From the Chapel of St. Agnes
At the present church

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.

Saint-Eustache: a bit of history

Historical route

Famous characters

Il est difficile de dresser la liste complète des personnages illustres dont le souvenir se rattache à Saint-Eustache. A partir du dix-septième siècle, et jusqu’à la Révolution, cette église a le titre de “paroisse royale” ; elle est fréquentée à la fois par l’humble peuple des Halles – marchands et artisans – et par la noblesse qui loge sur son territoire et possède des chapelles dans l’église.

Richelieu est baptisé à Saint-Eustache, ainsi que Molière. La Fontaine est enterré à Saint-Eustache. En 1649, le jeune Louis XIV fait sa première communion. C’est là aussi que le Père Senault, de l’Oratoire, prononce l’oraison funèbre d’Anne d’Autriche en 1666 ; et dix ans plus tard, Fléchier celle de Turenne ; Massillon prêche à plusieurs reprises, notamment en 1704 où il donna son fameux sermon sur “le petit nombre des élus”. Le 30 décembre 1721 est baptisée une enfant nommée Jeanne Poisson, qui sera connue sous le nom de Mme de Pompadour. Le 4 juillet 1778, Mozart vient pleurer à Saint-Eustache, aux funérailles de sa mère ; quelques années après, le corps de Mirabeau y est déposé en grande pompe; Le 30 avril 1855, Berlioz dirige à Saint-Eustache l’éxécution de son “Te Deum” et le 15 mars 1866, Liszt assiste à la première audition de sa messe solennelle, dite de “Gran”.

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