Église Saint-Germain-des-Pres

The Église Saint-Germain-des-Pres is the oldest church in the whole Paris. The history of its construction dates back to the 6th century, and that puts its age at slightly over 1500 years. Childebert established it as a sanctuary for the True Cross which was obtained from Spain back in 542. It was also dedicated to St Vincent and consecrated by Germain, a Bishop of Paris who later became a Saint. The church was popular with the people of those medieval times, and it quickly became a busy site with both cultural and religious meaning, and a town where people would interact. However the church was not immune to the instability associated with the ages as it was frequently set ablaze and destroyed. The Église Saint-Germain-des-Pres was properly rebuilt in 1014 and it was dedicated to Saint Germain of Paris in 1163. The church had an abbey which had been destroyed during the Revolution when fortunately, the church remained unharmed.

The architectural design of the Church of Saint Germain is rich with inspirations from different ages being incorporated into its gothic appearance. The current Abbey was built around the early 1600s, and has a Romanesque appeal, which is consistent with that of the church. There is a porch tower, which took 14 years to be built, starting from 990, and whose sturdy building is something that amazes, considering the heavy weights of the bells that it holds. Because of its age, the Church of Saint Germain, and by extension the bell tower, are relished as they provide an insight into what life and architecture was like 9 centuries ago. There are marble columns that are the only surviving remains of the abbey church which was originally built at the site.

The Roman influencing architecture is easily noticeable in the details of the interior, more so with the nave. The choir has a gothic appeal, and this is expected since gothic architecture was starting to gain acceptance at the time. There are paintings present from artists of the time, and most of them retain a Romanesque appeal. A chapel in the Church of Saint Germain holds the tomb of the great philosopher Rene Descartes, though it is said that only his heart resides there, and that his body is in the Panthéon.

A trip to the Église Saint-Germain-des-Pres would be rewarding to say the least. As a matter of fact, it is not only the longest standing medieval church in Paris, but it also depicts Roman influenced architecture that was common at the time before gothic influence came to change it all. There are recitals and concerts which are held at the venue. The experience is pleasant, especially when you take in mind the great acoustics at the church and the atmosphere created by the Middle Ages architecture. Saint Germain Des Pres has some renowned cafes such as the Café de Flore, so you have a place to treat yourself after the journey to the legendary church. Les Deux Maggots is also a popular tourist destination, with its historical reputation preceding it.