Paris is not Rome, and rare are the visitors who come here to visit its churches. But, although officially secular since 1905, France used to be “La Fille aînée de l’Eglise” (the Eldest Daughter of the Church) and has an important religious architecture heritage.
Of course Notre-Dame cathedral seems the choice number 1, but I think it’s its façade which is the most interesting and the interior is always too much crowded to really appreciate. And if you prefer the silent atmosphere of an emptier church, just cross the Petit-Pont (or the Pont-au-Double) and visit church Saint-Séverin, at the entrance of the touristic Saint-Michel area.
Entering by the back door on rue Saint-Jacques (pointed on the map), you’ll immediately get in the most interesting part, the “forest of columns” suggested by the double ambulatory, and notably the central column with its palm-tree shape, testifying the Flamboyant Gothic architecture (late 15th century) of this part of the church. All around, you can also note the modern stained glass windows: although abstract, they symbolize the 7 sacraments of Christianity.
If you’re a church aficionado, just cross Rue Saint-Jacques, and you’ll find Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre, in Square Viviani (also mentioned in my Maoz article). Much smaller, but not of a least interest, it notably displays icons, and has a beautiful iconostasis (Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre is the Melkite church of Paris).