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by wanderer 2005
June 10, 2005
This church is in the heart of the Latin Quarter, right around the corner from Blvd. Saint Germain. You could walk right by it if you’re not paying attention.
History says that Severin was a 6th-century hermit who was closely associated with St. Martin, the patron saint of travelers. Parishioners used to hang horseshoes here as a thanks on their safe return from a journey. A small oratory was built here in his memory. The oratory that honoured him became a vault, then a basilica, because, at that time, the wives of the different kings of France lived in the Thermes and used to come and make their devotions there.
Since that time, on the same spot, several churches have been rebuilt after the existing buildings were destroyed by Norman invasion and by fire. The present building was under construction from the 13th to 20th centuries because there was never enough money to finish it.
The organ is from 1745. In medieval times, yearly awards were given to the five most virtuous maidens in the parish, and the most scandalous were put on display in cages. These days the church is known for concerts.
The Gothic architecture and stained-glass windows are nothing less than incredible, and the organ is one of the most beautiful ones around. This church has the oldest triforium of Paris, a very beautiful déambulatoire composed of 10 double spans of pillar-palm trees. You have to see this place to believe it.
On any given day, the adjacent square is filled with students and tourists getting their fill of shopping and eating at the surrounding eateries. This area is also known for the inexpensive Greek restaurants that line the adjacent boulevard.
From journal Right or Left Bank?
June 14, 2003
In medieval times, yearly awards were given here to the five most virtuous maidens in the parish, and the most scandalous were put on display in cages. A 16th C painting on one of the walls was uncovered in 1968; all of the damned in the painting are women. The 15th C windows in that area were destroyed in the WWII; the ones remaining are by Jean Bazaine, done in 1966. The first three bays in the nave have late 14th C glass ; from the 4th bay on, the glass is mid 15th C. The organ is from 1745; Saint-Saëns and Faurè played here. These days the church is known for classical and sacred music concerts.
From journal Paris in May