Sunday, July 20, 2008

Inside Saint Jean de Montmartre


Many of you have heard of Les Abbesses area because that is where the movie "Amélie" takes place. Not far from the metro station, there is a church called Saint Jean de Montmartre which I had never visited before. It was completed in 1904 after long fights over its revolutionary structure: Reinforced Concrete! Was it going to be solid enough?! We know the answer now: it was, and it still is... The facade is interesting too (red bricks) and so is the inside as you can see in this photo (in the foreground you can see the holy water font which is located right in the middle at the entrance when you walk in - 1st time I see one like that).

57 comments:

  1. Wowza, quite a difference from yesterday’s "commercial: photo! Beautiful church; love the floors.

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  2. I take it no one has fallen to their death from the top of Saint Jean de Montmartre? [excuse the small Amelie digression] Back to photo...I've never seen one of these holy water font's centrally located either. Wonder if it's used for baptisms?

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  3. I like the herring-bone pattern floor. Herring bone, as in fish.

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  4. Tall Gary...I was thinking the same thing. Nice floor design!!!

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  5. I like the floor too. In Hungary this sort of wood pattern was ordinary and ubiquitous, but it's so rare to see here except in high-class homes or museums.

    I thought that was where all Catholic churches put the holy water!

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  6. Chairs. I noticed that every church I've visited in Paris has chairs and not pews. I don't believe that I've ever been in an American church where there weren't pews. Eric, what's with the chairs?

    Paris Photo Art!

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  7. David...clever photo art, merci for the link!

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  8. in French, the name of the floor is less attractive than herring-bone, it is called "bâton rompu" (broken stick) !
    Anyway, another monument of Paris I didn't know, nice church,inside and outside, surprising mixture of bricks and concrete !

    David, if you go inside a small, poorer village's church, you'll get more pews than chairs.
    A wooden pew was far less expensive and easier to build than chairs covered with staw.

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  9. On a ParisWalk that I recently took, they said that the neighborhood, at the time, was none too happy with the bricks as a building block. That denoted working class, and were not traditional building material for churches.

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  10. Coltrane, thanks for visiting.

    Marylène, thank you for the pew/chair information.

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  11. Eric
    How did you get that exposure in that light?
    You must have used a tripod!

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  12. Interesting church photo. I like all the carved wood. Our church is (smaller!) less ornate, but still has a few carved pieces in it. We do have some very large stained glass windows that are quite beautiful though. The pattern on the floor is interesting as well, as well as the chair situation too. Maybe it is easier to clean such a large space with chairs as well....

    Thanks for sharing, Eric!

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  13. Beautiful photo. Golden.

    The reason they use chairs instead of pews is so they can stack 'em up and move 'em out when it's time for dancin'!

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  14. The font looks like it might scamper away!

    The exterior is as impressive as the interior.

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  15. The atrium was situated between the porch or vestibule and the body of the church. In the center of the atrium was a fountain or well, where the worshippers washed their hands before entering the church. A remnant of this custom still survives in the use of the holy-water font, or basin, usually placed near the inner entrances of churches in the atrium those that were not suffered to advance farther, and more particularly the first class of penitents, stood to solicit the prayers of the faithful as they went into the church. - I guess I'm still a good little catholic girl.

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  16. ERIC,
    I joined all of your followers to L'Occitane today. It was a delightful store and they confirmed that you were indeed on their payroll!:)
    I guess I am clairvoyant, I ordered the soundtrack from Amelie today. I guess these two together make me the chairman of the Paris Daily Photo Fan Club. I am sure that will insure me a very special tour de Paris when I visit next November. Oui?

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  17. Very interesting post. The first use of the reinforced concrete method of construction aux Ètats-Unis was by Albert Kahn in the construction of the Packard Motor Car Company assembly plant in Detroit in 1903. "Louis" can't speak to the first use of it in France or Europe, but clearly it was an idea whose time had come as witnessed by this church.

    Although "Louis" doesn't recall seeing any churches with the fonts at the entrance of the nave like this one from his time living in France, he can say that the practice is rather common among several denominations aux Ètats-Unis. The symbolism is that it is by the water of baptism that we come to Christ, so placing the font at the entrance of the nave calls that to mind. "Louis" can think of three parishes - one Lutheran (where he and Mme. la Vache attend), one Episcopal and one Catholic (here "Our Lady of the Maytag", scroll down) with the fonts placed at the entrance.

    As an aside, Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, has indoor and outdoor replicas of the labyrinth at Chartres.

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  18. Petrea, Notice that the chairs are held in neat rows but long wooden poles, front and back. They'll be no dancing, except perhaps in the isles.

    Paris Photo Art!

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  19. What an interesting church, I love church photos so keep them coming!

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  20. Beautiful picture, reminds of my Grandmother attending Mass with her head covered in lace.

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  21. I'm getting old, I read "with her head covered in lice" and did a doubletake.

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  22. I have walked by that church so many times and never peeked in. Thanks for being our voyeur, Eric.

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  23. Petrea, you've sure been churched differently than me. Praise the Lord, and pass the dancing shoes.

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  24. Elaine, I ain't been churched in a looooooong time.

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  25. And isn't it all wood inside--walls, etc, or is than another Montmartre church? I've walked into a number of churches, but there are always more and more and more.

    The Place Abbessess is lovely, no matter which direction you look or walk. The first Art Nouveau Metro station, as well, with pre-glazed brick that was assembled into perfect art.

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  26. What's Gidget up to in Willits? Or is that Ada Rose fleeing some dynamite fishing on Lake Emily?

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  27. PHX..."covered in lice" BIDDA-BOOM!
    LOL!!!

