France has a catholic religious history. As a result, many churches were built to pray God and Paris, of course, was no exception to the rule. There would be around 200 churches in the capital only. Even though France is now a laic state, the churches haven’t been destroyed or taken down, hopefully. In my opinion, they must definitely be a part of your visit in Paris as some of them might be the most beautiful ones you have ever seen and they are, for sure, part of the Parisian culture and landscape. Eight of them are must-sees according to me. It would take you about half a day or a day to visit them all. The quickest way to get around them would either be using the metro or cycling.
This cathedral is located in the middle of the city and has to be the first step of your visit. Not only it is the most famous church of Paris, thanks to Victor Hugo’s novel and Disney but it is also one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the world. Its construction took about 200 years and it used to be the highest construction in Paris. As well as being an incrediblearchitectural building, it was also the place of important historical events like the coronation of the Emperor Napoleon.
Make sure you take some time to admire the giant stained window that is shaped like a rose window.
Address: 6 Parvis Notre-Dame - Pl. Jean-Paul II, 75004 Paris, France
St Etienne du Mont is a church that wouldn’t be considered as one of the most famous ones in Paris. However, I believe it is a hidden gem that carries a lot of history. Located near the Pantheon, this church is a special one as it has a unique element that churches in Paris don’t have any more and a very few have in France.
It has a balcony or rood-screen that separates the nave from the choir. Most churches used to have this but the Council of Trent in the 16th century abolished this type of construction as they thought there shouldn’t be any separation between the priest and faithful people.
This church also has the remains of St Genevieve, the saint patron of Paris.
Address: Place Sainte-Geneviève, 75005 Paris, France
The church of Saint Germain des Prés is one of the oldest Parisian churches as its construction started in the 6th century. I believe you can truly feel the history of the place when visiting it (Lucky for you, the entrance is free!).
The original abbey was demolished and after French Revolution, it turned into the church that you can see now is in Gothic style, one of the first churches in France to be built in that style.
This church is also famous because it is home to the remains of the famous French scientist and philosopher René Descartes.
Address: 75006 Paris, France
This might be the third most famous church in Paris. Located on « l’Île de la Cité », which is the epicenter of the capital, this place is breathtaking.
Built in the 13th century, this chapel was supposed to be home to some saints ‘relics (which where sadly destroyed during the French Revolution) and a piece of wood of the real cross. Today, visitors come to this chapel for its incredibly beautiful and colourful stained glass windows.
There are actually two chapels, the lower one, more classic and the upper one which is the most beautiful one, with stained glasses as high as 4,70 metres!
Locate the main rose window that represents the Apocalypse.
Address: 8 Boulevard du Palais, 75001 Paris, France
The church of Saint Eustache is located in the 1st arrondissement of the capital and was built in the 13th century. Not only this church is an architectural gem, but it is also full of amazing stained-glass windows and paintings.
At first, this church was supposed to be called Ste Agnes but it was renamed St Eustache when the remains of the martyrs (St Eustache) were moved in there.This church has seen a lot of event like weddings, funerals and baptism: the great French playwriter Molière was baptized in this church!
Address: 2 Impasse Saint-Eustache, 75001 Paris, France
La Madeleine is a more recent building compared to the ones mentioned before as it was built by Napoleon 1st. As you can tell from its architecture, it doesn’t really look like a church but rather like a Greek temple.
Napoleon first built it for the glory and to commemorate its army. It was only in 1845 that La Madeleine was transformed into a church. The organ in this church is considered as one of the most beautiful ones so take a moment to have a look at it!
This place is also famous as it hosts the funerals for personalities of the performance world like Chopin, Edith Piaf, Dalida and recently Johnny Hallyday!
Address: Place de la Madeleine, 75008 Paris, France
- Monday: 09:30 - 19:00
- Tuesday: 09:30 - 19:00
- Wednesday: 09:30 - 19:00
- Thursday: 09:30 - 19:00
- Friday: 09:30 - 19:00
- Saturday: 09:30 - 19:00
- Sunday: 09:30 - 19:00
Located in the 8th arrondissement, St Augustin is not your typical church as its architecture varies from the norm: it does not have buttresses and its style is inspired by the roman and byzantine arts. You will also notice that the main part is surprisingly thin and that the choir is much bigger. Take the time to come inside and admire the organ as well as the dome!
This church might be the noisiest one in Paris. This is due to its location and the fact that it is at the intersection of two of the busiest boulevards in Paris, Haussmann and Malesherbes.
Address: 8 Avenue César Caire, 75008 Paris, France
Last but certainly not least, the Basilica of the Sacré Coeur. In the Montmartre neighborhood, in the 18th arrondissement, the Basilica cannot be missed. On the hill, this monument, inspired by roman and byzantine arts, dominates Paris, at 213 meters high (it is the highest point in Paris after the Eiffel Tower).
The Sacré Coeur was built by Paul Abadie after the Prussian War, in the 1880s, in order to forgive all the sins committed during the war. This was a National Vow, that if Paris would be untouched by the war, the Basilica would be built. Little tip from a local: try to visit the Basilica at the end of the afternoon to appreciate an incredible sunset over the whole capital!
“Sacré Coeur” means Holy Heart in French which refers to the heart of Jesus.
Address: 35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre, 75018 Paris, France