Private Saint-Germain-des-Prés Church and Abbey Guided Tour

A Saint-Germain tour dedicated to the Saint-Germain-des-Prés church and ancient abbey. Made by a passionate fully licensed guide lecturer, this guided tour of the oldest church of Paris and its former outbuildings also focuses on sacred art and architecture.

Saint-Germain-des-Prés abbatial church newly restored choir and nave to illustrate the Saint-Germain-des-Prés Church and Ancient Abbey Guided Tour in Paris, France.

Saint-Germain-des-Prés abbatial church: the newly restored choir and nave

Saint-Germain-des-Prés church and abbey private tour Essentials  

120 € for 1 to 2 people + 25 € per extra person 

  • +/- 2-hour guided tour in English
  • Really private tour = your party only (6 people max.)
  • Postgraduate (MPhil) certified French national guide
  • Flexible schedule  – No available on weekends

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What’s in the tour appart from French history?

Symbolism

Art

Sacred Architecture

Liturgy

Light

Why a Saint-Germain-des-Prés church & abbey Guided Tour?

Because if this Paris district is nowadays world-famous for its 20th-century golden age, Saint-Germain-des-Prés was historically before all a powerful independent abbey at the gates of Paris.

The church of St Germain is the most spectacular remains of the ancient abbey.

But it is not only (with Saint-Pierre-de-Montmartre) the oldest church of Paris, it is also an exceptional and unique witness of Capetian France’s early Romanesque and early Gothic architecture.

The abbey-church is also worth a visit for its magnificent just restored 19th-century murals.

But the church is not the only remain of the ancient abbey, less spectacular or visible ones can be found all around, they are key to understanding the district.

Saint-Germain-des-prés church abbey Private Tour Organisation

The tour is mainly organized around 4 themes:

  • The abbey
  • The abbey-church
  • Other buildings and vestiges of the abbey
  • The faubourg and the Paris 12th century city wall

Structure and evolution of Christian architecture being a 5th transversal theme of the tour.

A special focus on 19th century Flandrin’s murals can also be made.

Your Private Guide in Paris

Certified French national guide
BA, Magna Cum Laude, Heritage Developpement & Preservation from Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers
Postgraduate from Paris Dauphine-PSL University

Know more about Yves, your private tour guide in Paris

a very special Paris private tour to encounter
the most ancient roots of Saint-Germain-des-Prés!

Tour Content

The Saint-Germain-des-Prés Ancient Abbey

  • The abbey history since its foundation in the 6th-century
  • How were the monks living
  • Who were the abbots, the priors
  • The rule of Saint Benedict: Ora, Labora, Lectio Divina
  • The Saint-Maure Congregation
  • The importance and the influence of the abbey in arts, literature, history, or archeology
  • How the last superior-general of the congregation Ambroise Chevreux was butchered during the 1792 “massacre de septembre” of the French Revolution.

The Abbey Church

History & Architecture
  • Merovingian period (late antiquity)
  • Early Romanesque
  • Early Gothic
  • 17th-century vaults
  • 19th-century restorations
  • 20th-century Neo-Roman
Art & Ornamentation
  • Merovingian columns
  • Romanesque chapiters
  • Stained glass art evolution
  • 17th-century paintings
  • 19th-century fresco works
Symbolism & Liturgy
  • The Importance of light
  • Colors signification
  • Purpose of churches orientation
  • Meaning of sacred furnitures position
  • Where and how being buried

Other Buildings and Vestiges of the Abbaye

The 13th-Century Magnificent Lady Chapel
  • How it was destroyed during the French Revolution period
  • Remaining stain-glasses
  • Remaining Virgen Mary Statue, its history
  • Other architecture remains of the chapel around the streets
Abbots Palace

A brick and stone witness of the last period of the French Renaissance.

Biggest Witnesses of the Abbaye

Learn to read the Saint-Germain-des-Prés district map and discover how much streets position and organization are directly linked with the ancient abbey.

The Faubourg Saint-Germain & the Paris 12th-Century City Wall

  • The Saint-Germain Faubourg
  • The Saint-Germain Market
  • Remains and position of the 12th century Paris City Wall

Cross-sectoral Theme: Structure and Evolution of Christian Sacred Architecture

  • Evolution of Christian sacred architecture from ancient Rome civil basilica to Romanesque and then Gothic churches.
  • Differences between chapel, abbey church, basilica, cathedral, etc.
  • Function and evolution of architectural structures as ambulatory, chapels, triforium, gallery, transept, etc.

Tour Special Focus

The amazing 19th-Century Flandrin Mural Work

After a five years restoration program (2015-2020) murals are now magnificent!

Flandrin was the preferred pupil of Ingres the most famous 19th-century, neo-classical French painter.

In charge of the ornamentation aspect of the restoration of the church, Flandrin developed and employed a hot wax, Renaissance-inspired painting technique.

The themes of the frescos are exceptionally rich, as Flandrin was helped by a Jesuit expert in the history of arts, called father Cahier, for their selection: below are some of the frescos themes:

  • The Apostles
  • The four Evangelists and the Tetramorph
  • The seven Christian Virtues
  • The historic figures of the church foundation etc.
Choir of the Saint-Germain church to illustrate the Saint-Germain-des-Prés Church and Ancient Abbey Guided Tour in Paris, France

Paris – Saint-Germain-des-Prés church with its newly renovated paintings (murals), the small columns of the triforium (closed gallery of the choir) are from the first Merovingian church (late antiquity).

Other Saint-Germain-des-Prés Tours

Things to know before Booking

Meeting Point

In front of the entry of the Saint-Germain-des-Prés church  

Access: Metro Line 4: “Saint-Germain-des-Prés”

 

Private Tour Attention Points

  • Tour is on foot.
  • Prices do not include transportation, food, drinks, or any other extra services.
  • Neighborhood tour: we don’t enter monuments except in Saint-Germain Church.
  • A private tour means a tour for you & your party only, not that the church is privatized.
  • We can’t guarantee access to the church: it may exceptionally be closed or forbidden to tours (ceremony) without notice. If this occurs we will do our best to solve the situation postponing the tour if we can, or adapting it, or doing another tour, or refunding you.
  • Tour duration & content are purely indicative, they may vary due to contingencies.

Book your Saint-Germain-des-Prés church and abbey Tour

Choose below your tour: You will then be  asked : -> choose the number of people, date & hours of visit -> after our validation-> pay on line.

Photo of a Stained glass of former Lady Chapel (distroyed during the French Revolution) representing Saint-Germain the founder of the abbey to illustrate the Saint-Germain-des-Prés Church and Abbey Guided Tour, in Paris, France.

Stained glass of former Lady Chapel (destroyed during the French Revolution) representing Saint-Germain the founder of the abbey – MET collection New York – Two Lady Chapel stained glasses have been reinstalled in the choir of the Saint-Germain church.

Photo of the Romanesque bell tower of Saint-Germain-des Près Church to illustrate the Saint-Germain-des-Prés Church and Abbey Guided Tour, in Paris, France.

The bell tower of Saint-Germain-des-Prés Church which was built around the year 1000, the sculpture in the foreground is from Picasso.