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Saint Sulpice Church

Saint Sulpice Church

One of the places to include on any visit to Paris, would be the Church of Saint Sulpice, the famous location of the Da Vinci Code novel. This famous church is located in the same district as the Church of Saint Germain-des-Pres and this church. As this district extends from the Seine all the way to the bd de Montparnasse, it also includes the Luxembourg Gardens.

The Church of Saint Sulpice was started in 1646 by an architect by the name of Le Vau and that it was not finally completed until some one hundred thirty-four years later, after six different architects had worked on it. By the year 1733, all that remained to be built of Saint Sulpice's was the facade, and then it was decided, as so often happens in churches that are a long time in the building -and the wonder is that it did not happen more often-to change its style. The interior had been built in the Jesuit style, but when the Italian architect Servandoni was commissioned to build the facade, he built it in the classical style, and that is the facade you see there now-with certain exceptions.

The interior of Saint Sulpice, which is three hundred ninety-four feet long, one hundred eighty-seven feet wide and ninety-eight feet high. Many of the frescoes in this church were painted by Delacroix. Also of interest are the two benitiers or holy water vessels, which consist of giant seashells and were a gift from the Republic of Venice to Francis I. But to the lover of music, the chief attraction of Saint Sulpice will always be its famous organ and choir. Its organ is the largest in Europe, and both the music and the choir have been praised by French writers for generations.

A few anecdotes about the church. The ancestor of the telegraph, the Chappe system (moving panel system set on heights) had a fixed place on the roof until 1850. Baudelaire and the marquis de Sade were baptized in this church. Victor Hugo got married here.

The Rose Line, a narrow brass strip, marks the original zero-longitude line, which passed through Paris before begin moved to Greenwich, England. Silas the monk uses the line as a reference point in his quest for the Holy Grail. You can retrace his path from the stone statue north across the nave and transept to an obelisk next to the statue of St Peter. The Astronomical Gnomen in ├ęglise Saint-Sulpice was commissioned in order to determine the exact date of easter, and the winter and summer equinoxes.

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