The 10 Best Parisian Churches


A List of the Best Churches of Paris

It's no secret that France once was, and still is, a Catholic nation. So it should be no surprise that the capital, Paris, has hundreds of churches. And since so much money has been invested in these churches, many of them are truly beautiful. So I set out on a mission to see as many as possible and find the best of the best. Here is what my mission came up with:

10. St. Eustache: one of the oldest, and biggest, churches of Paris is still one of the most important. It seems to tower above everything in its neighborhood. It can be seen from many vantage points in Paris. So already its sheer size draws people in. Inside it is simple yet beautiful. Its not golden or painted like many of the other churches. Instead it has stained glass windows and a few sculptures. And the simple beauty in a city so fixated on gold, is refreshing.

St. Eustache Seen from Centre Pompidou

9. St. Roch: this church is in the 1st Arrondissement, so can you say money? Yep, this beauty of a church is able to be beautiful because of the high class area that its in. Not far from the Palais Royal and the Louvre, this church, with a similar facade to St. Paul, is adorned with gold inside. And you know gold always wins me over!

The Organ of St. Roch

8. Eglise de la Trinité: unfortunately, this was under construction at the time of my visit, but if the interior is anything like the outside, it must be absolutely magnificent. The church itself doesn't seem to follow the pattern of all the other French churches. Instead it looks almost Spanish, like I could be looking at it in Spain, or even in Mexico. And this uniqueness is what gave it a spot on this list.

7. St. Sulpice: in the 6ème Arrondissement, which was where many of the great writers of the 1920s liked to spend their time, is St. Sulpice. The church seems to appear out of no where as you wander the streets, and it makes an impressive appearance. Just the outside is reason to check out this church, but the inside doesn't disappoint either.

St. Sulpice

6. St. Germain des Près: the neighborhood St. Germain des Près was the old stomping ground of Ernest Hemingway, so the old church there must have been as beautiful as its neighborhood. And it is. Unlike many of the list, the outside is fairly simple, but the inside is inspiring in its painted beauty. Each little chapel seems to be different than the other, each unique and beautiful, making that the main draw to this church.

Inside St. Germain des Près

5. St. Etienne du Mont: right next to the Pantheon is a beautiful church. Its outside is equally as stunning as the inside. And while it has quite a few traditional aspects, it has some unique features as well, such as a bridge over the altar. This church quickly became one of my favorites.

St. Etienne du Mont

4. St. Paul: in the heart of the Marais is this beautiful church. Its facade is simple but detailed white architecture. But what really makes this church beautiful is the dome inside the church. The amount of carved detail is stunning. And while it is not as gold adorned as many of the great churches in Paris, its simple yet detailed beauty makes it stand out.

St. Paul

3. Sacré Coeur: this beautiful basilica on a hill, like Notre Dame, is a major tourist attraction. And with good reason. As the the byzantine inspired architecture isn't enough, the inside is stunning. The painted dome captivates everyone. And climbing up all those steps just means you can eat a crepe guilt-free on the way back!

Sacre Coeur

2. La Sainte Chapelle: right near Notre Dame is la Sainte Chapelle, built for Louis IX, or St. Louis. The king of France was involved so much in the Catholic Church that he had la Sainte Chapelle built. And it sure is a chapel fit for a king. Can you say gold? But tastefully done. With beautiful stained glass windows, painted ceilings, and a great collection of gold, what's not to love?

Stained Glass Windows of la Sainte Chapelle

1. Notre Dame: there's a reason why so many flock to this cathedral. It's huge, extremely detailed, and beautiful. And it was already famous before Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame. You could spend hours trying to soak in every detail of this church. You can also climb up the bell towers and get an amazing view of Paris. Notre Dame tops this list without any questions.

Notre Dame

Honorable Mention: The Pantheon: technically, this should be a church, since that was its intention when it was built. But after the French Revolution, it became a mausoleum for the great contributors to French society. Inside has beautiful paintings and sculptures inspired by revolution, making this easily my favorite in Paris. It just doesn't fully count enough to make the list!

The Pantheon in Paris

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