Although Saint-Sulpice seems diminutive compared to Notre Dame, it is only slightly smaller. It is actually Paris’ second largest church. Its Roman roots date back to the 13th Century but the bulk of the construction and renovations were done much later in the early 1600’s. A new sanctuary, ambulatory, transept, portal and chapels were added on in the latter part of the 17th Century and into the 18th.
Often overlooked for the more popular churches like Notre Dame and Sacre Coeur, its claim to fame is that Saint-Sulpice is home to the best organ music in Paris. People flock from all over to see and hear the organ that is one of the greatest in all of Europe.
François-Henri Cliquot who was part of a family dynasty of master organ builders constructed the organ. Years later, the famous Aristide Cavaillé-Coll took the already impressive organ and reconstructed it and added major improvements. It is considered the best organ to survive the countless changes that the modern-day era has attempted. Famous organists have flocked to Saint-Sulpice to play this magnificent masterpiece. Today there are two regular organists who play during the Catholic masses. Concerts are given regularly, and of course, if you attend mass you will get to hear one of the world’s best organists play for free. At other times you just might be lucky enough to happen upon one of the organists practicing.
The windows of Saint-Sulpice are more sedate than other churches in Paris, but beautiful nonetheless. Even on the darkest of days in Paris, the windows gather the light and provide quite a display of bright stained glass works of art to digest. Worth noting, many works of art by important historical figures such as Jean-Baptiste Pigalle, and Eugène Delacroix can also be found in this church. Just a stones throw from the Luxembourg Gardens, I find Saint-Sulpice a “must see” while visiting Paris.
Saint-Sulpice: rue Bonaparte on the east side of Place Saint-Sulpice
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