France is full of saints. In churches, museums, secular buildings, public squares…saints can be seen nearly everywhere.
We visited about a dozen French churches, including:
- Saint-Michel-Archange (in Menton) – declared a basilica by JPII in 1999,
- Saint-Séverin (in Paris) – within spitting distance of Notre Dame, and
- La Madeleine (in Paris) – quite Roman-looking, as you can see:
Inside these churches I often saw representations of popular French saints like Denis, Thérèse and Vincent. Some of the lesser-known saints I spotted were Blandine, Eleuterus, Pothin and Rustique (in Latin: Rusticus).
At the Notre-Dame d’Esperance in Cannes, I found the following statue of Saint Fiacre, a 7th-century Irish saint who later relocated to (and became more popular in) France.
Overall, I’d say St. George and St. Roch were the saints I noticed most often. This might be because they’re especially popular among the French…or it might be because they’re just easy to identify. :)
For instance, here’s the wounded St. Roch and his trusty, bread-bearing dog:
This version comes from the aforementioned Basilique Saint-Michel-Archange.
And here’s the mounted St. George, always fighting that pesky dragon:
If I remember correctly, I discovered it on the outer wall of a random building in Grasse.
In the Louvre, I recall seeing depictions of St. Cecilia, St. Sebastian, St. Francis, St. Jerome, and, most notably, St. Bruno. (Bruno is one of my favorite saints, so I was happy to stumble upon a series of paintings by Eustache Le Sueur depicting scenes from his life.)
Finally, I can’t forget to mention place names.
Two of the streets I remember walking/driving in Paris are Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré and Boulevard St-Germain.
Towns on the Côte d’Azur include St-Aygulf, Ste-Maxime, St-Raphaël, and, of course, St-Tropez:
During the trip we also drove past St. Gallen in Switzerland, and briefly visited Sanremo in Italy. (Sanremo is a contraction of San Romolo, the Italian form of St. Romulus.)