St-Gervais-et-St-Protais is one of the oldest churches in Paris. This church was a shelter for one of the most famous dynasties of French musicians, the Couperin family, for more than two centuries. There is a plaque commemorating the Couperins on a side of the church.
The organ used by Louis and François Couperin is still installed inside the church. Built by the most famous organ builders of the time, François-Henri Clicquot, Louis-Alexandre Clicquot and Robert Clicquot, it is a fine example of the French Baroque style.
The exceptional façade of the church features columns of the three orders : Doric on the ground floor, Ionic on the second, and Corinthian on the third.
Since 1975, the church has been the headquarters of the Jerusalem Monastic Fraternity. Devoted to monastic life in an urban context, most of its members work part-time in civil occupations. Highly conscious of ecumenical preoccupations, St. Gervais is renowned for its distinctive liturgy, which has adopted Lutheran hymn music and Orthodox troparia. St. Gervais has founded a number of communities in France and worldwide.
This church is one of the oldest in Paris. It assumed its present appearance in the 16th century. Its façade was completed much later, around 1620. The refurbishment of the church, with the installation of a number of new stained glass windows, coincided with Pope John Paul II’s second visit to Paris.
The present church was begun in the Gothic style in 1494, the chapels of the apse were finished in 1530 and the transept in 1578.The doorway of the church was built in 1616–1620 by Claude Monnard in the classical style. Between 1600 and 1628, a second row of chapels was built on the north side, including the golden chapel ornamented with painted woodwork.
On 29 March 1918, a German shell fell on the church, killing 88 people and wounding 68 others. The explosion collapsed the roof when a Good Friday service was in progress. This was the worst single incident involving loss of civilian lives during the German bombardment of Paris in 1918.