Our Top 7 Best Churches in Paris to Visit

The Paris Cathedrals & Churches To Put On Your List
Interior of St Paul in Paris

The nave of Saint-Paul in Paris

January 23, 2023
Regardless of your religious beliefs, Paris’s amazing churches and cathedrals have a lot to offer visitors. Their incredible architecture and priceless pieces of art provide a window into French culture of both past and present. These are the ones you’ll want to make sure to add to your itinerary…
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by alesa

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Paris is home to some of the most beautiful and historic churches in the world. From Gothic masterpieces to Renaissance gems, these churches offer a glimpse into the rich history and culture of the French capital. We recommend popping in any intriguing church you come across while wandering around the city — please do be respectful of worshippers when inside — but these seven sanctuaries are the ones you absolutely won’t want to miss.

1. Notre-Dame Cathedral

One of the most famous churches in the world, Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral is a stunning example of French Gothic architecture. The building, which dates back to the 12th century, is famous for its intricate carvings and stunning rose windows, not to mention all its appearances in literature and film.

You used to be able to climb to the top of the cathedral for a breathtaking view of Paris, however, the towers have been closed since the fire of April 2019. Even if you can’t currently go inside Notre-Dame Cathedral, the UNESCO World Heritage Site remains a must for anyone visiting Paris.

Front façade of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
Notre Dame de Paris

Notre Dame de Paris
6 Parvis Notre-Dame – Pl. Jean-Paul II, 75004 Paris
Interior currently closed
Metro: Cité (Line 4)

2. La Sainte-Chapelle

This 13th-century Gothic chapel is known for its stunning stained glass. Built for the personal use of King Louis IX, la Sainte-Chapelle is one of the few remaining vestiges of the royal palace that once occupied the Île de la Cité, along with la Conciergerie. With its high walls and colorful windows, it’s a surprisingly intimate oasis of serenity and beauty in the heart of the city.

If you’re in town at the right time, you may even be able to enjoy a classical music concert in this incredible setting. It’s a Parisian experience you won’t forget. It’s worth noting that this is one of the only churches in Paris that isn’t free to enter. Tickets can be purchased on the official Sainte-Chapelle website or on site.

Stained glass windows of the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris.
La Sainte-Chapelle

La Sainte-Chapelle
10 Boulevard du Palais, 75001 Paris
Metro: Cité (Line 4) Open every day 09:00-17:00
Tickets 11.50€, free under 26 years old with ID

3. Basilique du Sacré-Cœur

This white marble basilica perched atop the hill of Montmartre offers one of the best views of Paris. The Sacré-Cœur was built in the late 19th century and is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike. The view from the steps in front of the basilica is one not to miss, providing you with a fantastic vantage point to look out over the city.

The Sacred Heart Church of Paris isn’t only worth visiting for its picturesque surroundings; its interiors offer lovely mosaics and frescoes you’ll want to admire as well.

Urbansider Tip: Read up on the scams to watch out for in Paris before visiting, as this is a very popular spot for pickpockets and con artists.

Sacré Coeur basilica
Sacré-coeur Basilica

Basilique du Sacré-Coeur, Sacred Heart Basilica
35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre, 75018 Paris
Open every day 06:00-22:30
Metro: Anvers (Line 2), Abbesses (Line 12), Lamarck – Caulaincourt (Line 12)

After visiting this must-see landmark, discover a different side of this iconic Paris neighborhood by taking a unique walking tour of Montmartre.

Paris street art tour of Montmartre in English

4. Église Saint-Sulpice

This 18th-century Paris church is known for its unique architecture and immense size. The second-largest church in Paris after Notre Dame, Saint-Sulpice is home to a huge organ, an interesting astronomical measurement device (called a gnomon), and multiple murals by famed French Romantic artist Eugène Delacroix. A great example of the Baroque style, it should certainly be on your list if you’re interested in architecture and the history of art. The area around the church is also full of shops that warrant a detour.

Saint-Sulpice church in Paris
Église Saint-Sulpice

Église Saint-Sulpice
2 Rue Palatine, 75006 Paris
Open every day 08:00-19:45
Metro: Saint-Sulpice (Line 4), Mabillon (Line 10)

5. Église Saint-Eustache

This 16th-century gem is one of the most impressive churches in Paris, combining Gothic, Renaissance, and Classical styles. Saint-Eustache also happens to be right next to the popular shopping mall Les Halles. Known for its imposing architecture and ornate decoration, the church also boasts one of the largest pipe organs in all of France. And, like many of the other églises on our list, its expansive interiors include several stunning frescoes and sculptures.

Sainte-Eustache church in Paris near Les Halles.
Église Saint-Eustache

Église Saint-Eustache
2 Impasse Saint-Eustache, 75001 Paris
Open Mon-Fri 09:30-19:00, Sat 10:00-19:00, Sun 09:00-19:00
Metro: Les Halles (Line 4)

6. Église Saint Germain des Prés

Situated just across from the famous Left Bank café Les Deux Magots, the Église Saint-Germain des Prés is one of the oldest churches in Paris with a history dating back to the 6th century. The present-day church blends Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance styles, with a striking façade featuring a single bell tower.
 
Inside, the Roman-Catholic church has colorful frescoes, a magnificent organ, and intricate stained glass windows. This former abbey has played an important role in the cultural and intellectual history of Paris, associated with several famous figures such as French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre who was a fixture of the nearby café terraces.
The beautiful interiors of Saint Germain des Prés church in Paris.
Église Saint Germain des Prés
Église Saint Germain des Prés
3 Place Saint-Germain des Prés, 75006 Paris
Open Tues-Fri 08:30-20:00, Sun-Mon 09:30-20:00
Metro: Saint-Germain-des-Prés (Line 4)

7. Église Saint-Paul Saint-Louis

If you’re walking around Le Marais, you’ll no doubt come across the pretty Église Saint-Paul Saint-Louis, commonly referred to as Saint Paul. Markedly different from the façades of most other churches in Paris, the exterior of the 17th-century structure features a fantastic clock as well as enticing bright red doors. But it’s not only the outside that’s exceptional; inside you’ll find a blend of architectural styles, an incredible and atypical central dome, and noteworthy artworks.

Saint-Paul church in the Marais
Paroisse Saint-Paul Saint-Louis in Le Marais
Paroisse Saint-Paul Saint-Louis
Open every day 08:00-20:00
Metro: Saint-Paul (Line 1)

Bonus: Basilique de Saint-Denis

Alright, so this church isn’t technically in Paris, but if you’re up for taking a 20-minute metro ride to the northern suburb of Saint-Denis, the Saint Denis Basilica is definitely worth the trip. While its architecture may not be as notable as the other churches on this list, its one-of-a-kind royal necropolis more than makes up for it. The ornate tombs of over 100 French kings, queens, princes, and princesses, known as gisants, fill the crypt of this cathedral. History buffs and French culture enthusiasts ought to add la Basilique de Saint-Denis to their bucket lists.
 
Like the Sainte-Chapelle, you’l need to purchase a ticket to visit the Saint Denis Basilica. Tickets can be purchased on the monument’s official website.
 
An ornate tomb at the necropolis at the Saint Denis Basilica
The royal necropolis at the Saint Denis Basilica
Basilique de Saint-Denis
1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 93200 Saint-Denis
Open Mon-Sat: 10:00-17:15, Sun: 12:00-17:15
Metro: Basilique de Saint-Denis (Line 13)
Tickets: 9.50€, free under 26 years old with ID
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