Saint-Germain-des-Prés abbey in Paris

The Saint-Germain-des-Prés Abbey (Abbaye de Saint-Germain-des-Prés), which includes the current Saint-Germain-des-Prés church, is a former Benedictine, located in the current 6th arrondissement of Paris (France). Founded in the middle of the 6th century under the name of the Basilica of the Holy Cross and Saint Vincent by the Merovingian king Childebert I and Saint Germain, Bishop of Paris, it owes its current name to the latter.

It is a royal abbey, which therefore benefits from an exemption and is directly subject to the pope. The first abbey church was dedicated on April 23, 558 to the Holy Cross and Saint Vincent of Zaragoza. This basilica had marble columns, a paneled ceiling and glass windows. It was a royal necropolis until the creation of that of the Saint-Denis basilica and the relics of Saint Germain were venerated there, but no more medieval burials remain to this day and the relics have considerably diminished.

The church was rebuilt by Abbot Morard from the end of the 10th century. The first four levels of the western bell tower, the nave and the transept of the current church date back to this period, in which we can notably see interesting capitals from around the year 1000. The current choir was built in the middle of the 12th century in the early Gothic style and consecrated by Pope Alexander III on April 21, 1163.

It is one of the first Gothic buildings, which contributed to the diffusion of this new style and is of very important archaeologically. The convent buildings were rebuilt successively during the 13th century, and an abbey chapel inspired by the Sainte-Chapelle was built by the architect Pierre de Montreuil then dedicated to the Virgin; the whole was demolished at the beginning of the 19th century.

The establishment of the Maurist reform in 1630 made the abbey a center of great scholarship. But the Revolution imposed the suppression of all the abbeys and, for Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the end came on February 13, 1792. The church soon became a saltpeter factory and worship was not reestablished there until the 29 April 1803.

Since then, the church has been exclusively parochial. Between 1821 and 1854, the church, put to the test during the revolutionary period, was restored by the architects Étienne-Hippolyte Godde and Victor Baltard.

It is classified as a historic monument by the list of 1862 and the remains of the abbey are registered by the decree of October 26, 19533. The Saint-Germain-des-Prés church is the oldest of the large Parisian churches and is located at the center of the life of a living and dynamic parish.

The quadrilateral between the streets of l’Échaudé, Gozlin, Saint-Benoît and Jacob marks the limits of the enclosure of the abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

Address: 3 Pl. Saint-Germain des Prés, 75006 Paris, France.


Friday Open 24 hours
Saturday Open 24 hours
Sunday 9:30 AM–8 PM
Monday 9:30 AM–8 PM
Tuesday Open 24 hours
Wednesday Open 24 hours
Thursday Open 24 hours

Phone: +33 1 55 42 81 10

Burials: Pierre de Montreuil, René Descartes
Architectural style: Romanesque architecture
Architect: Pierre de Montreuil
Opened: 1641
Founder: Childebert I.

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