Today being Father's Day back in the good ol' U.S. of A., today's music
is dedicated to my own Pops.
Are you sure we can't convince you to come visit?
To be filed under not-too-surprising coincidences: I happened to be visiting this mid-sized cathedral on the day that a youth choir from Kentucky was scheduled to perform as part of their see-the-world singing tour. Seemed as good a reason as any to sit awhile and enjoy the cool indoors.
Saint-Séverin is one of the more beautiful churches in Paris, and is surprisingly well-hidden, given that it isn't really that far off the main thoroughfares; it's just that the streets in the Latin Quarter are especially convoluted, and it's easy to overlook the back street that the church occupies. When in doubt, follow your nose, Toucan Sam: in such a tourist-friendly area, there are plenty of sandwich grec stands, crèpe carts, and ice cream and dessert shops.
Built between the 13th and 16th centuries, the church is a perfect example of the "Flamboyant Gothic" style. Named for a 6th-century hermit (great gravy, everything here is old!) who persuaded the grandson of early French king Clovis to follow the church's orders (eventually becoming "Saint-Cloud"), the church received its main boost in 1684 when one of Louis XIV's cousins decided to switch from her old parish church of Saint-Sulpice (also soon to be visited) and had Saint-Séverin modernized. (Or, I suppose, what would have passed for "modernizing" by 1684 standards.)
In a medical curiosity of note, the cemetery on the church grounds was the site of the first operation to remove gall stones, in 1474. (Not exactly confidence-inspiring for the patient, is it?) An archer who had been condemned to death was offered a pardon if he would consent to the operation as a guinea pig; surprisingly, it worked out without complications, and he went free. The technique would go on to become one of the few operations that Parisian patients had even odds of surviving.
The current stained-glass windows are a modern addition, dating back only to 1966.
I urged the kids to be sure and have a sandwich grec or three before leaving town.
Ooh...that sounds good right now.
The Other Paris