Saint-Germain-des-Prés (abbey)

Paris, France

Saint-Germain-des-Prés (abbey)

Saint-Germain-des-Prés (French pronunciation: ​[sɛ̃ ʒɛʁmɛ̃ de pʁe]) is a parish church located in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés quarter of Paris. Founded by Childebert I in the 540s as the Abbaye Sainte-Croix-Saint-Vincent, by the middle of the 8th century it had taken on the name of Saint Germanus (French: Germain), the man appointed bishop of Paris by Childebert and later canonized. Originally located beyond the outskirts of early medieval Paris, it became a rich and important abbey complex and was the burial place of Germanus and of Childebert and other Merovingian kings of Neustria. At that time, the Left Bank was prone to flooding from the Seine, so much of the land could not be built upon and the Abbey stood in the middle of meadows, or prés in French, thereby explaining its appellation, which also serves to distinguish it from the church of Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois near the Louvre. The oldest part of the current church is the prominent western tower (partly restored and modified), which was built by Abbot Morard around the year 1000.


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