Here is a list of the most famous churches in Paris that are well known for their architecture, magnificent history and attract great tourist footfall.
Paris is one of the most famous tourist spots globally and for good reason. Its historical landmarks, museums, cute cafes and restaurants, history, culture, and famous buildings, and among those are its churches and cathedrals.
Long before the country became secular, religion was at the forefront which led to the construction of a number of churches.
In fact, there are more than 200 churches in Paris alone and some of them deserve to be on your itinerary when you visit the city.
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These historic Parisian churches are architectural wonders built in various styles, from Gothic to Baroque masterpieces. So whether you’re after old-world charm or modern flair, there will surely be something that will satisfy your taste.
Most of these famous churches in Paris host many beautiful works of art and are decorated with intricate sculptures, stained glasses, and gargoyles.
They also offer a serene and calm atmosphere, which is perfect if you need a cut-off from the hustles and bustles of the city or even to say a prayer.
Ready to see the religious side of Paris? Check out this list of the famous churches in Paris, and try visiting some when you are in the city of lights.
Before You Go, Here’s How to Plan Your Visit To Paris: Practical Quick Tips
WHERE TO STAY
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Apartment Rental: Résidence Charles Floquet (9.1)
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- Prepare your trip extensively with this Paris Travel guidebook.
- Don’t forget a universal travel adapter, a travel neck pouch, and comfortable walking shoes.
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- Book this private transfer from CDG airport to Paris to avoid the hustle of figuring out how to get to Paris.
Famous Churches in Paris
Whether you’re religious or not, these famous Paris churches are worth visiting!
1. Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, 4th Arrondissement
Opening Hours: (Currently Closed). Monday to Friday (8 a.m. – 6:45 a.m.) & Saturday and Sunday (8 a.m. – 7:45 p.m.)
Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris or Notre Dame as commonly known was built in 1163, making it one of the oldest cathédrals in all of France.
A masterpiece of French Gothic, it is one of the most visited landmarks in Paris. Besides the history it harbors as the coronation place for Napoleon I, its architecture is equally impressive.
Its crowning architectural features include the early use of rib vault ceiling construction and enormous rose windows. However, its towers, steeple, and gargoyles are equally picturesque.
Though the upper levels are off-limits, the magnificent ceilings can be enjoyed from the lower ones. You can even climb the towers to enjoy the spectacular views of Paris from there.
Psst… A major fire broke out on 15th April 2019, causing massive destruction to this marvel. Since its restoration is currently underway, it’s impossible to enter but you can marvel at the cathedral’s facade from outside or at the nearby bridge. Just because it is currently closed doesn’t take away its rightful place as one of the famous cathedrals in Paris.
2. Eglise Saint-Sulpice, 6th Arrondissement
Opening Hours: Every Day (8 a.m.- 8 p.m.)
Located in the Latin quarter, Eglise Saint-Sulpice is the second largest church in Paris and one of the most visited churches in the city.
The building’s enormous bare stone walls and columns give a relatively plain yet unique outer appearance.
However, the interior of French baroque architecture is quite lavish with its ornate decoration and massive size.
The highlight of your visit to Saint-Sulpice will be the grandiose pipe organ, which is one of the largest in France.
Also, it houses three paintings by Eugène Delacroix, which will be a treat to your eyes, on top of the gnomon, and the nave.
And just outside the church, you’ll be able to admire the large fountain that depicts various sculptures.
Interestingly, the church is notable for its connection to the popular movie the Da Vinci Code as it was one of the movie’s filming locations. This famous Paris church is undoubtedly a must-visit.
3. Basilique du Sacré-Coeur, 18th Arrondissement
Opening Hours: Every Day (6.30 am – 10.30 pm)
Perched atop Montmartre Hill, which is the city’s highest point, the Sacré-Cœur Basilica is not only one of the most striking churches in Paris but one of the best viewpoints if you climb up the dome to enjoy the panoramic views of the city.
Built in 1914, it is a minor basilica dedicated to the sacred heart of Paris and primarily a place of worship for Catholics.
Its distinctive white facade, capped by the iconic dome, and the beautiful mosaic on the ceiling of the interior (which is the biggest in France) make it one of the most popular tourist spots in Paris.
