Once there was an abbey here, founded by Clovis and later dedicated to St. Geneviève, the patroness of Paris. Such was the fame of this popular saint that the abbey proved too small to accommodate the pilgrimage crowds. Now part of the Lycée Henri IV, the Tour de Clovis (Tower of Clovis) is all that remains of the ancient abbey -- you can see the tower from rue Clovis. Today, the task of keeping St. Geneviève's cult alive has fallen on this church, practically adjoining the Panthéon. The interior is Gothic, an unusual style for a 16th-century church. Building began in 1492 and was plagued by delays until the church was finally finished in 1626.
Besides the patroness of Paris, such men as Pascal and Racine were entombed here. Because of the destruction of church records during the French Revolution, church officials aren't sure of the exact locations in which they're buried. St. Geneviève's tomb was destroyed during the Revolution, but the stone on which her coffin rested was discovered later, and her relics were gathered for a place of honor at St-Etienne. The church possesses a remarkable early-16th-century rood screen: Crossing the nave, it's unique in Paris -- called spurious by some and a masterpiece by others. Another treasure is a wood pulpit, held up by Samson, clutching a bone in one hand, with a slain lion at his feet. The fourth chapel on the right when you enter contains impressive 16th-century stained glass.
- © Frommer's 2013
- Highly Recommended 2010
- tel: 01-43-54-11-79
- 1 place Ste-Geneviève, 5e
- With the exception of some of France's school holidays, when hours may vary slightly, the church is open year-round as follows: Mon noon-7:30pm; Tues-Fri 8:45am-7:30pm; Sat 8:45am-12:15pm and 2:30-7:45pm; Sun 8:45am-12:15pm and 2:30-7:45pm
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