The church of Val de Grace Paris (Notre Dame de Val-de-Grâce when properly written in French) is located in what is now a hospital and a military building housing a museum. I have found this small church very intriguing, especially as I was all alone when I visited... Have a look:
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INFO & PLANNING TIPS - Val de Grace church
The Val de Grace church has a long history and started as the church for the royal abbey. The building now surrounding the church is home to the museum of military health services and other military services including a teaching hospital.
It was built on the order of the Queen Anne of Austrian the 17th century.
View of Val de Grace Paris from above
The best view of Val de Grace should be from the dome of the Pantheon but I have not been yet (as it is closed for renovation).
This photo was taken from the Towers of Notre Dame. The big dome is the Pantheon and the small some to the right in Val de Grace Paris.
Val de Grace church from the outside
When I visited the front of the church was in renovation. I should go back to see if it is finished and take a better picture for you.
This is a military building, so with all that is happening nowadays, entrance is limited. On the right hand side you need to find the small door and ring the bell. It does not look like much but it is the entrance.
The style of the Val de Grace Paris building is Baroque with a 2 level facade and a beautiful dome.
Access to other sections of the building are closed but I did ask permission to quickly take a pictures from the back and they allowed me. I liked all the different lines and levels.
Entering the Val de Grace church
I did not enter the church by the main entrance but by the rest of the building. There is a massive corridor and an impressive grilling.
This church is not as famous as others in Paris so I was lucky to be alone as I entered the place.
The dome of the Val de Grace church
Once inside you discover the magnificent copula of the dome. It is decorated with a fresco from Pierre Mignard. It was drawn over 14 months in 1665. I represents the offering from Anne of Austria for the birth of her son.
Under the dome
Under the dome is an impressive canopy. I think it looks strange there. The building is white and simple, without over the top decors but this piece is gold and sculpted everywhere.
The Nave of the Val de Grace church
The Val de Grace church has the shape of a latin cross. The nave has a decorated roof and the white stone is in great condition.
Here is a view from the front of the church
Near the main door of Val de Grace Paris, you can admire the displays of paintings. For example below: "the Arrival of the Christ in Jerusalem" and "the Christ and the Canaanite" by Philippe de Champaigne (17th century)
Chapels of Val de Grace Paris
Around the cross are several chapels. Most of them are closed and can only been seen across grid gate
- The Saint Louis Chapel where the benedictine nuns were praying
- The Saint Anne Chapel where the copula has a portrait of Saint Anne
- The chapel with the Organ
Although not as impressive as other organs in Paris churches, this organ is particular. Added to the church after the revolution, it is a Cavaillé-Coll. Contrary to the other organs it was not modified or updated in the following century. So it is a rare piece showing the original work. So many organ player enjoy giving concert un the Val de Grace Paris.
However you can access the Saint Sacrement chapel which house sculptures by Michel Anguier. It is dedicated to the Eucharist.
Want to see more of Paris?
Discover more things to do and places to see in Oman in my Visit Paris Travel Guide.
LA MADELEINE CHURCH (to be published)
Have you ever had the opportunity to be alone in a beautiful church?
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