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!
Tryptique “La vie du Christ” de Keith Haring
One of the elements that makes the richness and diversity of the parish. These are the works of famous artists who have populated his edifice over the centuries, whether they are from Vouet, Rubens, Pigalle, Baltard, or more recently from Raymond Mason, Keith Haring or John Armleder.
With its plan and structure, Saint-Eustache is the daughter of Notre-Dame de Paris: nave flanked by double aisles and chapels, wide non-protruding transept outside, choir surrounded by a double ambulatory and a row of chapels.
The architecture of Saint-Eustache was the object of the most contradictory judgments: some reveal a passionate admiration, the others the most extreme severity.
In 1922, the Archbishop of Paris entrusted the parish of Saint-Eustache to the priests of the oratory. This small society of priests has a dual historical origin; In Rome in the 16th century with Saint Philippe Neri and in France, in the 17th century, with Cardinal Pierre de Bérulle. The Oratory currently has about forty priests devoted to an apostolic activity in the context of a community life.
Gathered around a spirituality centered on the incarnation of Christ, the Oratorians are first priests in the service of the church.
Present in the heart of the cities, they strive to be attentive to people who sometimes live in difficult and different urban situations. They are responsible for 3 churches: Saint-Eustache in Paris, Saint-Bonaventure sanctuaries in Lyon and Saint-Ferréol in Marseille.
Traditionally concerned with issues related to education and transmission, they are now present in the animation of several schools.
«Doing nothing would freeze the walk of time and leave to our successors an even heavier task.
Since the launch of the construction of Saint-Eustache in 1532, the church has adapted to its time, to the mutations of the world, of the city, of society. Today, the Halles district, in the heart of Paris, is experiencing new developments. Saint-Eustache, nourished by history, must accompany these evolutions, to continue the work of our ancestors... »
George Nicholson, from the Oratory, Former parish priest of Saint-Eustache