📍Paris, France 🇫🇷
The first king of the Franks, Clovis I, had a church built at the top of Mount Leucotilius where he wished to be buried together with his wife, Saint Clotilde, by the side of Saint Geneviève - the Patron Saint of Paris. After it was rededicated as the abbey church of the royal Abbey of Sainte-Geneviève. The abbey church also served as the parish church for the surrounding area until it became too small to accommodate all the faithful. In 1222, Pope Honorius III authorised the establishment of an autonomous church, which was devoted this time to Saint Stephen, then the Patron Saint of the old cathedral of Paris. By the end of the 15th century, Saint-Étienne having grown too small, the present church was built, upgraded and enlarged to finally be completed in 1624.
There are a few churches as specific and precious as Saint-Étienne-du-Mont in Paris. At the front entrance of the church, one can see a specific, even strange, blend of three different styles. The façade is indeed a transition period between the flamboyant Gothic style and the Renaissance style inspired by Greek-Roman antiques. At the ground level, the doorway is reminiscent of a Greek temple and the structure is topped y a high Gothic pinnacle. But what makes Saint-Étienne precious is the luminous interior where the choir screen and the keystone above the altar represents the real masterpiece of sculpting and craftsmanship. Also, the organ case was assembled and carved in 1631 by Jehan Buron, master-joiner. It is the oldest one in Paris, still in its original state.
On October 22nd 1793 the famous shrine of Saint Generviève was melted down, the bones were burnt and the ashes thrown into the Seine by the French Revolutionary during the Reign of Terror. The chapel was rebuilt in 1853 in neo-Gothic style containing the remaining stones of the initial sarcophagus where the body of Saint Geneviève had been laid.
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