Les Halles version 2018, it’s all about modern Les Halles, a beautiful canopy to find shelter from the sun or the rain and a beautiful Nelson Mandela garden that – after months of works – finally unravels all its greenery and relaxing areas.
But you can’t stroll Les Halles area without having a look at the big Church of Saint-Eustache taking center stage at the end of the Jardin Nelson Mandela. Built from 1532 to 1633, the Church of Saint-Eustache is a church that manages to stand out thanks to its strength. First, there’s its size, that’s closer to a cathedral’s than a church’s. its nave measure 108.26-ft tall equaling Notre-Dame’s!
Connoisseurs will also notice that its map (inspired by Notre-Dame’s) and its outside are those of a gothic church, while once inside, curves and antique Roman columns as well as rich decorations from Renaissance are welcoming us, alongside gothic details and lines. This mix of varied architectural styles has been very criticized at the time of its construction.
I know that 100 years to build a church is quite long, but the project met many financial issues and it required not fewer than 3 master builders in a row (Boccador, Nicolas Le Mercier and Charles David) to make the project happen. In 1665, the construction of two additional chapels weakened the church. The façade, a part of the nave and its side aisles needed to be built over but not before… 1754! Once again major financial issues had to shut down many alterations.
By the way, a mark of these cut short alterations is still visible today since one of the towers will never be finished. What a shame because the Church of Saint-Eustache could have been even more impressive than it is today!
Since 1862, the Church of Saint-Eustache is listed as historic monument. We must say that it’s seen history between its walls and even historic figures such as Molière, Madame de Pompadour and Richelieu were baptized here; Louis XIV received his First Communion; Marivaux has been buried there and La Fontaine’s and Mirabeau’s funerals were celebrated there as well. Nothing but great names.
In 1844, a fire caused severe damage. Les Halles architect Victor Baltard requested about fifty renown artists (painters, sculptors, master glassmakers) who’ve been entrusted with giving the Church of Saint-Eustache its long-lost splendor and even more!
During your tour, you shouldn’t miss: the large sundial on the southern part of the church, the 25 chapels inside the church beautifully decorated with paintings, murals, statues and illuminations; the stained-glass windows full of details and colorful and the big organs, the biggest in France! The latest work of New-York artist Keith Haring, a triptych called “Life of Christ” decorates the third chapel.
All year around, the Church of Saint-Eustache housed classic music concerts as well as festivals and pop, electro, rock concerts such as during the 36-heures de Saint-Eustache festival that welcomed this year Yan Wagner and Chapelier Fou. A lovely way to discover this beautiful church in a new light!
Eglise Saint Eustache
2 impasse St Eustache
75001 Paris 1
9h30-19h en semaine
9h-19h le week-end