St-Nicolas-des-Champs (Paris)

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West facade

The Catholic parish church of Saint-Nicolas-des-Champs was built in the 15th century in the late Gothic style. It is located at 254 rue Saint-Martin in the 3rd arrondissement of Paris . The nearest metro stations are Réaumur - Sébastopol and Arts et Métiers on lines 3 , 4 and 11 . In 1887 the church was added to the list of French architectural monuments as Monument historique .


Towards the end of the 11th century, the abbey was built in Saint-Martin-des-Champs , a St. Nicholas consecrated chapel for the artisans and farmers who had settled in the area. In a bull of Pope Calixtus II from 1119, this chapel Saint-Nicolas is mentioned, which was followed by a larger church building at the end of the 12th / beginning of the 13th century, nothing of which has survived. In 1184 Saint-Nicolas-des-Champs became a parish church. The current church was built between 1420 and 1480 and enlarged in the 16th and early 17th centuries. This construction work was completed in 1615. In 1668 the tower was raised by one floor. In the middle of the 18th century the pillars of the choir were redesigned into fluted Doric columns and the old leaded glass windows were replaced by white panes , in line with contemporary tastes.

During the French Revolution , the church was closed and converted into the Temple of Hymen and Faithfulness . In 1802 it was consecrated again for worship.

West facade with rose window and tracery window


Exterior construction

The bell tower rises above the south aisle, set back behind the right gable, the lower floors of which date from the 15th century. It is broken through on all three floors and on all four sides by pointed arched, coupled sound arcades . On its west side, a slim hexagonal stair tower is in front of it. The gable of the west facade is pierced by a rose window. A large pointed arch window with tracery in the flamboyant style opens below .

West portal

The west portal is covered by a keel arch studded with crabs and mythical creatures and framed by archivolts . On the inner arches there are figures of angels who sit under ornate canopies and carry the tools of suffering . The outer arches are decorated with grape leaves and grapes. The sculptures on either side of the portal were made by Louis Desprez around 1843 and replaced the original statues that were destroyed during the Revolution. They represent the apostles Peter and Paul , St. Cecilia , the patron saint of church music, St. Genoveva , the patroness of Paris, St. Nicholas and John the Baptist .

Renaissance portal

South portal

The south portal was built around 1580 according to plans by Philibert Delorme . It is structured by four fluted pilasters with richly decorated Corinthian capitals . In between there are medallions made of black marble, from which garlands extend. A frieze of arabesques , an egg stick and other decorative shapes runs above it . It is crowned by a triangular gable with two angels making music. The arches above the entrance are decorated with reliefs of angel figures.

inside view

inner space

The interior is divided into five naves and 13 bays . The first seven bays of the main nave and the inner south side aisle are from the Gothic construction phase. They differ in their pointed arcades from the four eastern bays, which have round arched arcades and how the two north aisles and the outer south aisle were added in the 16th century. The last two bays and the choir with ambulatory and chapels were built between 1613 and 1615. The two-story central nave is covered with a ribbed vault and ends in the semicircular closed choir, which was redesigned in the 18th century. A transept there is not.


  • The monumental main altar made of marble was created in 1629 by the sculptor Jacques Sarazin (1592–1660). The paintings Les Apôtres au tombeau de la Vierge (The Apostles at the Tomb of Mary) and L'Assomption de la Vierge (Assumption of Mary) were executed by Simon Vouet (1590–1649).

The church is decorated with numerous paintings:

  • L'Ascension (Ascension), by Claude Vignon (1593–1670), in the right aisle
  • Sainte Geneviève gardant ses moutons (Saint Genoveva tending the sheep), by Étienne Jeaurat (1699–1789), altarpiece in the Genoveva chapel
  • Le Baptême du Christ (Baptism of Christ), by Gaudenzio Ferrari (1484–1546), in the Nikolauskapelle in the ambulatory
  • La Circoncision , by Louis Finson (1580–1617), in the reliquary chapel of the ambulatory
  • La Vierge de la famille de Vic (The Virgin of the Vic Family), by Frans Pourbus the Younger (1569–1622), in the Anne Chapel
  • L'Assomption (Assumption of Mary), L'Annonciation (Annunciation), Le Christ ressuscité apparaissant à sa mère (The risen One appears to his mother), by Georges Lallemant (around 1575–1636), ceiling painting of the Annenkapelle
  • La Circoncision (Circumcision), by Giovanni Battista Trotti (1555–1619), in the Chapel of the Redeemer
  • La Vierge de la Pitié (Pietà), by Georges Lallemant, in the north aisle
  • L'Adoration des Bergers (Adoration of the Shepherds), by Noël-Nicolas Coypel (1690–1734), in the Lady Chapel


