Paris is a city full of beautiful things that you can buy. From exquisitely presented food to window displays of luxury garments, there are a million ways to trade your cash for something lovely.
Then there is grand and famous beauty that you cannot buy: the sparkling lights of the Eiffel Tower at night, the gilded ceilings within the Opera Garnier, the lights of the bridges reflecting on the Seine… And all throughout the city there are secret pockets of splendour that don’t appear on postcards and fridge magnets. They are Paris’ hidden treasures.
One of my favourite hidden treasures is located in the American Church on Quai d’Orsay.
A gothic-style inter-denominational church built between 1926 and 1931, it is a centre for the English-speaking community, hosting services, activities, youth groups and 12-step meetings every day. If you need a babysitting job or to look for accommodation, the notice boards at the church are an excellent place to start.
But it’s inside the Nave that you’ll find the hidden treasure: the only Tiffany windows in any church in all of France. The windows were designed in Louis Comfort Tiffany’s New York Studio and were first installed in the original American Church on rue de Berri in 1901.
The two Tiffany windows each depict an angel. One holds a bible and is called The Word. The other is Contemplation.
They are so magnificent that they are listed as a French National Monument.
Quai d’Orsay runs between the Esplanade des Invalides and the Eiffel Tower so it’s well within the tourist track. If you’ve had a hectic day in the French capital and need a quiet, contemplative moment, I’d certainly recommend taking a look at these spectacular glass masterpieces.
To find out more about the history of the American Church you can visit its website here.
The American Church is at 65 Quai d’Orsay in the 7th arrondissement. The nearest metro station is Invalides.