The premises is graced with a crypt, a meditation garden, and a beautiful fountain. Moreover, you can’t miss seeing Savoyarde Bell, which is Europe’s fifth-largest and the largest in France.
If you want a memorable experience during your trip to Paris, be sure to add the Basilica of the Sacred Heart to your list.
It is free to visit but you’ll need to pay a few Euros to climb the dome for the views. I recommend visiting at sunset as it’s one of the best sunset spots in Paris.
4. Sainte-Chapelle, 1st Arrondissement
Opening Hours: Every Day (9 a.m.- 5 p.m.)
Constructed in the 13th century to house the Crown of Thorns and other relics owned by King Louis IX, Sainte-Chapelle is a true masterpiece of gothic architecture called “Rayonnant.”
The stunning effect of sunlight filtering through the colorful stained glass windows of this famous Paris church gives a spectacular exhibit of light and color.
Also, the nave is surrounded by statues of the 12 Apostles, which are placed on the springing line of the ribbed vault.
Sainte-Chapelle is seldom used for religious services as it was secularized after the French revolution but is also a popular venue for classical music concerts.
Its breathtaking architecture, beautiful stained glass windows, rose window, sculpture details, and music will make for an unforgettable moment in Paris.
5. Eglise Saint-Eustache, 1st Arrondissement
Opening Hours: (9:30 a.m.- 7 p.m.)
Eglise Saint-Eustache is a well-known church in Les Halles that dates back to the 15th century.
Behind its impressive, detailed, and large facade lies the absolute beauty of high ceilings and lovely 17th-century stained-glass windows in the interior.
One of the most beautiful churches in Paris, it boasts enormous dimensions of 88 meters in length and 34 meters in height and portrays a gothic style.
The church also hosts a symphony, major music festivals, and Christmas carols during the Christmas season in Paris that is quite loved by Parisians and tourists alike.
The church also showcases various art pieces that tell stories of the past from the Sculpture of the delivery of produce in the Market of Les Halles which describes Les Halles’ Past as the biggest market area in the city, to paintings with the most famous one being The Disciples of Emmaus by Rubens.
When visiting this place, be sure to listen to the sacred organ music (which is the largest pipe organ in France) that’ll take you back in time.
6. L’église de la Madeleine, 8th Arrondissement
Opening Hours: Every Day (9:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.)
The famous L’église de la Madeleine or Madeleine church stands out among religious edifices because of its unusual appearance as a Greek temple without any crosses or bell towers.
This neoclassical-style church was built in the 19th century, but it surprisingly features a gothic style that gives it a unique image.
The most striking feature that adds to its aesthetic is its massive Corinthian columns, which soar up to the church’s grandiose ceiling.
Away from the exterior, one step inside will prove to you that this is truly one of the most beautiful churches of Paris.
From the large, detailed bronze door at the entrance, the striking nave, the mosaic, to the grand organ, there is nothing not to love about this church.
On top of the architectural beauty, the church puts on high-quality classical music performances throughout the year and holds religious masses which makes it an important monument worth adding to your Paris itinerary.
7. Eglise Saint-Germain-des-Prés, 6th Arrondissement
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday ( 8 a.m. – 7.45 p.m.) & Sunday ( 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.)
Located in the neighborhood of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Saint-Germain-des-Prés parish church is the oldest church in Paris having been founded in 543.
The architecture of this church is a mix of medieval and renaissance, and its simple exterior does not hint at the space’s splendor.
It contains Merovingian-era marble columns that accentuate the sanctuary’s overall peaceful and harmonic aura.
The church also serves as a location for music concerts, particularly classical and religious events.
So, if you are inquisitive about history or just looking for a beautiful place to spend an afternoon, this is one of the famous churches in Paris worth checking out.
8. Eglise Saint Augustin, 8th Arrondissement
Opening Hours: Monday-Friday ( 8.30 a.m. – 7 p.m. ) & Timings vary on Saturdays and Sundays.
The Church of Saint-Augustin, located at the junction of Boulevard Haussmann and Boulevard Malesherbes in the 8th Arrondissement, is one of the most beautiful churches in Paris.
