St. Paul's Church, Strasbourg

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St. Paul's Church, Strasbourg
Église Saint-Paul de Strasbourg
Strasbourg St Paul septembre 2015 (recadré).jpg
Previous denominationLutheran
Heritage designationMonument historique[1]
Architect(s)Louis Muller
StyleGothic Revival architecture
Height76 m (249 ft)
SynodReformed Church of Alsace and Lorraine

The St. Paul's Church of Strasbourg (French: Église réformée Saint-Paul or Église Saint-Paul de Strasbourg) is a major Gothic Revival architecture building and one of the landmarks of the city of Strasbourg, in Alsace, France.

Built between 1892 and 1897[1] during the time of the Reichsland Elsass-Lothringen (1870–1918), the church was designed for the Lutheran members of the Imperial German garrison stationed in Strasbourg. Several of the church's most striking features, such as its great width relative to its not so great length and the inordinately high number of portals and entrances giving access to it (19 in all, compared to Strasbourg Cathedral's 7) result from the need to accommodate military personnel from the very highest ranks down, including the Emperor, in case he came (the actual Imperial Palace being not far away).[2] In 1919, after the return of Alsace to France, the church was handed over to the Protestant Reformed Church of Alsace and Lorraine and became its second parish church in the town after Bouclier parish.

For the overall design of the church, architect Louis Muller (1842–1898) drew his inspiration from the Elisabeth Church of Marburg, although he did not slavishly copy its design, gracing St. Paul's Church with three large and elaborate rose windows modelled on the (smaller scaled) rose window adorning the façade of St. Thomas' Church. The 20 m (66 ft) high nave was originally supposed to have four bays instead of three and thus the building to be 5 m (16 ft) longer and shaped like a Latin cross; but because of excessive costs due to technical difficulties with the foundations, it was shortened to a Greek cross.[3] Thanks to its spires rising up to 76 m (249 ft) and its spectacular location at the southern extremity of an island in the middle of the largest section of the Ill River, the church can be seen from far away.

The church furnishings were damaged from British and American bombing raids in August 1944, as well as, as far as the stained glass windows are concerned, from a violent hailstorm in 1958,[4] incidentally the same hailstorm that destroyed most of the Botanical Garden's historical greenhouses; the most outstanding feature inside is the main tribune pipe organ of 1897 (modified in 1934 and restored several times since), also classified as Monument historique.[5] This is, by the number of pipes and registers as well as by the sheer size of the organ case,[6] one of the largest instruments in Alsace and most probably Eastern France. In 1976, a second pipe organ was installed in the transept.



  1. ^ a b Église réformée Saint-Paul Archived 2012-10-26 at the Wayback Machine on the French Ministry of Culture database
  2. ^ History of the building Archived 2010-12-10 at the Wayback Machine (in French)
  3. ^ L’architecture du bâtiment Archived 2014-05-12 at the Wayback Machine, on the parish's website (in French)
  4. ^ Les vitraux Archived 2014-05-12 at the Wayback Machine on the parish's website (in French)
  5. ^ The great tribune pipe organ Archived 2011-10-05 at the Wayback Machine (in French)
  6. ^ Photograph Archived 2011-09-28 at the Wayback Machine showing the organ case in proportion with two grown up, standing men

External links[edit]

Media related to St. Paul's Church (Strasbourg) at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 48°35′11″N 7°45′35″E / 48.58639°N 7.75972°E / 48.58639; 7.75972