Aug 9, 2009

I used to spare my time to go to organ concerts each summer in Église de Saint-Eustache ( Saint Eustache Church), commemorating the premieres of Berlioz’s Te Deum and Liszt’s Messiah. With 8000 pipes, the organ is the largest pipe organ in France, surpassing the organs of Saint Sulpice and Notre Dame de Paris. The organ was originally constructed by Ducroquet and later modified under the direction of Joseph Bonnet. The present instrument was designed under the direction of Titular Organist Jean Guillou and dates from 1989 and was built by the Dutch firm of Van den Heuvel retaining a few ranks of pipes from the former organ. Believe me, you really like to listen the concerts. It felt like I live in other century, with the very different life, culture, habits. How far imagining!

Located at the entrance to Les Halles and the beginning of the famous rue Montorgueil, the Église de Saint-Eustache is a a Gothic structure clothed in Renaissance detail. The church’s reputation was strong enough of the time for it to be chosen as the location for a young Louis XIV to receive communion. Mozart also chose the sanctuary as the location for his mother’s funeral. Among those baptised here as children were Richelieu, Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, future Madame de Pompadour and Molière, who was also married here two decades later. The last rites for Anne of Austria, Turenne and Mirabeau were pronounced within its walls. Marie de Gournay is buried there. Alais constructed a chapel dedicated to Sainte-Agnès, a Roman martyr. The construction of the current church began in 1532, the work not being finally completed until 1637. The name "Saint-Eustache" refers to Saint Eustace, a Roman general who was burned with his family for converting to Christianity.

Station on Paris metro: Les Halles