Do you remember the last scene in Georges Lautner movie “Crooks in Clover”? The one where the five crooks are kneeled at the church while outside, in front of the stairs, a car blows up? Well this church is no other than the Church of Saint-Germain de Charonne in Paris 20th arrondissement!
The story of this church dates back to centuries before this 1963 legendary shot. According to the legend, the Church of Saint-Germain de Charonne is said to be erected in lieu of a small oratory marking the meeting in 430 between Saint Germain and Saint Geneviève, Paris future patron saint.
From these bygone eras there’s almost nothing left but these big pillars from the 12th century. The rest of the architecture dates from the 15th and 17th centuries. The Church of Saint-Germain de Charonne underwent many transformations after a series of fires that devastated it. This religious building was in the middle of the former Charonne village. It was even the culminating point, offering at the time one of the nicest panoramas of Paris and its surroundings.
The Church of Saint-Germain de Charonne deserves a visit especially of its cemetery since it’s one of the last churches inner Paris to own one since the local bylaw cutting back the presence of graveyards in the city for sanitary reasons.
Built on an instable layer of clay, the church met several stability issues. Since 2016 only, after years of works, we can visit it again! During these works, archaeological digs were conducted and enabled to discover 370 ancient sepulchers including some dating back to over 1000 years ago!
The Church of Saint-Germain de Charonne is now listed as Historic Monument. It’s a church that managed to keep its charm of a small country church of yesteryear on the village square!
Note that this cute little church also appears in other movies such as The Counterfeiters of Paris with Jean Gabin, A Golden Widow by Michel Audiard and even Au Bon Beurre by Edouard Molinaro.
Eglise Saint-Germain de Charonne
3 Rue Saint-Blaise
75020 Paris 20