On the way from the island of the city to the hill of Montmartre, close to the enclosure of Philippe Auguste, a modest chapel was built in 1213; It became a parish church, consecrated to Saint-Eustache, welcoming relics of this Roman martyr, given by the Abbey of Saint-Denis.
Over the years, the population continues to grow; We need to expand the church. The first stone of the present church is laid on August 19, 1532, under Francis 1, without knowing the name of the first architect. Even if the construction lasted more than a century, the visitor who enters Saint-Eustache for the first time, does not fail to be struck by his unit. On April 26, 1637, the church was finally consecrated by Jean-François de Gondi, Archbishop of Paris.
In 1655, Colbert, parishioner and first churchwarden of Saint-Eustache, arranged two chapels under the towers of the façade, which severely undermined its strength. The façade and the first span of the nave and aisles must be demolished. On May 22, 1754, the Duke of Chartres – Future Philippe-equality – lays the first stone of the current portal. The plans had been prepared by Jean-Hardouin Mansart de Jouy; The construction, continued by Pierre-Louis Moreau, remained unfinished... until today!
The Adventures of the church are not over; In 1793, it was closed to the Catholic cult to become a temple of agriculture. Reopened in 1795, it is partially conceded to théophilanthropes: serious damage is caused to the church and its furniture.
by Flappiefh [CC by-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
The nineteenth century is going to be, for Saint-Eustache As for many other Parisian monuments, the era of reparations and restorations. From 1846 to 1854, a complete restoration of the building is led by Victor Baltard (who draws the organ buffet, the pulpit, the master altar, and supervises the rehabilitation of all the paintings). The latter makes Ausi build the pavilions for the market of the halls, which will be demolished in the years 1970.
After the events of 1870-1871, repairs were done to the attic, foothills and south facade; From 1928 to 1929, the façade was reviewed and consolidated. The departure from the Halles market to Rungis, in the southern suburbs of Paris, greatly modifies the area, with the creation of a regional transport hub, a large shopping centre and cultural activities. The destruction of the Baltard pavilions reveals the church as one of the main elements of the neighbourhood.
In the years 1990, after many difficulties, the organ was restored by a Dutch house – Van den Heuvel – Saint-Eustache now has one of the most important instruments in France. For several years, the city of Paris, owner of the building, has been carrying out very important works of renovation outside and inside.
It is difficult to draw up a complete list of the illustrious characters whose memory is associated with Saint-Eustache. From the seventeenth century until the revolution, this church was the title of "Royal Parish"; It is frequented both by the humble people of the halls – merchants and artisans – and by the nobility that lodges in its territory and has chapels in the church.
Richelieu is baptized in Saint-Eustache, as well as Molière. The fountain is buried in Saint-Eustache. In 1649, the young Louis XIV made his first communion. It was also here that Father Senault, from the oratory, pronounced the funeral eulogy of Anne of Austria in 1666; And ten years later, flexing that of Turenne; Massillon preached on several occasions, notably in 1704, where he gave his famous sermon on "The small number of the elect". On December 30, 1721 is baptized a child named Jeanne Poisson, who will be known as Madame de Pompadour. On July 4, 1778, Mozart came to mourn at Saint-Eustache, at the funeral of his mother; A few years later, Mirabeau's body was deposited there in great pomp; On April 30, 1855, Berlioz directed in Saint-Eustache the execution of his "Te Deum" and on March 15, 1866, Liszt attended the first hearing of his solemn mass, called "Gran".