Pierre
  • Home
  • Blog
  • Discover the church of Saint-Germain-en-Laye
Gems of Paris by French Moments

The present parish church of Saint-Germain-en-Laye was built in 1827. It is the fourth sanctuary to have been built on the site since 1028. In the beginning of the 18th century it was known as ‘Saint-Germain-de-Paris’. The church is now dedicated to St. Germain and St. Vincent who founded the town at the beginning of the 11th century.


The Church of Saint-Germain-en-Laye

The town seen from the roof of the Saint-Germain-en-Laye castle © French Moments
The church seen from the roof of the Saint-Germain-en-Laye castle © French Moments

The neo-classical style of the sanctuary is emphasised by a monumental façade consisting of a triangular pediment supported by six Tuscan columns. The sculptures of the pediment by Ramey represent Religion surrounded by the four evangelists and the three theological Virtues (Faith, Hope and Love).

Church of Saint-Germain-en-Laye © French Moments
Pediment of the church © French Moments

Above the great portal is an inscription in Latin: ‘D.O.M. sub. inv. S. Germani’ (To the good and great God, under the invocation of St. Germain). St. Germain or Germain of Paris (c. 496-576) was a bishop of Paris born near Autun, Burgundy to noble Gallo-Roman parents. He is not to be confused with Germanus of Auxerre (Saint-Germain d’Auxerre).

Roof of Saint-Germain-en-Laye Castle 34 copyright French Moments
The church’s pediment seen from the roof of the Saint-Germain-en-Laye castle © French Moments

The interior of the Church

The interior of the church has three naves topped by a coffered ceiling referring to the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. The ceiling is supported by twenty-nine ionic columns and four larger pillars more and less rectangular. Suspended above the entrance is the great organ by Cliquot, dating back to the 18th century.

Church of Saint-Germain-en-Laye © French Moments
The nave of the church of Saint-Germain-en-Laye © French Moments

The great nave is decorated with frescoes painted by Eugène Amaury-Duval in 1849.

Church of Saint-Germain-en-Laye © French Moments
Detail of a fresco, church of Saint-Germain-en-Laye © French Moments

The richly ornate pulpit was donated by Louis XIV to the parish church in 1681.

The side-aisles are bordered by seven chapels and a baptistery.

Church of Saint-Germain-en-Laye © French Moments
The baptistery, church of Saint-Germain-en-Laye © French Moments

In the choir, the great central fresco depicts Christ in his glory surrounded by angels and saints. The small organ behind the main altar was created by the famous organ builder Cavaillé-Coll.

Church of Saint-Germain-en-Laye © French Moments
The main altar and choir of the church © French Moments

The Chapel of King James II Stuart

The chapel of King James II Stuart (1633-1701) houses the mausoleum of the exiled English king who was welcomed by Louis XIV.

Church of Saint-Germain-en-Laye © French Moments
The mausoleum of King James II Stuart © French Moments

Following her visit to Saint-Germain-en-Laye in 1855, Queen Victoria paid for the creation of the shrine. A commemorative plaque in both French and English recalls:

In this church is the shrine to the memory of James II the last Stuart King of England who died in exile at the castle of Saint-Germain-en-Laye on September 16th 1701. The monument was erected by Her Majesty Queen Victoria’.

Church of Saint-Germain-en-Laye © French Moments
Commemorative Plaque of James II Stuart © French Moments
Church of Saint-Germain-en-Laye © French Moments
The mausoleum of King James II Stuart © French Moments
Church of Saint-Germain-en-Laye © French Moments
The wall of the chapel of James II Stuart © French Moments

Useful Links about Saint-Germain-en-Laye

The Castle of Saint-Germain-en-Laye © French Moments
The Castle of Saint-Germain-en-Laye © French Moments

Inspired? Pin it for later:

Discover Saint-Germain-en-Laye © French Moments


Some of the links above are affiliates so if you’re planning a trip, using these links helps me keep things running. There’s no extra cost to you. All you have to do is click the link and any booking you make is automatically tracked.

Gems of Paris by French Moments
About the author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management. Pierre is the author of the Discovery Course on the Secrets of the Eiffel Tower and the Christmas book "Voyage au Pays de Noël".

You might want to read these related posts...

Like it? Leave a comment!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Transparency: Some blog posts and pages may contain affiliate or sponsored links. If you are planning a trip, the use of these links helps us to run the site. There is no additional cost to you. All you have to do is click on the link and any booking you make is automatically tracked. Thank you for your support!

SUBSCRIBE TO THE NEWSLETTER AND GET THE FREE EBOOK

20 OFFBEAT PLACES IN PARIS

Ebook 20 amazing offbeat places in Paris front cover