Sunday, August 1, 2010

Saint-Nicholas du Chardonnet

Ma fille Holly and I have stayed in the same hotel (and same room) for many trips to Paris, and Saint-Nicholas du Chardonnet as shown in the photo below this text is the primary view from our window over rue des Bernardins. Although the photos I took in June this year show few people, the church we have watched over the years is an active, vibrant church in the 5th arrondisement. When the bells ring on Saturday at 6pm and again on Sunday morning, the street in front of the church is busy with multi-generational families and people of all ages coming and going.

From the exterior, the church is attractive but not singularly stunning. I have found that you must enter a church to know what might be inside, that a very plain building may hide a beautiful interior. St-Nicholas has a very warm feel and is well cared for by its parishioners. The 18th century organ has an exquisite sound and the crystal chandeliers just sparkle. I will bring you here again in December to tell you (photos too) about singing in the streets of the 5th arr.

As a tourist one may appreciate the aesthetic beauty of a place, but as with many Parisian sites there may be historical drama and controversy.


FireintheBreeze (Brittany) said...


Virginia said...

This is a stunning church. I'm sorry I didn't get in there with you this last trip. IT's nice to see them well cared for although most of the churches I've visited weren't as well attended as you'd expect. Beautifully shot Genie!

Alexa said...

Thanks, Genie, for taking me back. This beautiful church is in my old neighborhood—good to know that it's still well cared for by an active parish. So true what you say about what a plain façade may be hiding!

Starman said...

I don't think the façade of this church is plain. I like it muchly.

Harriet said...

Your comments bring back a wonderful memory from our trip in April. Through open hotel windows, we were treated to beautiful singing on the Saturday night before Easter Sunday. We were also staying in the 5e arrondissement, but near a different church.

Genie said...

Brittany -- I wish that the photography (mine) was as breathtaking as the church's interior!

Virginia -- I would have to agree about attendance in general but the December participation is much better than I have observed in the summer months.

Alexa -- We'll have to talk about this neighborhood as the Place Maubert just "feels like home" with the shops and the street market.

Starman -- You are right and I probably should have worded it differently. You see so many magnificent (famous) churches that it is easy to dismiss one that was not mentioned in the tour books. Some of the plain ones do have beautiful interiors. For me, St-Nicholas is both familiar and attractive.

Harriet -- I too love the music you can hear from an open window. You are going back soon?

Yves said...

I think you should know this church is occupied by a far-right organization of roman catholics (called "intégristes").
Those people are really nasty, representing the worst of church in France (church from which they have been expelled by the pope for long)

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

Yves -- Thank you for posting about this. Until I prepared my post and was looking for information on this church I had no idea of its history. For someone who sees a church as a tourist (even a frequent tourist) the controversy is not obvious and certainly at this point there would not be a historical marker on the building.

I did make reference to the problems in my last sentence of the post. Peter of Peter's Paris, who I met on my last trip in June, had mentioned this in his photo posting as well.

Again, thank you for the background and I hope that you will visit again. There is nothing as valuable as the insight of one who lives it.