It has a fascinating blend of Tuscan Gothic and Romanesque architecture dating back to the 19th century.
The interior is lavishly decorated with stained glass windows depicting bishops and martyrs from the first centuries, as well as cast-iron columns featuring polychrome angels.
The chapels that surround the nave extend all the way to the choir and are more intricately built. Another key feature not to miss is its organ which was one of the first ancient organs to use electricity.
Whether you’re visiting for religious or architectural purposes, this is one of the famous Paris churches not to miss.
9. Saint-Etienne du Mont Church, 5th Arrondissement
Opening Hours: Tuesday-Friday (8 a.m. – 7.45 p.m.)
Situated near the Pantheon in the Latin Quarter, Saint-Etienne-du-Mont is one of the many churches in Paris with picturesque sights.
From the detailed sculptures, and the bell tower to the beauty of the various facades, the architecture of this church is mesmerizing.
The unique blend of architectural elements in the 15th-century Church of Saint-Etienne-du-Mont will amaze you.
The church’s 16th-17th-century stained glass windows are spectacular and illustrate the Apocalypse and the Parable of the Marriage Feast.
The rood screen or The Jubé created by Philibert de l’Orme, (the remaining one in Paris) is the most valuable item in the church but be sure to see the Saint-Geneviève shrine, the stunning details of the pulpit, the organ, and other art installations.
And if you want to celebrate mass with Gregorian chants, go to the church on Sunday at 11 am or 6:45 pm.
10. Cathédrale Saint-Alexandre-Nevsky, 8th Arrondissement
Opening Hours: Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday( 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.)
The Saint-Alexandre-Nevsky Orthodox Church, built in the neo-Byzantine style, is dedicated to the Russian saint Alexander Nevsky and was the first Russian Orthodox church in France having been founded in 1861.
It is the city’s most beautiful Orthodox church and is decorated with icons, frescoes, and mosaics that depict scenes from the Bible.
The cathedral’s most impressive feature is its iconostasis but its golden domes and stately size are equally stunning.
Moreover, it features an intricate collection of religious paintings and icons on carved wooden panels.
This is one of the world’s 50 largest Christian church buildings by volume and, therefore, certainly deserves a visit from you.
11. Église du Val de Grâce, 5th Arrondissement
Opening Hours: Only open on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday.
The beautiful Baroque church is part of a well-preserved 17th-century convent, which was inspired by the Church of Santa Susanna in Rome.
During the French Revolution, the Val-de-Grâce abbey structures were used as a military hospital.
Today, Eglise Val-de-Grâce is now part of a museum, which documents the history of French army medical service during wartime.
The two-story facade, with twin columns supporting a pediment and flanking consoles, attracts numerous tourists who come to admire this church.
The church’s dome, which is bordered by a magnificent fresco by Pierre Mignard and paintings by Philippe de Champaigne, is a great attraction not to miss too.
12. Eglise Saint-Séverin, 5th Arrondissement
Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday (11 a.m. – 7.30 p.m.) & Sunday(9.00 a.m. – 8.30 p.m.)
The Church of St. Severin is one of Paris’ most beautiful and historic churches in the Latin quarter.
It is a stunning example of Gothic style from the 13th and 15th centuries. It houses classic 19th-century stained glass windows, a 17th-century organ, and many more terrific artworks.
Also, the structure’s astonishing exterior features include some magnificent gargoyles and flying buttresses.
And if you go on the inside, you’ll be welcomed by stained glass windows plus 7 modern windows that depict the 7 sacraments of the Catholic church.
Frequent and well-known sacred music concerts take place at this Church which will be a treat for your ears.
While ticking churches from your Paris bucket list, be sure not to miss out on this one.
13. Église Saint-Nicolas des Champs, 3rd Arrondissement
Opening Hours: Exclusive Opening
The Church of St. Nicolas des Champs, which is located in the 3rd Arrondissement, was constructed in the 14th century and further reconstructed in the 15th century.
Most of the church’s stained glasses from this era were painted on with various mineral compounds, such as silver stain, which gave three dimensions and shading.