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  28. Dear Eric, did you know intuitively that I would be checking PDP tonight at the end of a long, challenging day at the end of a long, challenging week? (I work Tuesday through Saturday.) Did you know that a view inside a Parisian church (I looooove visiting churches in Paris, and this is one I had not seen!) would be just what I needed? It is so beautiful and serene. Thank you. Your one-man efforts offer joy and inspiration across the globe ... Really.

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  29. Gary, that's me aged about 4 or 5, cartooned by an artist at Universal Studios, when they had tours, but it wasn't quite a theme park yet. I remember hating being made "sexy". Now, if only.

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  30. Uselaine: My late brother had a caricature like that done of him as a cowboy. He later became one. Hey!...

    Finally got around to checking out the details of the church Eric supplied in the link. I like it. Brick though it may be, it is highly distinctive in a fascinating way.

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  31. Petrea, I was thinking the exact same thing about dancing but since David pointed out how the chairs are strapped together with poles it looks like the festivities, after clearing away the chairs, would be relegated to line dancing.

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  32. Gary, I'm afraid that ship has sailed. Bless you for the thought.

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  33. PhX
    What have you been drinking????? lol

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  34. The atmosphere of the photo is relaxing. I do enjoy your photos of church though I can say that I always pass by churches in Paris and never have the idea to enter.

    Your personal approach of various subjects always amazes me ; the way you are able to communicate about them here too.

    I watched "Amélie" in 2001 and liked a lot this story. This movie is a great illustration of how complicated the human relationships may be sometimes though they should not, if we think of it in a rational way.

    I remember that Amélie's character is clever, sensitive and shy at the same time, which makes her feel a bit solitary in her personal life. But she deals with that quite well, in elaborating her own mental universe. That prevents her from facing her feelings, even when she falls in love like in the movie. I don't remember well the end : does she manage to meet properly her lover??

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  35. Anon...yes, and they live happily ever after going around Paris & collecting pieces of other peeps'photos.

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  36. anonyme --ultimately with a little help from her friends (her fellow waitress, the artist w/the brittle bones). Fabulous movie.
    Wonder how long it would take to visit every church in Paris? Sure would love to find out!
    Meanwhile, thanks Eric.

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  37. I love the floor too - it was the first detail to catch my eye. I have seene chairs in the U.S., but mostly back east in non denominational meeting houses where services are held - and always old wooden or wicker models.

    I always wonder how one kneels when sitting in these, as there are no kneelers - or maybe I just can't see them?

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  38. I wondered about the kneelers too. I bet you will sit up and pay attention while in these chairs. Great photo and I love it that the baptismal font is on such dainty legs.

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  39. Again I can't talk for this church I have never visited but in most of the small and middle-size churches, only the 5 to 10 first rows have kneelers, behind there are usually only simple pews or chairs.

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  40. Nowadays you can attend mass without kneeling if you're not willing to.
    It is not uncommon to see most of the persons just bend their head in sign of respect.
    But I noticed, when going to mass in New Orleans, that it was held in a much more traditional way, like it was when I was a little girl in France, hope I make myself clear enough, LOL.

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  41. Anonyme - wasn't it a lovely movie -- they ride off at the end on his little motorscooter or cycle - happy ever after. : )


    USElaine - I just saw your Willits Daily Photo and I love your photos. When I grow up I want to be a Daily Photo Photographer, too. I wish I could do it now, but, I'm just too busy.

    Louis la Vache -- I just checked out your Frog Blog as well -- charming -- merci.

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  42. PHX -- Grandmere covered in lice!!! LOOOOOOOOL!!!

    I bet that made her dance! ;)

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  43. I was so pleased to have you stop by my site and leave a comment, Eric -- thank you!
    Although we've wandered around Abbesses, we've never popped inside this church so thank you for giving us a peek, as well.

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  44. Ny niece is named Amelie after the character. This kind of flooring reminds me of old schools in the UK.
    Lovely buirling and yes a lovely film. How often are Thingson our doorstep that we just don't get round to visiting. So glad you eventually went.

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  45. Thanks, Eric, for a beautiful photo AND for providing me with yet another "must-see" for my August trip to Paris. I have visited twice before and still feel that I have seen only a little of the wonder and beauty of the most lovely city in the world. Seven days will never be enough, so I will have to make some difficult choices about what to leave until my NEXT visit. Mostly, I want to feel the Parisian spirit and carry it home with me. One can live on a "Paris hangover" for quite some time!

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  46. "Paris hangover!" Rainie, that's perfectly said.

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  47. Coltrane and Alexa, thank you for answering to my question about the end of the movie 'Amélie'. I still didn't remember very well that part. But as Carrie mentioned, I remember that is a lovely movie!

    I have to watch it again as soon as possible! I even think I have the video at home. :)

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  48. Rainei: I think of it as Paris withdrawals.

    Maybe I will have to give Amelie another view one of these days.

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  49. What a beautiful church. I love older churches that aren't so fancy-pants with heavy stained glass everywhere. The (Lutheran) church I was married in had the baptismal font at the entrance as well, but it was a brand new church so I thought it was simply some new fangled idea. Lovely to see that the concept actually has a tradition.

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  50. It's a Paris high. It lasts a while. The withdrawal comes after a number of weeks. Never a hangover. But always feeling distracted, distressed at the empty place discovered as it's fading away. Love? Paris. Meme chose.

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  51. I visited this church the last time I was in Paris, but I couldn't remember the name. It was right across from a small flea market taking place that day.
    I can't wait to come back!
    Thanks for a great memory!
    Marta

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