Saturday, March 26, 2005

Saint Sulpice

After visiting the Pierre Herme shop, I was going to take the bus back home in the dreary, rainy weather. I can't tell you how many times I've waited for my bus at that bus stop.. Saint Sulpice... looking at the Church and yet never going inside. I finally took the opportunity on Thursday.

Saint Sulpice is a beautiful, large church in the middle of Paris. Saint Sulpice was completed in 1733, after 134 years of start and stop construction. There is a meridian line, on the left side of the church, called the Astronomical Gneomen. Apparently, it was commissioned in order to determine the exact date of Easter, and the winter and summer equinoxes.

Saint Sulpice has received a lot of attention recently because of its prominence in the DaVinci Code thriller. As a result, there is a note near the meridian line:

Contrary to fanciful allegations in a recent best selling novel, this is not a vestige of a pagan temple. No such temple ever existed in this place. It was never called a "rose-line." It does not coincide with the meridian traced through the middle of the Paris Observatory which serves as a reference for maps where longitudes are measured in degrees East or West of Paris. No mystical notion can be derived from this.

Aside from the mysterious meridian line, Saint Sulpice is worth a visit. Many of the frescoes in this church were painted by Delacroix, including the depiction of Saint-Michel slaying the dragon. The Church is also known for its organ, the largest in Europe, and both the music and the choir have been praised by French writers for generations. Concerts are held here for the general public.

-- said Auntie M in Paris
3:52 PM



Re: the note left near the meridian line - interesting that the church officials needed to clarify the Da Vinci Code - love the word choice. Churches in Paris seem to have such unique histories - each one has such interesting background and architecture you'd think you've "seen the one". Good post Auntie M! Terry in SF

# posted by Anonymous : 5:20 PM  

Terry, The Church really is a lovely place to visit. I'm amazed at how angry, generally, the Church officials are about the DaVinci code.

# posted by Auntie M in Paris : 7:46 PM  

Saint Sulpice, a fantastic parisian church which I feel is somewhat overlooked. Quite frankly I think the church should make use of the extra tourism from the Da vinci code to help with restoration. With restoration this could make the shift from ma church worth seeing to an unmissable point on the parisian tourist circuit.

# posted by Yoggy Adams : 12:48 PM  


Thank you for providing the text that the church added to the line.

However, it is very interesting that they tell what it is not, but as it seems there is no hint as to what it actually is or what its purpose was. (or is)

# posted by Anonymous : 12:10 PM  

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