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Catholic Churches in Paris, France Eminent For Being Beautiful

Catholic Churches in Paris, France Eminent For Being Beautiful
I was back in Manila a few weeks back, and let me just say, it felt divine to have do some church hopping. Starting to get a bit old school here, but it is true – it’s an integral part of the Filipino culture. Paying homage to different churches and cathedrals in the Philippines is an everyday activity, especially for the elderly. Much to my surprise, it reminded me so much of the comparative experience when I’ve visited the churches in Paris, France. In the Philippines, the churches, be it the oldest or the most famous ones, are often packed with people; in France, it is the complete opposite. So it’s a different kind of appreciation in that sense?

We all know about the famous church in Paris on the hill, or maybe the Sacré-Cœur? How about the Sainte-Chapelle church? Or yes, perhaps the Cathédrale Notre Dame De Paris? It is unlike most of the churches in Manila with aircon, nothing too minimalist, too small, or too beautiful? But, needless to say – it is not only sacred looking and grand, it is also one amazing experience.

Here are some of the nicer ones that you’ll have to see when you get the chance to visit Paris. Discover my picks for the 6 most beautiful churches and cathedrals within Paris!

Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral
Address: 17 Rue d'Ulm, 75005 Paris, France
Official Website: https://www.notredamedeparis.fr/en/

The book came about because of Victor Hugo’s love of Gothic architecture. Victor Hugo started writing the Hunchback of Notre Dame in 1829. He wanted to make his contemporaries aware of Gothic architecture which was being neglected, destroyed and replaced with other buildings. The medieval stained glass panels for example found in the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris had their medieval stained glass panels removed and this was replaced by white glass some more light could get into the church. Hugo goes into a lot of detail in the book about this. He had a great concern about this type of architecture and had written papers in the past about it. His publisher wanted him to get the book finished so in September 1830 he worked non-stop on his project and six months later the Hunchback of Notre Dame was released. Read more at: https://notredamecathedralparis.com/the-hunchback-of-notre-dame/

Sacré-Coeur Basilica Church
Address: 35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre, 75018 Paris, France
Official Website: http://www.sacre-coeur-montmartre.com/english/

There is much debate around whether or not making the hike up to the church is worth it. Many people report excessive haggling from vendors and artists putting a damper on the experience and suggesting that that church is perhaps best viewed from a distance. Having made the journey up a number of times I must strongly disagree. Sacre Coeur is undoubtably best viewed from up close and inside of the vicinity. A wonder of a landmark in Paris. Read more at: https://www.discoverwalks.com/blog/top10/10-reasons-to-visit-the-basilica-of-sacre-coeur/

Sainte-Chapelle Church
Address: 8 Boulevard du Palais, 75001 Paris, France
Official Website: http://www.sainte-chapelle.fr/en/

Now, churches in Europe are a dime a dozen. They are everywhere! I enjoy visiting them at a start of a trip but after a few weeks, I get tired of them. They all start to look the same and blend together in my memories. But I still feel like I have to at least peek inside. So, before I committed to adding another church onto our list of things to see, I did a quick Google search of Sainte-Chapelle. Once I looked at the images that came up I was 100% sold! Read more at: https://www.travelyesplease.com/travel-blog-sainte-chapelle/

Église de la Madeleine Church
Address: Place de la Madeleine, 75008 Paris, France
Official Website: http://www.eglise-lamadeleine.com/

Parisbreakfast invited me for a New Year’s Concert at Eglise de la Madeleine (Madeleine church). I couldn’t have started the year in a better way, sitting in one of Paris most beautiful church listening to the orchester “Les Violons de France” performing Vivaldi‘s “Les Quatre Saisons” (the Four Seasons” and other classics. I enjoyed it very much, but Carol, who’s been in Venice several times (Vivaldi’s home town) and listened to Venetian orchesters performing Vivaldi’s Four season in smaller churches with better acoustics told me the best experience was “over there”..thanks Carol for giving me a reason to discover the beautiful city of Venice,  it is now on my list to visit during my Italian getaway later this Spring :-) However, I enjoyed this concert very much, closed my eyes and the music made me dream away…. Read more at: http://solli-kanani.com/2015/01/new-years-concert-at-eglise-de-la-madeleine/

