The Église Saint-Sulpice: Exploring the Saint Sulpice Church in Paris, Known for Its Organ and Eugène Delacroix Murals

If you’re looking for an impressive church in Paris, look no further than the Église Saint-Sulpice. This stunning church is home to a beautiful organ and impressive murals. Here’s everything you might want to know about the Church of Saint Sulpice!

saint sulpice

About the Église Saint-Sulpice – History and Meaning

The Église Saint-Sulpice is a Roman Catholic church located in the Latin Quarter of Paris. It’s the second-largest church in the city, after Notre Dame. The name Saint Sulpice comes from Sulpitius the Pious, who was a bishop in the 7th century.

The church was built between 1646 and 1870. The original design was by Christophe Gamard, but the Fronde interfered with construction. After the Lady Chapel was built, Daniel Gittard provided a new design for most of the church.

Construction was halted and resumed several times, which explains why the exterior is a mix of styles – baroque and neoclassical. The twin towers were only completed in the 18th century, to the design of Servandoni.

The church’s most famous feature is its massive organ, which was built by Cavaillé-Coll. It has 6,600 pipes and is considered one of the finest organs in the world. Saint Sulpice also has a long-standing tradition of virtuoso organists, including Nicolas Séjan, Marcel Dupré, and Jean-Jacques Grunenwald.

Saint Sulpice and the Da Vinci Code

The Église Saint-Sulpice has a prominent role in the best-selling book, The Da Vinci Code. In the novel, the protagonist Robert Langdon visits the church to find a key that will help him solve a mystery.

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The author, Dan Brown, included imaginary facts about the church in his book. For example, he claims that the line in the floor is a vestige of a pagan temple. In reality, no such temple ever existed in the church.

There’s a note on display inside that informs the visitors of the claims that are inconsistent with history. Despite the inaccuracies, The Da Vinci Code has helped increase tourism to Saint Sulpice. If you’re a fan of the novel, a visit to this place is a must!

Inside the Saint Sulpice Church – The Organ and More

When you step inside the Église Saint-Sulpice, you’ll be blown away by its grandeur. The vast interior is decorated with marble, gilding, and impressive paintings.

Make sure to take a look at the organ – it’s truly a work of art. It features 102 speaking stops on five manuals and a pedal. The organ is still maintained almost exactly as it was in 1862, when it was first completed.

You can also see the famous line in the floor, which is actually a gnomon. This sundial was requested by priest Jean-Baptiste Languet de Gergy in 1727 and finished in 1743. It was supposed to help determine the time of equinoxes, and hence the time of Easter.

Another notable feature of the church is its paintings. The most famous murals are located in the transept and were painted by Eugène Delacroix. The two massive paintings, Jacob Wrestling with the Angel and Heliodorus Driven from the Temple, were completed around 1855–1861.

Practical Information for Visiting the Church of Saint Sulpice

If you’re planning on visiting the Église Saint Sulpice, here’s what you need to know. The church is open every day from 8 am until 8 pm. Mass times vary depending on the day, so it’s best to check the schedule in advance. Admission is free, but note that there’s a dress code – no shorts or tank tops allowed.

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The church is located on the east side of the Place Saint-Sulpice, in the 6th arrondissement of Paris. In front of it, you can admire the Fontaine Saint-Sulpice, constructed by architect Louis Visconti, who also designed the tomb of Napoleon.

Places to Visit Near the Église Saint-Sulpice

After you’ve visited the church, take some time to explore the surrounding area. The Latin Quarter is a great place to start – it’s full of charming cafés and interesting shops. From there, you can also visit the Notre Dame and Sainte-Chapelle if you haven’t yet.

If you’re looking for something more active, consider going for a walk in the Luxembourg Gardens. This beautiful park is perfect for a sunny day. There’s a museum, beautiful fountains, tennis courts, and more. Other attractions that aren’t too far away from Saint Sulpice are:

  • The Panthéon – a mausoleum where you can find the graves of Victor Hugo, Marie Curie, and other famous French citizens;
  • Musée national Eugène Delacroix – a museum dedicated to the life and work of the famous painter;
  • Shakespeare and Company – a legendary English-language bookstore.

Explore the Parish Church and Immerse Yourself in History

The Saint Sulpice Church is a must-see for anyone visiting Paris. Whether you’re a fan of the Da Vinci Code or not, this church is sure to impress you with its beauty and history. So make sure to add it to your list!

Have you ever been to the Église Saint-Sulpice? What did you think of it? Let us know in the comments below!


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