Saint-Denis introduced Christianity in Paris in the 3rd Century. Since then, Paris has been home to many beautiful and miraculous churches, which could offer you many wonderful and spiritually rich experiences. Below are two of the famous churches in the French capital city, which you should include in your Paris private tours itinerary.
Église Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre (Church of St Julian the Poor) is one of the city’s oldest churches. This is a Melkite Greek Catholic parish church, named after St Julian, who was originally a hunter. He did not care about anything else in his life except for hunting. With his exceptional skills, Julian became the master of all hunters and also a part of the forest itself.
Julian once shot an arrow at a stag and jumped out of his hiding place to capture it. However, to his surprise, the stag opened its mouth and started talking to him. The creature said, “How dare you hunt me? You are the one who shall kill your own parents.” Julian became very frightened and killed the deer at the instant.
Being afraid of the deer’s prophecy coming true, Julian left his native place without telling anyone. He eventually went to a kingdom and started his new job of serving the prince of that Kingdom. The prince, impressed by Julian’s talents, paired him to a wealthy widow, and he started living with his wife in her castle.
Meanwhile, Julian’s parents searched for him everywhere, and after several years, they reached the castle where he was living. When Julian’s parents described their son’s hunting skills and specified the time when their son left the village, Julian’s wife understood that the elderly couple was talking about her husband.
She welcomed them heartily and offered them her own bed for resting. Julian returned home the next day while his wife went to the church. When he saw two people sleeping in his bedroom, he assumed them to be his wife’s lover and slaughtered them with his sword. Later, after he talked to his wife, he understood that it was his own parents and wept bitterly. He then told his wife that he will never rest until he had done the penance for his sin and knew that God had forgiven him.
The disheartened husband and wife walked until they reached the banks of a great river and started helping poor people cross the river. One midnight, Julian helped a man who was nearly dying out of cold and sickness. He took care of the poor soul like a Good Samaritan. The next morning, when Julian returned to the sick man, he transformed into an angel and told him that God has accepted his penance and has forgiven him.
Julian and his wife lived the rest of their life in happiness and continued helping the needy and the sick at the same location where the church Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre stands today.
The Church of the Val-de-Grâce
The Church of the Val-de-Grâce is a beautiful Roman Catholic Church is located in the 5th arrondissement of Paris. This church was built by the order of Queen Anne of Austria, wife of King Louis XIII.
Queen Anne was engaged to King Louis XIII when she was just eleven years old, and the king of France was fourteen. As a Spanish teenager growing up in a place, which she did not know with people speaking a language that she did not understand, Queen Anne felt quite lonely. She did not have a child even after twenty-two years of marriage and this worsened her situation. When she was thirty-five years old, she lost all her hope, as it was then believed that it was impossible to have a child after thirty-five.
Queen Anne shared her worries to a Marguerite de Veny d’Arbouse, her prioress. She told her that a humble monk had a dream that if the queen would pay homage to Blessed Virgin Mary in three separate churches in France, then the couple would be blessed with a baby boy. The Queen Anne of Austria followed the instructions, and gave birth to Louis Dieudonné de France, who became the longest ruling monarch in the history of France.
King Louis XIII died while Louis Dieudonné was still four years of age, which made Anne Queen-Regent. She commissioned the construction of the church and renovation of the monastery “to spare no expense and to leave an eternal mark of her piety.” Queen Anne assigned the project to chief architect François Mansart, but he was not satisfied with the scope and cost of the construction, and left the project a year later.
The construction of the Church of the Val-de-Grâce was then supervised by Jacques Lemercier, Gabriel Leduc, and Pierre Le Muet, and it was completed in 1667. The church features an amazing construction style with elevated entrance and towers flanking the central part of the church.