A Gothic church with a Renaissance decor, St-Eustache is one of the largest in the city, at over 105m long (344 ft.) and 43m wide (141 ft.). It was built from 1532 to 1640 along the plan of Notre-Dame; the intertwined arches of the ceiling give a similar sense of exalted elevation. These dimensions result in excellent acoustics for the church’s huge 8,000-pipe organ, which is considered one of the finest in the city. The church’s musical reputation stretches back centuries; Berlioz and Liszt both conducted their works here, among others. Before the Revolution, Saint Eustache was a parish where both the nobility and working class came to worship—Cardinal Richelieu and Madame de Pompadour were both baptized here, as was the playwright Molière. After the Revolution it was turned into a temple to agriculture, and, like many Parisian churches, its interior suffered mightily. It was subsequently restored and is currently undergoing another go-round. Work is progressing slowly and many chapels are gloomy, but you can still admire the soaring nave and the overall effect of this graceful edifice. There are free organ recitals every Sunday at 5:30pm before the 6:00 mass; other concerts are listed on the church’s website or at www.fnacspectacles.com.
- Margie Rynn