The retable, or altarpiece of the chapel, is its most prominent feature. Additionally, the exterior is made up of a mix of architectural styles that were fashionable at various points in the church’s history.
On the other hand, the interior is adorned with hundreds of large columns and a narrow nave, frescos, and various paintings and sculptures worth stopping for.
This famous church is open to the public for visits, concerts, and cultural events.
14. Eglise Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois, 1st Arrondissement
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday (9 a.m. – 7 p.m.) & (Monday closed)
The Church of Saint Germain L’Auxerrois is located in the Louvre Museum’s Cour Carrée, a courtyard that was once part of the Palais de la Cité of 12th-century Paris.
The church’s exterior features a harmonious blend of Romanesque, Rayonnant Gothic, Flamboyant Gothic, and Renaissance architecture. The church’s west front is the most spectacular, with its porch being the primary attraction.
The interior of the church is also equally intriguing. From the colorful glass stained windows that showcase various saints and scenes from the bible, to the organ and various chapels.
So, take out some time especially to savor the historical essence of one of the famous churches in Paris.
15. Église Saint-Paul-Saint-Louis, 4th Arrondissement
Opening Hours: Monday-Sunday (8 a.m. – 8 p.m.)
The Church of St. Paul-St. Louis is a 17th-century church located in the Le Marais neighborhood in the 4th Arrondissement.
The Baroque style architecture in which the church is constructed with the distinctive ornamentation distinguishes it from the Gothic tradition.
The design pays homage to the Italian and French styles. For instance, its facade is Italian with French Gothic verticality and Dutch decoration.
Other points of interest at this church include the sanctuary which is decorated with the paintings of Delacroix, Jacques de Létin, Simon Vouet and Germain Pilon Virgin and the domes which also act as a source of natural light.
So, if you are visiting the Le Marais area, do take some time and explore this place in detail.
16. Sainte Clotilde Basilica, 7th Arrondissement
Opening Hours: Monday-Sunday(9 a.m. -7:30 p.m.)
The Basilica of Saint Clotilde is a 19th-century Neo-Gothic church located in the 7th Arrondissement.
Its nave is beautifully elevated, with three tiers of pointed arcades, windowless triforium, and arched stained-glass windows.
Despite the fact that the church’s interior is what you may have seen in other Parisian churches, it is well lit owing to the large windows.
But what sets it apart is its twin spires and imposing Gothic facade which make it almost unbelievable that it was built only a century ago.
This is a place where you’ll want to go again and again as there are various architectural spots to ponder upon.
17. Église Saint-Gervais, 4th Arrondissement
Opening Hours: Monday-Friday (6 a.m. – 9 p.m. ) & Saturday-Sunday, (7 a.m.- 9 p.m.)
The Church of Saint Gervais is one of the most famous churches in Paris, known for its two bell towers and stained glass dome.
The church’s interior is a treasure trove of medieval carved choir stalls, 17th-century sculpture, and modern stained glass by Sylvie Gaudin and Claude Courageux. The church’s nave is also remarkable for its soaring height and the simplicity of its forms.
However, the lower level of the nave is late Gothic; its higher-level features Renaissance motifs, with enormous semi-circular arches containing a sequence of large stained glass windows.
Its unique history and architecture will make you want to explore it further and find out more about this interesting place.
FAQs About Parisian Churches
What is the main church in Paris?
Notre Dame Cathedral is the main church in Paris.
What is Paris’ most famous cathedral?
The most famous cathedral in Paris is still Notre Dame. Before the fire, it used to receive over 13. 6 million visitors every year.
What is the oldest church in Paris?
The Church of Saint-Germain-des-Près is the oldest church in Paris.
How many churches does Paris have?
Paris averages over 200 churches.
Final Thoughts on the Famous Churches and Cathedrals in Paris
The city is home to some of the most beautiful and iconic cathedrals and churches in the world. So, make sure to visit a few of these Parisian cathedrals while in the city.
From Notre Dame to Sacré Coeur, these places of worship are must-see destinations for travelers interested in history and architecture.
So what are you waiting for? Make your way to one of these famous churches in Paris today and explore some of Christianity’s most impressive feats of structure and design.
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