Eglise Saint-Jean-de-Montmartre, Paris, France
Lumix Leica LX3 20mm full frame
In Paris, Saint Pierre de Montmartre is the lesser known of the two main churches on Montmartre, the other being the Basilica of the Sacré-Coeur. Historically, however, it has the greater claim to fame, since according to the earliest biography of Saint Ignatius Loyola, the church is the location at which the vows were taken that led to the founding of the Jesuits.
Though according to its traditional history, it was founded by Saint Denis in the third century, only scattered signs of Gallo-Roman occupation have been detected at the much-disturbed site,[ where Theodore Vacquier, the first municipal archaeologist, identified remains of walling at the Temple of Mars, from which Montmartre took its name.
In 1657 the antiquary and local historian Henri Sauval was shown remains in the priory garden that he associated with the templum Martis. The early church3 that was a stop in the ninth century for pilgrims en route for the Basilica of Saint Denis,4 belonged in 1096 to the comte de Melun. Louis VI purchased it in 1133, in order to establish in it a Benedictine convent, and the Merovingian church was rebuilt; it was reconsecrated by Pope Eugenius III in 1147, in a glamorous royal ceremony where Bernard of Clairvaux and Peter, Abbot of Cluny acted as acolytes.5
The Benedictine community moved downhill to a new priory in the 1680s. Saint Pierre de Montmartre was ruined during the French Revolution, and upon it was erected a tower for the purpose of the Chappe optical semaphore. It was rebuilt in the 19th century, and today is visited by numerous tourists who tend to notice, among other things, the pillars of Roman origin used within the nave.