Saint-Germain des Prés Church
Address: 75006 Paris, France
Official Website: https://en.parisinfo.com/transport/73190/Quartier-Saint-Germain-des-Pres

I love walking around Saint-Germain.  It has all the things I love about Paris — cafes with heated outside patios, lots of little bookshops, galleries, and enough metro stations to easily cart you all over the city. Saint-Germain is also the intellectual hub of Paris.  This is the area of Paris where you want to find a cafe, sit down, and write the next Great American Novel.  It makes you feel like you could be that inspired. And there are a great many cafes, especially on what I lovingly refer to as “my cafe street” — Rue de Buci.  (Need free unlimited wifi?  Try Cafe le Conti.) Read more at: https://www.adventurouskate.com/living-the-parisian-life-in-saint-germain-des-pres/

Saint-Augustin Church
Address: 8 Avenue César Caire, 75008 Paris, France
Official Website: https://www.saintaugustin.net/

It was a typical Paris day for me as I wandered through the streets and alleyways with no map or thought in mind as to what would be next on the itinerary. Suddenly I found myself at 46 Boulevard Malesherbes, site of the grand Église Saint-Augustin de Paris (Church of St. Augustine). This grand Haussmann-designed Catholic Church is perched in a quiet secret part in Paris; hence it seems to be forgotten by the crowds. The Église Saint-Augustin Catholic Church can be seen all the way from the Arc de Triomphe– down Avenue de Friedland. The red steel spire with its golden cross sits atop the slate blue steel dome – soaring 100m high in the sky. Inside, this Byzantine and Romanesque designed church has an intimate feel. Neighborhood families quietly come and go, praying, lighting candles and elderly women faithfully pray with their rosaries. They have found their peace and comfort in this local church. Read more at: https://www.thegoodlifefrance.com/discovering-the-secrets-of-paris-eglise-saint-augustin/

Musée du Service de Santé des Armées in Paris, France: Medication or Moroccan?

Museum of the Armed Forces Health Service
One of the nice things about traveling is the great chance to meet new people along the way. A perfect example for me, at least, was during the random visit to a local museum in Paris, one rainy afternoon. While the rain started to pour, leaving us with no choice but to find shelter, we decided to swing by the nearest museum around the neighborhood, which happened to be the Museum of the Armed Forces Health Service. It’s not as famous as the likes of Louvre, but it is more than packed with replicas of history in it!

When we were strolling around the labyrinth-like hallways, I could not help but notice this seemingly disheveled uncle who kept on smiling at us. No creepers here, he was just being friendly. Then when we approached this area where he was stationed, he decided to strike a conversation in French. Of course on a scale of one to i-don’t-understand, I was neither smart enough to guess, nor cool enough to pretend I understand. It’s surprising though, as Asians as we looked, that the old man didn’t hesitate to speak with us in French. He was very polite and pleasant.

Only to find out, he wasn’t really French-born. He was a Moroccan. His family was a refugee who immigrated to France. Fast forward to a few decades, as a way to give back, he dedicated his life in the service of the Army Health Service museumWhat a life story! Every detail unfolded intensely as we walked around the museum, it was as if we were in a play, watching everything transpire, with characters relating to every artifact we saw inside the museum. And it was told beautifully in English with French-Moroccan accent. A chance meet up through a random visit in this museum!

And so the story goes - we ended near a church like area of the museum, where we heard a pianist and a singer performing their practice session. To say that it was glorious is an understatement, because truly, it was more than enough to bring goosebumps to your toes. Even the Moroccan caretaker was enamored by the performance. We clapped despite the silence that echoed through the hallways. It was a great experience worth remembering, for sure!

The museum in itself is not for the faint hearted. It’s an upgraded version of the ones you’ll probably see in Cambodia – a positive version compared to the “genocide museum” type of visuals. It’s more of an educational approach to it, with so much archives on the evolution of military medicine and the conditions of care for soldiers in combat back in the day. Of course, photographs abound, and so here they are – enjoy!~

Museum of the Armed Forces Health Service at Val-de-Grâce
1 place Alphonse Laveran 75005 Paris France

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