The Saint-Sulpice Church is the largest church in Paris since the Notre Dame de Paris is considered a cathedral. Featuring neo-classical style, with Doric and Ionian columns and two different towers, Saint-Sulpice amazes with its simplicity, proportions and works of art.
This church became especially popular after certain key scenes of The Da Vinci Code were filmed here. Read on to find out more why the Saint-Sulpice should be on your itinerary.
Exterior of Saint-Sulpice
The main features of this extraordinary structure are its portico, supported by Doric columns, and a loggia decorated with Ionian columns. Flanking towers are of uneven height and different in style. While the Northern Tower, which is 73 meters (~230 feet) tall, was completed in 1880, the Southern Tower remains the same as it was when the outbreak of the French Revolution (1789 – 1799) interrupted the work on it. The Southern Tower is more slender and shorter (68 meters / 223 ft) than its supposed twin.
In front of the main entrance of the Saint-Sulpice Church, there is a big square with a monumental fountain in its center. Convenient for cooling down during the summertime, it was designed by an Italian architect Louis Visconti, who also designed the tomb of Napoleon I. Known as the Fountain of the Four Cardinal Directions, it features statues of four bishops from Louis XIV’s time, amphorae and coat of arms.
Interior of Saint-Sulpice
An imposing interior features rich works of art, beautiful paintings and one of the finest organs in France, distinguished for exceptional quality of its sound. This is not a surprise, since it was manufactured by Francois-Henri Clicquot and renovated by Aristide Cavaille-Coll, both illustrious organ builders in their times.
Another exceptional feature of the church is “Gnomon”, an obelisk whose purpose was to provide astronomical data and the time of the day, based on the angle of the sun rays falling on it. The date of Easter, for example, was determined this way.
At the top of the apse, the Chapel of our Lady used to be used as a private worshipping place. The statue of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus is the work of Jean-Baptiste Pigalle, a renowned French sculptor.
In the niches throughout the walls of the church, exceptional artwork referring to various episodes and legends of Christianity draw glances. One such episode illustrates future saint, St. Martin, who splits his Roman legionnaire cloak to hand a half of it to a freezing beggar.
Eugene Delacroix’s masterpieces
In the Chapel of the Holy Angels, a few compositions of the extraordinary 19th century painter Eugene Delacroix are to be found. The piece in the photo illustrates Jacob wrestling with an angel that lasted all night, while the other one depicts Heliodorus’ expulsion from the Temple of Jerusalem, where he was sent to loot its treasures.
Useful information about the Saint-Sulpice Church in Paris
The Saint-Sulpice Church organizes free guided tours every Sunday at 2:30 pm and tours of the crypts each 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month. Prior registration is needed for the latter.
Get Trip101 in your inbox
You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101
*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.