Sunday, March 10, 2013

Saint Germain des Prés

The first thing I did when I got to Paris was go to Mass at this church.  I'm sorry to start off descriptions of my trip to Paris with this story, but an incident (a horror, more like it) at Saint Germain des Prés church should be acknowledged.  During the Terror, on Sept. 2, 1792, a mob herded 168 clerics, aristocrats, and common criminals out of the abbey prison and massacred them.  The injured tried to escape, but were killed, stripped and piled up outside of the church where, in a carnival-like atmosphere, their clothes were auctioned off.  This area of Paris was especially active during the Revolution, both for events that took place here and the number of prominent revolutionaries that lived in the neighborhood.  Emperor Napoleon III's redesign of the city, carried out by Baron Haussman during the early 19th century, has completely altered it.  Boulevard Saint-Germain, a main thoroughfare, cuts through what used to be church land and the Saint-Germain des Prés section of Paris.  Homes and most other buildings that were here during the Revolution were torn down.  A few are left and I'm going to find them. The rest of the area is made up of pricey shops, antique stores, cafes.

No comments: