Saint-Sulpice Church | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Saint-Sulpice Church

Paris, Ile-de-France, France

Luke Tomes

24 Nov 2020

About Saint-Sulpice Church

Saint-Sulpice Church in Paris is one of the city’s largest churches, being only slightly smaller than Notre Dame Cathedral.

Saint-Sulpice Church history

The present church at Saint-Sulpice is the second building on the site, erected over a Romanesque church originally constructed during the 13th century. Additions were made over the centuries, up to 1631. The new building was founded in 1646 by parish priest Jean-Jacques Olier (1608–1657) who had established the Society of Saint-Sulpice, a clerical congregation, and a seminary attached to the church.

Initial construction of Saint-Sulpice Church took nearly a century to complete, finally consecrated in the name of Saint Sulpitius the Pious. There are various historic architectural and artistic pieces in Saint-Sulpice Church including its impressive grand organ and murals by French artist, Eugène Delacroix.

In 1743, an element of science entered into Saint-Sulpice Church with the construction of a sundial or “gnomon”, which can still be seen there today. It is manifested in the form of a line across the floor ending at an obelisk. For fans of Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code” novel, this gnomon, together with the obelisk, offers a particular draw as the place where the villain monk ‘Silas’ finds a false clue left by the mysterious “Priory of Sion”.

The church is only slightly smaller than Notre-Dame and thus remains the second-largest church in the city.

Saint-Sulpice Church today

The Church of Saint Sulpice is as impressive from the outside as from the inside. Its enormous bare stone walls and columns give the building an incomplete aspect, which is also visible in its towers.

One of the most interesting parts of the temple are Delacroix’s frescos, located on the right hand side of the entrance, in the Chapel of the Holy Angels. In the Church there is also a statue of Saint Peter (very similar to the one in the Basilica of Saint Peter and the Vatican) with a gold foot worn away from having been touched so many times.

The Saint-Sulpice Church is one of the sites in Paris where the ‘Da Vinci Code’ by Dan Brown, best seller in 2003, was filmed. After several months of renovation, the 3 paintings of Eugène Delacroix of the Chapelle des Saints-Anges are now accessible to the public. In case you are wondering how much of the Dan Brown story is true in relation to Saint-Sulpice Church, it does provide an explanation inside which generally deals with what it calls “fanciful allegations”.

Getting to Saint-Sulpice Church

Located in the heart of the 6th arrondissement, the official address of the church is Place Saint-Sulpice, 75006 Paris. If travelling via public transport, take line 4 on the metro and get out at Saint-Sulpice station. There are several car parks nearby.

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