Saint Sulpice is a Roman Catholic church. The second largest church in Paris (just behind Notre Dame). It is located in the heart of the 6th arrondissement, on the edge of Saint Germain des Prés neighborhood.
It took 135 years and 6 architects to finish Saint Sulpice. The construction began in 1646 and was mostly complete by 1745. The neoclassical façade was only started in 1733 by the Italian architect Servandoni.
The 2 towers are different. The North tower was restored and extended, but the French Revolution stopped the work, so the South tower remained unfinished. This is the reason why the south tower is lower (68 meters) than the north one (73 meters).
Le gnomon :
It is an astronomical instrument of the 18th century. It is composed of a white marble obelisk and a narrow brass strip that continues across the church floor in a north-south direction . It represents the meridian line. It was drown in 1743 to provide the exact time of day, to determine the date, and improve the accuracy of certain astronomical data. On a clear day, when at its highest point, a ray of light enter the church through a small opening in the south transept and shine down on the line at various points depending on the time of year.
On the winter solstice, at noon, the rays hit the brass line on the obelisk. On the Spring and autumn equinoxes, at noon, it touches a plate of copper in the floor near the altar. The obelisk bears a Latin inscription that describes the use of the meridian line.
The gran organ
This impressive Great Organ was installed in 1781 and renovated and enlarged in the 1860’s. It is famous on account of its size and the exceptional quality of its sound. It is one of the world’s largest. Saint Sulpice is still known for its music today and frequent concerts are held here. It has been classified as a historic monument since 1905
Frescoes (1855-61) by Eugène Delacroix
The first chapel (Chapel of the Holy Angels) near the main entrance (on the right) is decorated with Delacroix paintings. During the Révolution, the Church was damaged. It was restored and redecorated in the 19th century with the help of Eugène Delacroix.
- The Delacroix paintings are currently under renovation and thus cannot be seen.
- Eugène Delacroix was a French painter,and one of the leaders of the Romantic Movement. His “Liberty Leading the People” (La Liberté guidant le peuple”) became a symbol of the Republic His work is exhibited at the Louvre and the Musée Eugène Delacroix.
One of the settings of Da Vinci Code :
Saint Sulpice was a key location in Dan Brown’s famous 2003 novel “The Da Vinci Code”. Consequently, Saint Sulpice church became even more popular with visitors.
The gnomon is a narrow brass strip that the monk uses as a reference point in his quest for the Grall.
- Some things linked to Da Vinci Code that you won’t find in Saint Sulpice :
- The rosace mentioned in the Da Vinci Code” novel, doesn’t exist…
- There is no hollow space under the line on the floor of the church !
- And the line doesn’t mark the site of a former pagan temple !
Did you know ?
Did you know that Victor Hugo and Adèle Foucher got married in this church ?
The fountain : “La fontaine des 4 points cardinaux”
In the church square, a fountain by Visconti (1844) bears sculptures of four bishops of the Louis XIV era.
- Address : Place Saint Sulpice – Paris 6 – Metro : Saint Sulpice – Line 4 – website : www.pss75.fr/saint-sulpice-paris/
- Opening time : 8:30am – 8 pm – Free admission
- Free guided tours : every Sunday at 2.30pm (in French)
- Mass timetable : Sundays : 7am, 9am, 11am, 6:45pm Weekdays : 7am, 9am, 12.05am, 6:45pm
- Weekly free Organ concerts : on Sundays and High Holy days : 15 minutes before the 11.am Mass, during Mass and for 30 minutes after Mass. The Montly programm is available at the Sacristy.
- Sunday afternoon or evening recitals : consult the website : www.stsulpice.com/
- “Café de la Mairie” : 8 Place Saint Sulpice – Opening times: Mon – Fri from 7am to 2am | Sat from 8am to 2am | Sun from 9am to 9pm. It’s the haunt fo regulars, a place attracting big publishers and their writers, but a genuine Parisian local café with an outdoor terrace. A lively place at any time. For a drink, a pastry, or a light meal. … The café was the setting for the film “La Discrète” by Christian Vincent (1990), starring Fabrice Luchini and Maurice Garrel.
- High range brands : In the close vicinity :
- Yves Saint Laurent – 6 place Saint Sulpice
- Jean-Charles de Castelbajac – 6 place Saint Sulpice
- Christian Lacroix – 2-4 place Saint Sulpice
- Annie Goutal (perfumes) – 6 place Saint Sulpice
- and many others
- Pierre Hermé (The first shop of one of the most famous French pastry chef) : 72, rue Bonaparte – Paris 6 (100 meters from thechurch). You must be patient because most of the time, people are queuing in front of Pierre Hermé’s shop to buy some of his famous pastries !
- A La Mère de famille (the oldest sweet shop in Paris ) : 70 rue Bonaparte – Paris 6 (100 meters from the church)
- Gerard Mulot – a great shop for pastries – 76 rue de Seine – Paris (about 300 meters from Saint Sulpice church)
- Musée Eugène Delacroix – rue de Furstenberg – Paris 6 – Metro stop : Saint Germain des Prés (about 15 minutes on foot)
- Saint Germain des Prés neighborhood – Saint Germain des Prés church (the heart of this neighborhood) is at about 10 minutes on foot.
My advice :
- The square itself is a nice place to relax and contemplate the surroundings. The “Café de la Mairie” is also a great place for a drink and people-watching (but often lots of people especially on sunny days)
- If you are interested in music, it is worth visiting the church for an organ recital (Auditions du Dimanche). The church is supposed to have one of the best acoustics in all Paris (or maybe the best).
- The neighborhood is beautiful with architecture gems in the little streets around.
The “Grand classic” walking tour in Saint Germain des Prés with Ann Jeanne in Paris
- A private tour in one of the most classic and elegant part of Paris. Saint Germain des Prés is synonymous with chic and Parisian culture.Along our way :
One of oldest church in Paris, Hemingway’s favorite restaurant, where Sartre used to live, one of the oldest church in Paris, a chocolate shop which opened more than 250 years ago, a strange art gallery which exhibits only one work of art at a time, the favorite café where Fine art students still use to meet, the café where Sartre and Beauvoir used to philosophize and write , you’ll taste among the best macarons in the city of light, and if you choose to, some beautiful cream puffs too from a shop specialized in this pastry. You’ll see (and visit if you’d like to) the studio where Delacroix used to live and paint, the oldest café in Paris, the exact place where the guillotine was first tried, you’ll walk in a charming cobblestone alleyway…etc
A tour with Ann Jeanne in Paris is also a way to meet a Parisian and to know more about Paris culture and everyday life, and to experience Paris as a true Parisian. And I will answer your questions to help you to get the most of your stay in Paris (tips, informations…)
Half day or whole day private tour to experience Paris and Saint Germain des Prés as a true Parisian contact me
- More details about booking and pricing
- More details about Ann Jeanne in Paris
- More details about Ann Jeanne in Paris ‘other private walking tours (Quartier Latin, Montmartre, The Atmospheric 19th century tour…)