The organ is the work of the organ builder François-Henri Clicquot and dates from 1777. In 1930 it was renovated by Victor Gonzalez . It is crowned by a sculpture of St. Nicholas surrounded by angels making music. In 1905 the organ prospectus and in 1927 the instrumental part were added to the list of monuments historiques. The instrument has 58 stops on five manuals and a pedal . The playing and stop actions are mechanical.

I positive C – g 3
1. Montre 8th'
2. Bourdon 8th'
3. 1 e flute 8th'
4th 2 e flute 8th'
5. Prestant 4 ′
6th Nasard 2 23
7th Duplicate 2 ′
8th. Tierce 1 35
9. Cornet V 8th'
10. Plein-jeu III
11. Hautbois 8th'
12. Cromorne 8th'
13. Trumpets 8th'
14th Clairon 4 ′
II Grand Orgue C-g 3
15th Montre 16 ′
16. Bourdon 16 ′
17th Montre 8th'
18th Flute 8th'
19th Bourdon flute 8th'
20th Gros Nasard 5 13
21st Prestant 4 ′
22nd Big Tierce 3 15
23. Nasard 2 23
24. Duplicate 2 ′
25th Tierce 1 35
26th Cornet V 8th'
27. Plein-jeu IV
28. 1 e trumpet 8th'
29 2 e trumpets 8th'
30th Voix humaine 8th'
31. Clairon 4 ′
III Récit expressif C – g 3
32. Bourdon 8th'
33. Flute 8th'
34. Dulciane 8th'
35. Voix céleste 8th'
36. Flute 4 ′
37. Flageolet 2 ′
38. Plein-jeu V.
39. Cornet IV
40. Bombard 16 ′
41. Trumpets 8th'
42. Hautbois 8th'
43. Clairon 4 ′
IV Bombarde C-g 3
44. Bombard 16 ′
45. Trumpet de bombarde 8th'

V Écho C – g 3
46. Bourdon 8th'
47. Flute 8th'
48. Trumpets 8th'
Pedals C – g 1
49. Soubasse 16 ′
50. Flute 16 ′
51. Bourdon 8th'
52. Flute 8th'
53. Flute 4 ′
54. Bombard 16 ′
55. Trumpets 8th'
56. Clairon 4 ′
  • Coupling : I / II, III / II, IV / II, I / P, II / P, III / P

At this organ was Louis Braille , inventor of the eponymous Braille as organist operates.


Famous personalities such as Guillaume Budé , Théophile de Viau , Pierre Gassendi and Madeleine de Scudéry are buried in the church .


  • Georges Brunel, Marie-Laure Deschamps-Bourgeon, Yves Gagneux: Dictionnaire des Églises de Paris . Éditions Hervas, Paris 2000 (1st edition 1995), ISBN 2-903118-77-9 , pp. 306-309.
  • Jean Colson, Marie-Christine Lauroa (Eds.): Dictionnaire des Monuments de Paris , Paris 2003 (1st edition 1992), ISBN 2-84334-001-2 , pp. 722-723.
  • Aline Dumoulin, Alexandra Ardisson, Jérôme Maingard, Murielle Antonello: Paris. D'Église en Église . Éditions Massin, Paris 2008, ISBN 978-2-7072-0583-4 , pp. 55-61.

Web links

Commons : Saint-Nicolas-des-Champs (Paris)  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Organ in St-Nicolas-des-Champs, Paris , accessed on July 14, 2017.
  2. Detlef Schneider: Louis Braille invented Braille . In: Chrismon . December 20, 2018 ( [accessed June 16, 2019]).

Coordinates: 48 ° 51 '55.8 "  N , 2 ° 21' 14.9"  E