Tucked into the bustling commercial district of Les Halles, not far from the defiantly 20th century Pompidou Center, St Merry is easily overlooked. The main entrance of this flamboyant Gothic gem is on rue St Martin, but it is rarely used; come in through the unmarked entrance around the corner on rue de la Verrerie.
St Merry (sometimes rendered St Merrie or St Merri) is a small church, lovely and historic, with the oldest bells in the city, some fine stained glass, and a couple of palm trees, carved in dark wood, supporting the pulpit. In addition to - or perhaps as a part of - its community outreach, St Merry hosts free concerts on Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons. Mostly classical music, and of a consistently high caliber, the concerts last about 90 minutes, and a basket is passed for voluntary contributions during the intermission. Free tours of the church are offered on the first and third Sundays of the month, after the concerts.
Background of this program, and the schedule, can be found at www.acceuilmusical.fr. For an excellent overview of the church, including its artwork, check out www.stmerri.org - translation buttons are on the bottom left of the page. Please note that the church gets chilly in the winter, and the state of the heating system (such as it is) is a frequent topic of discussion between staff personnel and members of the audience, which tends to skew toward older Parisians.
To continue the free-concert-at-Gothic-church-on-Sunday theme: When the concert at St Merry is over, it's an easy walk to the larger St Eustache for a half-hour organ concert before 6 PM Mass. Be sure to check out the 'pig window' with the seal of the Pig Butchers' (Charcuterie) Guild, the Keith Haring altarpiece, and the striking polychrome sculpture by Raymond Mason, commemorating the departure of the produce market from Les Halles.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.