Located in the 5th Arrondissement of Paris, the Eglise-Saint-Etienne-du-Mont is an historical Catholic church open daily to visitors and pilgrims, plus for masses, etc and also houses the shrine of Sainte Genevieve, the Patron Saint of Paris.
About Eglise Saint-Etienne-du-Mont
The Eglise Saint-Etienne-du-Mont is an impressive church with an unusual style that was constructed centuries ago during the transitional period between the flamboyant Gothic style and the Renaissance style and its appearance is trully unique within Paris.
Although it was originally designed as a Gothic style church, due to the length of time it took to fully complete you can see marked differences within the decoration, especially inside such as pointed arches through to rounded arches.
In fact, the history of Eglise Saint-Etienne-du-Mont is fascinating in itself, especially going back to the origins, even before construction began in the 1500s, and the Choir Screen constructed early on in its development is the only one still visible in any Paris church, as most were dismantled during the 1700s.
Classed as a Hall Church of almost 70 metres in length and over 25 metres in width, this is not just a tourist attraction, it is also a site for people on a pilgrimage, yet it is also still a fully functional Catholic church with masses and services, along with Baptisms of both children and adults, Confirmations and Communions that can be organised.
In addition to this, the organs of the Eglise Saint-Etienne-du-Mont have titular organists and concerts are also organised throughout the year, yet they also welcome other renowned organists and musicians to perform within the church, so if you would like to know more about this, then you would need to contact the director on +33 (0) 6 30 26 76 60.
Discovering the Eglise Saint-Etienne-du-Mont
Now when it comes to discovering the Eglise Saint-Etienne-du-Mont, you will be able to see the shrine of Saint Genevieve in a chapel dedicated to this Patron Saint of Paris where her remaining relics are preserved including fragments of her original sarcophagus that was destroyed during the French Revolution, and every year in January the Saint Genevieve Novena is celebrated.
You will find that the majority of the facade dates from the 1600s, as does the apse and the three sided cloister within the church, however, the Choir Screen is even older this. And in the Middle Ages, a choir screen was used to separate monks and canons from the lay people, plus there would be a gallery for the liturgy, or Holy Word, yet most of these were destroyed in the 1700s.
So even though a pulpit was added to the Eglise Saint-Etienne-du-Mont in the mid 1600s so that the congregation could see the liturgy, the screen and gallery in both a Gothic and Renaissance style has remained intact, which is now the only one visible in Paris, and the historical pulpit crafted in a Baroque style has also survived to this day.
We mentioned earlier about the organ and concerts, and the case was originally carved in the 1630s, and is now the oldest one in Paris in its original state, yet only some of the 7000 pipes ranging from 3mm to 5.5 metres are visible, but the organ itself has been redone several times, with nothing remaining of the original by the organ maker, Pierre Pescheur, but the most recent from the 1800s is by Cavaille Col, still being used by the titular organist and is ranked as the 5th organ in Paris.
However, on top of this, the Eglise Saint-Etienne-du-Mont has one of the most complete and comprehensive sets of stained glass windows in Paris, mostly dating from the 16th century and the start of the 17th century including twelve of the original twenty-four in the gallery known as the Charnel Cloister, which were enamels painted onto the glass and then fired.
You will also find that as well as the shrine and chapel of Saint Genevieve, the French philosopher Blaise Pascal, and the playwright Jean Racine are also buried in this church. Plus another famous person, Frederic Ozanam, a missionary who founded the Saint-Vincent-de-Paul Society, chose the Eglise Saint-Etienne-du-Mont as the parish church for the first conference of the society, and Pope John Paul II beatified Frederic Ozanam in this church on 22nd August 1997, on the occasion of World Youth Days.
Holy Services and Masses at Eglise Saint-Etienne-du-Mont
Although this is a popular tourist attraction that welcomes visitors, it is also a working Catholic church, and therefore there are different Holy Services held each day, and during these it is requested that people do not wander around, so as not to disrupt the service or disturb people attending.
When it comes to school term time, during the weekdays a Holy Service is conducted on a Monday at 6.45pm and on a Tuesday through to Friday at 12.15pm and 6.45pm. Another is conducted on a Saturday at 11am, although Mass is conducted on a Saturday at 6.45pm.
On a Sunday, Mass is conducted at 9am, 11am and at 6.45pm, and during the 11am Mass the Eglise Saint-Etienne-du-Mont offers infant minding facilities, an introduction to faith for children aged between 3 and 6 years of age, along with a dedicated Childrens Mass for those aged between 7 and 11.
However, when it comes to school holidays, there is a Holy Service conducted on a Tuesday through to Friday at 6.45pm and one on Saturday at 11am. Then the Sunday Masses are conducted on a Saturday evening at 6.45pm and on a Sunday itself at 11am and 6.45pm.
Visiting Eglise Saint-Etienne-du-Mont
You will find that the Eglise Saint-Etienne-du-Mont is located in the 5th Arrondissement of Paris, virtually next to The Pantheon, and the nearest Metro station is the Cardinal Lemoine stop serving Line 10, yet the nearest RER train station is the Luxembourg stop serving the RER B Line.
However, if you are travelling via bus, then the lines 38, 47, 63, 82, 86, 87, 89 and the Noctilien night bus service N14, N15, N22 and the N122 will also get you close by to this historical monument and other attractions nearby, like The Pantheon.
Now when it comes to opening times, during school term time the Eglise Saint-Etienne-du-Mont is open on a Monday from 6.30pm through to 7.30pm, on a Tuesday through to Friday from 8.45am through to 7.45pm, although on a Wednesday the church does not close until 10pm. However, on a Saturday it is open from 8.45am through to midday, then from 2pm through to 7.45pm and on a Sunday from 8.45am through to 12.15pm and from 2.30pm through to 7.45pm.
Yet during the school holidays the Eglise Saint-Etienne-du-Mont is open on a Tuesday through to Saturday from 10am to midday and from 4pm to 7.45pm, but on a Sunday the opening times are from 10am through to 12.45pm and from 4pm to 6.45pm.
But you may be pleased to know that guided visits are also organised by the church throughout the year, which are always conducted at 3pm, with the meeting point being under the organ. So this is when you can discover even more about its history, such as the architecture, choir screen, the relics of Sainte Genevieve and as a pilgrimage site, etc.