The architecture of Saint-Eustache was the object of the most contradictory judgments: some reveal a passionate admiration, the others the most extreme severity. The verdict of The Duke is without appeal; The famous architect considers Saint-Eustache as “un amas confus de débris empruntés de tous les côtés, sans liaison et sans harmonie, sorte de squelette gothique revêtu de haillons romains cousus ensemble comme les pièces d’un habit d’arlequin”. 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. But the interior decoration is typical of the Renaissance: Classical and modern at the same time, as Saint-Eustache appears, in its architecture, in its decoration, in its parish life.
The size of the church is imposing : Inside the length is 100 meters, the width of 43 meters, the height of 33 meters. At the entrance, one is seized by the grandiose magnitude of the proportions, the height of the vaults, the perfect chord of the vertical lines and the elegant curves, the depth of the perspectives.
In the nave, at the height of the fourth span, we find the Work Bench, executed circa 1720 by Pierre Lepautre, on Cartaud's drawings. This large piece of carpentry consists of a Greek portico supported by four fluted columns, with the statue of St. Agnes, accompanied by three angels. Opposite is the Chair designed by Victor Baltard.
At the crossroads of the transept, you can admire the choir, with its stalls that were installed after the revolution, the Master altar designed by Victor Baltard, the large Canopies of Soulignac.
The Central chapel, highly salient on the bedside of the church, is much more developed than the others. It once had two floors of windows: In the eighteenth century, the lower windows were condemned to the construction of the building of Moreau, in the south. Primitively, the Chapel of the Blessed Virgin was decorated with a rich ornamentation of marbles, woodwork and paintings, which disappeared from the revolution. Restored from 1802, it is enriched with a beautiful Marble statue of the Virgin, scultpée by Pigalle for the Chapelle des Invalides.
On December 28, 1804, the Chapel of the Virgin was solemnly inaugurated by Pope Pius VII, who came to Paris for the coronation of Napoleon. The attitude of the Virgin is admirable, slightly inclined on the right side, in a graceful movement, she stretches her hands to the child, sitting on the folds of her mantle and raising her right hand in a gesture of blessing. It's up to the painter Thomas Couture, the master of Manet, entrusted with the execution of the frescoes Of the Chapel: they represent the power of the Virgin's intercession.
In the chapel on the right, there is a staircase with Louis XVI balustrade leading to a gate ensigned with a pediment, by which one accesses the present Saint Agnes Chapel Which serves for the masses of weeks in winter, and in the Catechism room.
After the entrance door of the point, there is the Chapel of the Pigs ; parmi les traditions de Saint-Eustache, certaines corporations des Halles ont eu leur centre religieux. Une société de charcutiers “Le Souvenir” a renoué avec le passé en adoptant la chapelle Saint-André qu’elle a Embellished with a stained glass window, then a work of contemporary art by John Armleder. A solemn mass is celebrated every year, in the name of the National Confederation of Pigs Caterers of France.
To the left of the Chapel of the Virgin, there is a masterpiece: the Mausoleum of Colbert, by Coysevox. The minister is represented here dressed in the costume of the Order of the Holy Spirit, the sword on the left side, in the attitude of prayer: the hands clasped, long and fine, are admirable, the face is of a serene gravity. On either side of the monument, a seated woman statue: On the left, fidelity; To the right, abundance.
It is in the next chapel that we can admire the most beautiful painting of Saint-Eustache: “Les Disciples d’Emmaüs” par Rubens or school. Everything in this painting testifies to a rare mastery: the physiognomy of Christ, the expression of saisissement of the disciples, the head of the old servant on the right, the shortening of the hands, the astonishing still life of the table.
It is found in the Sainte-Madeleine Chapel A “Extase de la Madeleine” de Rutilio Manetti (1571 – 1636). The subject of this painting is not the death of the saint, but her mystical relationship with God. St. Madeleine is half-stretched, supported by an angel, while another angel leans over her and brings her a message from above.
In 1803 was given to the Next chapel the name of St. Vincent de Paul Who resided, as an inscription recalls, on the territory of the parish from 1613 to 1623, while he was tutor of the family of Gondi. The city of Paris has deposited here a work of contemporary art of Keith Haring, “La vie du Christ”. You will find on the spot explanations on the triptych.
Further, we find a table of Santi di Tito (Borgo San Sepolcro 1536-1603), “L’Ange conduisant Tobie”. The following chapel was dedicated in 1805 to Saint Louis, with above the altar an eighteenth-century canvas, Saint Louis in adoration before the crown of thorns.
Above the door that leads to the hall of columns (not visited) was established a tribune for the Duchess of Orléans, mother of Louis-Philippe. Near the pillar of the entrance door, a monumental plaster-stone, by Eugène Bion (1834): Pope Alexander II establishing the use of holy water.
Further, the Baptismal Font Chapel, to the arms of Jean de Nicolay, Lord of Goussainville, contains the copie d’un tableau de Rubens : “L’Adoration des Mages”.
Au dessus de la porte, au bas du collatéral nord, sous une toile de Ménageot (1744-1816) : “l’Adoration des Bergers”, on ne manquera pas d’admirer le grand tableau de Simon Vouet : “le Martyre de saint Eustache“. Cette oeuvre avait été commandée à l’artiste par Richelieu, pour le maître-autel de Saint-Eustache ; elle était complétée, à sa partie haute, par “l’Apothéose du saint martyr”. L’ensemble fut enlevé de l’église, les deux parties séparées. La partie haute est envoyée au Musée de Nantes, où elle se trouve encore, l’autre partie entra dans la fameuse collection du cardinal Fesch, appartint ensuite à un monsieur Moret qui, en 1855, la céda à la Ville de Paris pour la remettre à l’église.