Photographer's Note

One of the smaller chapels inside St. Germain. I was really impressed by the lighting. It was very eerie, for some reason.

The Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Pres was located just outside early medieval Paris and served as the burial place of the Merovingian kings. The name derives from its location, as the abbey stood in the middle of a field (pres). The chapel claims to be the oldest church in Paris. The abbey was founded in the sixth century by the son of Clovis I, Childebert (r. 511-558). Reportedly while on campaign in Spain in 542, Childebert raised his siege of Zaragoza when he heard that the residents of the city had placed themselves under the protection of the martyr St. Vincent: in gratitude, the bishop presented him with the saint's stole, which Childebert had housed in a church dedicated to the Holy Cross and St. Vincent. The church was completed in 558 and it was actually dedicated on Dec. 23rd, the day Childebert died. A monastery was also eventually constructed. It was plundered and burned by the Normans in the ninth century but it was rebuilt in 1014 and rededicated by Pope Alexander III, the canonized Bishop of Paris in 1163. It housed an important scriptorium in the eleventh century.

The abbey continued to grow in importance. The quarter of Saint-Germain-des-Pres grew up around it, which eventually became part of the Latin Quarter because it donated land along the Seine to the University of Paris. In the seventeenth century the district was one of the most desirable on the Left Bank. The abbey was only disbanded during the French Revolution, so it remained functional for more than a thousand years. It was heavily damaged during the revolution when an explosion of saltpeter, a component of gunpowder being stored on the grounds went off and leveled the abbey and the cloisters. Now all that remains is the church itself. The tomb of the philosopher Rene Descartes is located in one of the side chapels.

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Additional Photos by Terez Anon (terez93) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 89 W: 78 N: 972] (1769)
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