It thrills me to no end that so many of you are enjoying the start of our International Women’s Month series. 🥳🥳 Your feedback yesterday was spectacular! And I am delighted to learn that I am introducing you to a new lady of France many of you were not familiar with! 🇫🇷
We continue our discovery of Sainte Geneviève as we leave Ile Saint-Louis and work our way farther into the 5th arrondissement of Paris, France. Yesterday, we discovered the first way that Geneviève saved this favorite city of ours: by defending off the Huns. Now that is one brave lady! 🤩
But she doesn’t stop there. In today’s episode, part 2 of 3, we learn about how Geneviève saves Paris a SECOND time. We walk through the streets of Paris up the Saint Geneviève “mountain” and visit one of the most beautiful churches in Paris. And we FIND her! 👏👏
I hope you enjoy our adventure today and learning more about the story of our patron saint of Paris.
Bisous and big hugs 🤗🤗from France,
🇫🇷 France 🇫🇷, forever.
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Now, let’s go back in time again. The Huns avoided Paris. But now The Franks, by their permanent presence in the East and in Ile de France between 470 and 480, ended up cutting off the traditional commercial relations to Paris.
With food shortages, a period of famine sets in.
Geneviève then went to Arcis-sur-Aube to negotiate supplies.
She requisitions boats and goes up the Seine and Geneviève negotiates the necessary wheat right there on the spot.
We are now in the 5th arrondissement of Paris, where a whole district bears the name of Saint Geneviève, from the abbey where she was buried, to the hill where the Pantheon stands today.
Paris and the whole of France recognized Geneviève as their protectress, and the Parisians took the habit, each time a flood, drought, war or epidemic threatened them, to walk the reliquary of the saint.
I find this so fascinating, check this out: A whole protocol governed this ceremony.
The day before, Parisians fasted and when the day came, the bells of all the churches rang.
Then the procession, made up of religious orders, the bishop of Paris, the Parliament, the court of accounts and others, marched from the Sainte-Geneviève mountain to Notre-Dame de Paris then, after a large mass, the procession made the return trip.
It is rather unfortunate… Decorated with gold, silver, diamonds and stones, the reliquary was melted down during the French Revolution to recover its precious materials, and the contents burned on the Place de Grève and scattered in the Seine.
Elements found in the crypt of the old Sainte-Geneviève church, which no longer exists, were placed in 1803 in the Saint-Étienne-du-Mont church .
These relics are the last of the saint visible in Paris.
At the church:
We are now at the church Saint-Étienne-du-Mont which is a blend of Gothic and Renaissance styles. It is considered one of the most remarkable churches in Paris especially inside.
The choir screen (I believe it is called the “Jubé” in French) which is the only one that you can see in Paris and is made of stone so finely cut that it looks like lace;
and the stained glasses so beautiful.
Geneviève died in 512, at the age of 89. Her body was placed in a stone sarcophagus, still preserved in this church.