This church was finished in the 17th century, and stands just behind the Pantheon, where France’s great heroes are buried. During the French Revolution it was briefly converted into a Temple of Filial Piety, at the moment when the revolution was so ambitious it planned to replace the Christian religion (this was the time when they also set up the decimal ten hour day and made the clocks to go with it, so they were aiming high). In 1857 an archbishop was murdered in this church by a (defrocked) priest shouting “Down with Goddesses”! The bloke was upset about the relatively new idea that Mary, Mother of Jesus had been conceived without sin. Sainte Geneviève’s tomb is here (patron saint of Paris don’t you know), though it has been empty since the French Revolution. It is also the last church in Paris, I am told, where you can still find a jubé (a rood screen) separating the altar from the main bit. This is where you can see spiral stone staircases, which are most impressive. Racine, the
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Séverin was a sixth century hermit, who had a cell on this site. This is a very old church, which suffered from all the ups and downs of being an old church in Paris. Viking attacks, fires, etc. Parts of the church are13th century, and every century since has contributed something. The fabulous twentieth century non figurative stained glass windows created by Jean Bazaine, an artist who much impressed Pierre Bonnard, we are told., and whose stained glass windows appear here and there across France. There are a whole series of mostly 19th century painting - including the Apocalypse, the Crown of thorns, Mary and Joseph getting married. But my favourite parts were the modern lectern, crucifix and altar table, the Ecce homo (Jesus standing about) , and the poster welcoming homeless people to brunch every Friday.