The abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés is located on the eponymous square in the 6th arrondissement of the capital.
It includes a church and some remains of convent buildings. The abbey was founded in the middle of the 6th century by King Childebert I and the bishop of Paris, who became Saint Germain. Considered a royal abbey and directly dependent on the pope, it was first dedicated to St. Croix and St. Vincent.
The first basilica abbey church with marble columns and a paneled ceiling is a royal necropolis (before the creation of the Basilica of St. Denis), but it must be rebuilt at the end of the 10th century. From this period date the first four levels of the western tower, the nave and the transept of the current church. This set is characteristic of the Romanesque style.
The current choir, for its part, was built in the middle of the 12th century and then belongs to the primitive Gothic style. It was at that time one of the first Gothic buildings in the world. Radiant in the seventeenth century, the true heart of the religious and intellectual life of Paris, the abbey suffered the full impact of the Revolution. The church soon became a saltpeter factory, and worship was restored there on April 29, 1803. However, it is the subject of a long campaign of restoration led by the architect Victor Baltard. The church is listed as a historic monument since 1862, and the remains of the abbey are listed in 1953.
Note that the bell tower completed in 1170 is one of the oldest of Paris and the lintel above the door represents the Last Supper.
As for the old monastery buildings of the abbey, the abbey palace is still visible at number 3 of the eponymous street. It was restored in 1970 and houses part of the premises of the Catholic Institute of Paris, having little relationship, inside, with its original appearance.
As for the church, on the other hand, where Romanesque and Gothic cohabit, it houses frescoes, paintings, stained glass, capitals that were made in the nineteenth century, copies of the original pieces that are kept in the museum of the Middle Ages.
The church is open every day but guided tours by volunteer parishioners are offered on Tuesday, Thursday and the 3rd Sunday of the month at 15h (except in July and August). Information on +33 1 55 42 81 18.