1902 Encyclopedia > Paris > Churches

(Part 6)


The largest and finest of the religious buildings of Paris is the cathedral of Notre Dame (426 feet long by 164 wide), restored between 1846 and 1879 by Viollet-de-Duc. As it now exists this church has five naves running the whole length of the building, and square chapels; the central fleche, recently restored, is 312 feet high, and two massive square towers worthy crown the principal façade, which is one of the most beautiful that has come down to us from the Midele Ages. The transept has also two facades, which, while less imposing, are more richly decorated with chiseled work, dating from about the middle of the 13th century. Of the elaborate decoration of the interior all that is old is a part of the screen of the choir, from the 14th century.

St. Genevieve or the Pantheon, consecrated by the Convention to illustrious men, but since restored to Christian worship, has the form of a Greek cross with a dome in the center and a columned portico in front, the pediment of which contains an immense bas-relief by David of Angers representing great men crowned by their country. Fenelon, Rousseau, Voltaire, Mirabeau, laplace, Cuvier, &c., may be distinguished. The crypt contains the tombs of Soufflot (the architect of the church), Rousseau, Voltiare, &c. Near St Genevieve stand St Etienne du Mont with a magnificent roodloft, and the chapel of St Genevieve with the tomb of this patrones of paris. The Medeleine, intended by Napoleon I., for a temple of victory, has consequently the form of a Greek temple. At St Germain des Pres, St Severin, and St Vincent de Paul are beautiful frescos by Hippolyte Flandrin, to whom a monument has been erected in St Germain. St Eustache contains Colbert’s tomb; St Germain l’Auxerrois has a curious proch; and St Sulpice, which is nearly as large as Notre Dame, presents in its main front the most vigorous effort yet made to apply classical arcitecture in the building of Christian churches. Notre Dame des Victories is a great resort of pilgrims. The church of the Vow of the Sacred Heart, at present in course of erection on Montmartre, will when finished be one of the most remarkable buildings in Paris from it commanding site, the extent of its crypt, and the vast proportions of its dome and tower, respectively 197 and 262 feet in height.

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