History of Église Saint-Sulpice

Paris Travel Blog

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Saint-Sulpice is a famous Parisian church on the east side of the Place Saint-Sulpice, in the Luxembourg Quarter of the VIe arrondissement. At 113 meters long, 58 meters in width and 34 meters tall, it is only slightly smaller than Notre-Dame and thus the second largest church in Paris. It is dedicated to Sulpitius the Pious. During the 1700s, an elaborate gnomon was constructed in the church.


The present church is the second building, erected over an ancient Romanesque church originally constructed during the 13th century. Additions were made over the centuries, up to 1631. The new building was founded in 1646 by parish priest Jean-Jacques Olier (1608-1657] who had established the Society of Saint-Sulpice, a clerical congregation, and a seminary attached to the church.

Work continued for about 140 years: The church was mostly completed in 1732, but the facade at the west end was not begun before 1776.

The result is a simple two-storey west front with three tiers of elegant columns. The overall harmony of the building is, some say, only marred by the mismatched two towers; one, to the design of Jean François Chalgrin, was added shortly before the French Revolution but the second was never begun.

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photo by: lasersurge