The State of Paris Churches

Posted in on site, the 18th century in the news by Editor on March 28, 2011

The last time I was in Paris (January 2010), I was especially struck by the city’s churches. Apart from Notre Dame, these seem to be largely overlooked by both travelers and (all too often) scholars. Apparently, those in charge of preserving the city’s historic sites may also be neglecting them; at least this is the contention of Didier Rykner.

Didier Rykner, “The State of Churches in Paris (1): Saint-Philippe-du-Roule,” The Art Tribune (18 December 2010).

Jean-François Chalgrin, Saint-Philippe-du-Roule, 1774-84 (Photo by Vincent Babilotte, Wikimedia Commons)

This article inaugurates a new series devoted to Parisian churches. Although we often point out endangered religious sites, those here in the capital have escaped our attention thus far as we tend to assume that they are well protected. Unfortunately, this is not at all the case. The department in charge of preserving and restoring art works and mural paintings (the COARC) works diligently on important projects, certain restorations of major sections of buildings have also been carried out in the past few years by the Bureau des Edifices Cultuels & Historiques (BECH), but the need is so great and some churches are so deteriorated that it is now time to admit that this is not enough. . . .

To show our good faith and thus also more positive points, some of the articles in our series will highlight churches which have been restored, or where work is underway. We begin today, however, with a building which is in extremely grave danger, though not visible to visitors who enter: the church of Saint-Philippe-du-Roule. It was built in the late 18th century, designed by Jean-François Chalgrin who submitted his plans in 1764 although construction did not begin until 1774 and the blessing of the church took place only in 1784. . . .

The full article on Saint-Philippe-du-Roule and its deteriorating condition is available here»