From the outside you simply can’t imagine the incredible indoor structure of this Roman church in Paris 14th that actually looks quite simple.
Built by architect Godefroy Astruct in lieu of the Church of Notre-Dame-de-Plaisance that became too small, the Church of our Lady of Work – or Notre-Dame-du-Travail – is the only work church in Paris, opened in 1902. In the 1850’s, the population around the new Montparnasse railway station involved a very fast development and most of the population is working. In the 20th century, workers were – among others – in charge of building and dismantling the World Fairs.
Naturally, the Church of Our Lady of Work, built with the help of the local workers, aimed at paying tribute to the working conditions of its faithful. But how, would you wonder? You only have to walk the door to see it. The building has been made in a way that workers feel comfortable.
A spectacular metallic structure gives the Church of Our Lady Of Work an incredible charm: the whole steel and iron framework is visible, so are the girders of the structure. It reminds workers of the industrial style they evolve daily in and the materials they are used to transform. A style that doesn’t go without remining us of the Eiffel Tower that was brand-new in the Parisian landscape.
For the anecdote, the 135 tons of iron (!) that used to build the church mainly come from the Palais de l’Industrie built for the World Fair 1855 and destroyed three decades later to leave some room for the Petit Palais and the Grand Palais.
Note that the stained-glass windows, the sculptures and the paintings are all related to the working world. We find Saint-Luc (art), Saint Francis of Assisi (poetic and ecologic creation), Saint Eligius (metal work and goldsmithery), Saint Fiacre (gardening and market gardening) and Our Lady of Work Statue by Joseph Lefevre looking like the Virgin with Jesus and both of us holding crafts tools.
To break the very austere atmosphere of the building, the different chapels have been adorned with Art Nouveau murals. A church different from the other Parisian churches, listed as Historic Monument and you don’t want to miss it!
59 Rue Vercingétorix
75014 Paris 14