur cette place, mais ne me souviens plus si je suis entrée dans l'église, il faudra que j'aille vérifier la position du soleil à chaque saison de l'année.

Peter said...

pink ginger:
How nice to hear from you again!! Please tell me when you plan to come!

First I learned, then you...; that's good!

You are so welcome back... and I will visit yours!

Peter said...

However it got a very high attraction value when the Da Vinci Code was at its peak interest.

Dan B is interesting to read if you know that everything is not true and take it for what it is. You have to "filter", but he draws the interest to things that you would probably not bother about, if not!

... ou lire le calendrier?

noushy syah said...

WOw...The church really caught my eyes!! How magnificent it is!!

The Organ as for the music instrument rite?<--- since 1862? Unbelievable...!!

ruth said...

Even though I don't think Dan Brown writes fine literature, the book was fun, and it was fun to be one of the tourists who looked for the details from "DaVince Code." Your photos of the church are beautiful.

Cergie said...

J'aime bien ce quartier qui est le quartier des éditeurs. Pierre a fait sa prépa pendant deux ans au lycée St Louis. Je suis allée ds cette église au moment de l'expo Arcimboldo, il y avait la crèche, les cierges, une ambiance incroyable
Et dehors un marché de Noël...
Il y a des magasins sympas ds le coin, consacrés à la lithurgie.
J'imagine qu'il faut retourner souvent dans des lieux pour bien s'en imprégner

Mona said...

such lovely photos Peter.

I think Da Vinci code is fiction :)

Peter said...

Yes, Paris offers a few things!

You are right! The book brought attention to a lot of interesting matters; you just have to be aware that everything is not historically correct.

Vines donc t'imprégner!

Peter said...

It's fiction, but there are also a number of historical facts - mixed with historical false thruths!

Clothes Wholesalers Australia said...

Nice photos. Its really nice to know that they are preserving the church for future kids to see.

Removalist Sydney said...

Historical facts that needs to be preserve to teach kids about History and Religion.