Église Saint-Augustin – Paris's First Metal-Framed Church

Église Saint-Augustin de Paris

St. Augustine's Church, a stunning 19th-century ecclesiastical structure in Paris, was the city's first metal-framed church. The impressively high Byzantine-style dome of this Roman Catholic church makes it an attractive landmark easily recognizable on the Parisian skyline.


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The Roman Catholic churches, cathedrals, and monasteries are an essential part of the architecture and history of the French capital. Any historic religious buildings in Paris, Madrid, or other European cities I've visited, whether Romanesque, Gothic, or Baroque in style, fascinate me and are among my all-time favorite landmarks.


If you enjoy seeing the incredible evolution of architecture among the historic buildings of Paris, you must visit this Roman Catholic church while in the French capital.


St. Augustine's Church in Photos

Église Saint-Augustin de Paris
The church as seen from Pl. Saint Augustin

Église Saint-Augustin de Paris
The church's impressive interior

Église Saint-Augustin de Paris
The choir's gilded cast iron ciborium, with the main altar in the background

Église Saint-Augustin de Paris
The Virgin's Chapel (left) and the sculpture of St. Monica (right)

Église Saint-Augustin de Paris
Interior of the Virgin's Chapel

Église Saint-Augustin de Paris
The church's interior details

Saint-Augustin Paris
One of the church's side chapels

Église Saint-Augustin de Paris
Stained glasses

Église Saint-Augustin de Paris
The gallery organ

The Church's Brief History


During Napoleon III's 18-year Imperial Bonapartist regime from 1852 to 1870, Paris's population grew significantly. Then, the French capital became a large construction site for dwellings, sidewalks, sewers, stations, churches, and public buildings.


St. Augustine's Church was one of the structures built between 1860 and 1871 by French architect Victor Baltard, who also designed Les Halles, a former central fresh food market in Paris, and several church restorations throughout his career.


Architecture


Saint Augustine's architecture is a combination of styles. The church's exterior is one-of-a-kind, with Romanesque and Byzantine influences visible in its eclectic design. The metal frames that line the stone walls are a first for a church of this size. Baltard did not conceal the metal; the metallic framework is visible at the vault and column levels.


Gold cast-iron pillars adorned with polychrome angels support the entire structure. The circular choir leads to three chapels, each dominated by an open gallery, and features a massive cast-iron ciborium. In the nave, the stained glass design depicts geometric figures on the first level and saints and martyrs on the third level. That is why the church's main longitudinal area appears so dark.


Charles Spackman Barker, a British inventor and organ builder, created the church's organ in a gallery at the end of the nave. When it opened in 1868, it was one of the first organs to use electricity. The distinguished French composer Eugène Gigout served as organist at St. Augustine's for 62 years, during which time he wrote his best-known concert piece, the Toccata in B minor.


The red steel spire with its golden cross towers above the slate blue steel dome. Under the massive rose window, which has 85 pieces, we can see statues of Jesus and the twelve apostles by French sculptor François Jouffroy.


How to Get There


The Church of St. Augustine stands between Boulevard Malesherbes and Avenue César Caire, the district formerly known as Little Poland, in the 8th arrondissement.

Address: 8 Avenue César Caire, 75008 Paris, France


By Public Transportation:

Bus (lines 20, 28, 32, 43, 80): Saint-Augustin

Metro (line 9): Saint-Augustin

Train (lines J, L, TER): Gare Saint-Lazare


Opening Hours & Ticket Prices


Admission is free. Please check the church's website for operating hours.


Where to Stay in Paris


Booking.com offers a wide range of lodging options, various discounts, and exceptional customer service. For a list of places to stay in Paris, click here.


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Have you also visited the first metal-framed church in Paris? Do you think it is gorgeous? Feel free to leave a comment below.

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