The interior of this church is profusely decorated, and is, in fact, so richly ornamented as to detract from its beauty. Over the portal, there is a stained window representing St. Paul surrounded by the sisters of charity. The choir is semi-circular, and has a fine skylight. A richly sculptured arch, over sixty feet in height, gives access to it. The altar-piece is a crucifix on wood. Behind it is a stained window, representing the Virgin and the Savior. The chapels have also beautifully stained windows. There are no oil-paintings in St. Vincent de Paul, but in other respects it is as faulty as the Madeleine. It may be the result of early education, but I sickened of this excess of ornament. It was too forced—too unnatural. If I had never entered the church I should have received a good impression, for its exterior is everything of which the Ionic order is capable, and its situation is the finest of any church in Paris.
I will simply allude to a few of the other churches in Paris. The Notre Dame de Lorette, is a very beautiful church in the street Fountain St. George. It is built in the renaissance style, and the sculptures of the interior are of the highest order. The gorgeous decorations of the church are unsurpassed. The interior is one blaze of splendor, and the feelings inspired by a contemplation of it, are not the ones appropriate for a place of worship. The choir of the church is fitted up with stalls, a gilt balustrade separating it from the rest of the nave. The walls are adorned with rich marbles. The altar is executed in the highest style of magnificence. Behind it is a piece entitled “The Crowning of the Virgin,” wrought on a background of pure gold. The Parisians boast a great deal of this church, as a gem of the renaissance style, and with reason, when it is regarded simply as a work of art, but the less they boast of it as a church, the better. The cost was one million eight hundred thousand francs.
St. Roch, in the Rue St. Honore, was built under the patronage of Louis XIV. and Anne of Austria, in 1653. The renowned financier, Law, gave one hundred thousand livres toward its completion. The steps are high, and from them crowds of people during the revolution saw the executions which took place but a short distance away. A mob once filled the steps, and were cleared away by Napoleon’s cannon. The duke of Orleans, and Corneille, the poet, lie buried in it, together with other distinguished persons. St. Roch is not beautiful in its architectural decorations, but is, nevertheless, the richest church in Paris.
St. Eustache is the largest church, except Notre Dame, in Paris, and is very old. The style is a mixed Gothic.
The St. Paul et St. Louis, is a church built in the Italian style, and is a fine edifice.