Eglise Saint Joseph des Carmes Church in Paris

The Church of Saint Joseph Carmelite is situated in the heart of the Catholic Institute of Paris, with tours available along with masses, and with its crypt, there is fascinating history behind the building that you can discover.

A bit of history

The Eglise Saint Joseph des Carmes was constructed for the Carmelites from the reform by Saint Terese of Avila when they came to France after the death of King Henry IV, at the request of Pope Paul V.
Eglise Saint Joseph des Carmes Paris
They were greeted by Marie de Medici in an open area by the Rue de Vaugirard, and the queen laid the first stone for the new church here on 20th July, 1613, however, the work was not completed until 1620.

Yet even after completion of the first Italian built dome in Paris, with the help of funding from several large families related to the Carmelite order, this church in Paris was not dedicated until 21st December 1625.

However, it was during the French Revolution that the history of the Eglise Saint Joseph des Carmes took on a totally different role and was the scene of horrific events, because in the August of 1792, the church was turned into a prison for refractory priests who had refused to swear allegiance to the Civil Constitution.

More than 160 priests were detained at the church and on 2nd September 1792 around 115 priests and bishops were executed with a knife in the garden, and the relics of these martyrs are honoured within the crypt.

About Eglise Saint Joseph des Carmes Church

The Carmelite nun, Mother Camille Soyecourt, purchased the church and convent in the 19th century after the French Revolution had well and truly finished and began a restoration project to return it to its former glory.

The facade was rebuilt in the same way as before and the two niches house statues of Saint Teresa and Saint Joseph, plus the crypt also holds the tomb of Blessed Frederic Ozanam, who was the founding principal of the conferences of Saint Vincent de Paul.

The Italian Baroque architectural style is fascinating for many, yet the history of the Eglise Saint Joseph des Carmes, is also what makes this one of the unusual tourist attractions in Paris, and people are freely allowed to visit this church, which is now classified as one of the historical monuments in Paris.

Masses are still held at certain times on certain days, such as at 12.15pm on weekdays from September through to July and during the week, the Blessed sacrament is he tabernacle of the Chapel of Saint Anne.
Dome roof painting at Eglise Saint Joseph des Carmes
Alter inside Eglise Saint Joseph des Carmes
There is also a priest available to welcome you on a Wednesday from 11am through to noon and confessions are also possible.

In addition to these, guided tours of the church and crypt are also available on a Saturday at 3pm, which are completely free and are run by a team of volunteers from the Art, Culture and Faith Association.

Access to Eglise Saint Joseph des Carmes Church

During the week, access to the church is through the Catholic Institute of Paris at 21 Rue d'Assas, whereas on a Saturday evening and a Sunday the entry to the church is at 70 Rue de Vaugirard.

When it comes to the tours, the rendezvous point for these is also at 70 Rue de Vaugirard, and there is a booklet available upon request to discover even more.
Wall painting inside Eglise Saint Joseph des Carmes
And even though the actual Catholic Institute along with the Musee Bible et Terre Sainte and the Musee Edouard Branly museums are all closed during the academic holidays and the summer months, the church is still open during weekdays in this period.

Now if you are utilising the public transport in Paris, then the nearest Metro station is called rennes via line 12 followed by the St Placide stop on line 4.  Then you have the Sulpice stop via line 4 and Sevres-Babylone Metro station serving lines 10 and 12.  However, the bus numbers 58, 83, 84, 89, 94 and 96 will also get you close to the Eglise saint Joseph des Carmes church.

Plus there are numerous other tourist attractions in Paris that you can visit, which are located close by in the 6th Arrondissement, like the Musee Hebert, the Musee du Compagnonnage and the Jardin du Luxembourg, which is the fabulous garden in Paris by the Palais du Luxembourg palace and the museum.