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St Julien le Pauvre

Built in 1165 at the same time as Notre-Dame, this is the oldest and most charming of churches in Paris.

TravelCurious Tip

The church is one of the oldest in the capital, and nearby, in the René Viviani square, you can find the oldest tree in Paris too

St Julien le Pauvre is one of the oldest religious buildings in Paris. Built in the Romanesque style in the 13th century, it was actually never finished and in spite of returns to construction over the following centuries it ended up being much smaller than was intended. This humility is perhaps fitting though: after all, the church was named after Julian of Le Mans, whose dedication to helping the poor was considered exemplary.


Art lovers will be charmed by its interior. The capitals of its South columns are decorated with harpies, and there is a paving stone from the original road from Paris (then Lutetia) to Orléans. Because the church is dedicated to Byzantine worship, you won’t find an organ inside, but you will see a wonderful iconostasis and many icons along the church walls. Classical concerts are still regularly held inside, and it’s a simply wonderful place for them.


Dada, Gaga

In 1921 the church was the venue for one of the last major Dada art performances. The event involved writers such as André Breton and the artist Francis Picabia. As they handed out leaflets inviting “friends and enemies” for what would assuredly “not be an anticlerical demonstration”, they shouted things such as "Be dirty!... One must trim his nose as one trims his hair!... One must wash her breasts like she washes facecloths…" The performance was, regrettably, a dud.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Paris
Notre-Dame de Paris
Notre Dame, perched on an island in the heart of Paris, is one of the finest cathedrals in the world.
Île de la Cité
This island in the middle of the River Seine is the historical heart of Paris.
Place St-Michel Fountain
One of the city's most well-known meeting places, the statue depicts the archangel Michael vanquishing the Devil.
Shakespeare and Co Bookshop
A legendary meeting place and boarding-house for many aspiring writers. Stocks everything from Shakespeare to Joyce.
Rue du Chat qui Peche
Considered the narrowest street in Paris with only 1.80mts wide for the whole of its 29mts.
Church of Saint Severin
It is one of the oldest churches that remains standing on the Left Bank of the Latin Quarter, and it continues in use as a place of worship.

Related Tours

The Latin Quarter: Parisian Authors & Thinkers
The Latin Quarter is one of Paris' most quirky and interesting neighbourhoods. It is an ambient juxtaposition of medieval backstreets, churches and grand Haussmman-style boulevards, which were built in the 19th century as part of Paris’ modernisation, the area takes its name from medieval times when the majority of local residents were clergy or students who spoke Latin. 

  • Discover the Latin Quarter with your private professional guide
  • Experience the artistic haunts of Sartre, Hemingway, and Camus
  • Get off the beaten track at Paris’ best-hidden squares and parks
  • Walk Paris' narrowest street and see the city's oldest church
  • See the famed Paris Panthéon and one of the most beautiful parks in the world - the Luxembourg Gardens
The Latin Quarter was the scene of the student uprising in May ’68, even though its medieval facade strikes a strong contrast to its liberal, intellectual and artistic side. On Boulevard St-Michel and Boulevard St Germain, you will find many cafes where the likes of Camus, Orwell, and Hemingway passed hours discussing philosophy and literature. The area is also rich with interesting book shops, most notably the Shakespeare and Company - a legendary meeting place and boarding house for many aspiring writers.

Your tour guide will direct you through the neighbourhood’s best cultural haunts: experience the wonders of medieval backstreets that are adorned with theatres and jazz clubs, unchanged since their post-war beginnings, and see the narrowest street in Paris. Visit the city’s oldest church in St Julien le Pauvre and see one of the most famous academic institutions in the world - La Sorbonne. 

Next stop off at the Panthéon, a mausoleum where many distinguished French figures such as Voltaire, Braille, and Rousseau were laid to rest. Then wander through the grounds of the stunning Luxembourg Gardens and Palace, the perfect place to people watch, enjoy nature, and feel like a true Parisian.
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