Prieure Saint-Martin-des-Champs Priory
This historical priory is home to the Musee des Arts et Metiers, which holds an unusual collection of instruments and gadgets, yet the Saint-Martin-des-Champs church is also worth a visit in its own right due to its architecture, the decoration and much more.
About Prieure Saint-Martin-des-Champs Priory
When you look back at the history of the Saint-Martin-des-Champs Priory and Church you will find that it was founded back in the 1100s and although much of it has been destroyed over the centuries, there are parts that have remained, have been altered or been fully restored.
So, today, you can of course still view the outside and some of the Gothic architecture, but also inside when you decide to visit the Musee des Arts et Metiers, there is much to admire including a 14th century fresco, which is located on the pillar to the entrance of the choir. And known as a Pieta, this fresco is an impressive example of the former liturgical use of the building, which has now been classified as an historical monument in Paris.
You can discover the Saint-Martin-des-Champs vault, which was originally covered in lacquer panelling accentuated with colours and figures of agriculture, along with an interior of polychrome decoration, plus detailing that was produced in the Second Empire and has been fully restored to its former glory.
Yet there are many parts of the original Medieval influence that still remain including the name, as originally the priory was outside of the City of Paris limits, which is why it got the name of the Prieure Saint-Martin-des-Champs, and champs being fields, just like in the Champs Elysees.
But getting back to the church or priory itself, you can still admire the dining hall that was turned into the reading room and the library of the Musee des Arts et Metiers museum way back in 1798, along with its vaults and ambulatory.
Plus the choir and apse chapels of Saint-mArtin-des-Champs are some of the earliest surviving examples of Gothic architecture in Paris and including the bell tower along with the priory buildings that remain, have now been added to the inventory of historical moments.
And this classification was altered for its future protection, rather than just a part of the church and priory which had already been classified prior to the more recent renovations under taken in the 1990s, so now the whole site is protected and will be a popular tourist attraction in Paris for many years to come.
Visiting Saint-Martin-des-Champs Church in Paris
As you have already no doubt gathered, this former church in Paris is not one you can visit for worship, because it is purely dedicated to the Musee des Arts et Metiers, but being classified as a historical monument you can combine this rich piece of history with a visit to the historical museum.
Now you will find the Saint-Martin-des-Champs priory located in the 3rd Arrondissement within the Square du General Morin and with restored Gothic architecture it is great to view from the outside, but is open for people to admire the inside while visiting the Museum of Arts and Crafts inside.
This incredible attraction in Paris is open from 10am through to 6pm on a Tuesday through to a Sunday, yet on a Thursday, there is late opening until 9.30pm, but it is always closed on a Monday, along with certain National French holidays such as 1st May and 25th December.
And when it comes to getting here via public transport in Paris, the nearest Metro station is the Arts et Metiers stop via lines 3 and 11. Yet if you manage to arrive on the platform of line 11 of the Metro Arts et Metiers stop, you will be in for a very pleasant surprise, as this has been completely redone in collaboration of the Musee des Arts et Metiers.
However, there is another Metro station reasonably close by as well, which is called the Reaumur-Sebastopol stop serving line 4, or alternatively the bus numbers 20, 38, 47 or 75 will also get you close by.