This is one of my favourite offbeat Paris spots in the 4th arrondissement, one you can’t see from the street. The Billettes cloister is Paris’ only remaining cloister from the Middle-Ages… and for sure it will make a great discovery not far from the busy BHV shopping centre.
The Billettes cloister, a medieval site in central Paris
The cloister was built in 1427 for the convent of the Brothers of Charity Hospital of Our Lady, also called Billettes. The first church on the site was raised in 1294. It was rebuilt in the mid-18th century in neo-Classical style. The cloister itself faced a series of restoration. It was surmounted by residential buildings in the 17th and 19th centuries.
The Billettes cloister is rather small. It comprises four galleries bordered by flamboyant arches. The vaulted galleries show simple Gothic ribbed vaults.
The cloister and the adjoining church were desecrated at the French Revolution. In 1808, Napoleon authorised the City of Paris to acquire the church and its cloister to be a place of worship for the Lutheran community in the French capital.
Today the quiet cloister is often used as an exhibition place for young artists.
- Location: 22 to 26 rue des archives, 4th arrondissement
- Closest métro station: Hôtel de Ville (métro lines 1 and 11)
Lastly, did you know that the French term for “cloister” is “cloître” (masculine)? It used to be the same word but the ‘s’ was replaced in French by a circumflex on the ‘i’. This applied for various words such as hospital – hôpital, hostel – hôtel, isle – île… see the pattern?
Find out more about the cloister
Read more about the level crossing in Paris on these websites/blogs:
- Le cloître des Billettes by Paristoric (French and English)
- Temple des Billettes the website of the adjacent Protestant church (French)
- Le cloître des Billettes by Paris Bise Art (French)
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