In context : A case in Time : clocks, quadrants or meridians in Paris
We begin in a perfectly appropriate place not far from Luxembourg Garden. The church's gnomon - it is an astronomical tool used to determine the time of year - has become quite famous. There is an animal drawn near the writings on the gnomon's obelisk : the French name of this animal will be your first clue.
Will you be up to the challenge ?
- Look for them : they appear, intertwined, on a stained glass in the church. And, no, they do not stand for "Prieuré de Sion" as in Da Vinci Code.
Definitly a star for everyone who've read Da Vinci Code (which is a work of fiction, by the way), Saint-Sulpice church is, above all, one the most beautiful and interesting churches of Paris.
The location alone (the large Place Saint-Sulpice, the appealing neighbourghood) is first-class. As for the church itself, which replaced an oldest one, it was constructed between the middle of the XVIIth century and the end of the XVIIIth century, thus over an unusually long period of time, mainly for financial reasons. This results in a monument with various architectural styles.
Named after Sulpice le Pieux, who was the archbishop of the French city of Bourges in the VIIth century, the church has also been highly renovated during the past years, its facade being visible again since only 2011.
Saint-Sulpice church saw the wedding of many historical figures, most notably Victor Hugo. The church's organ is one of the biggest instrument in France with 102 organ stops - there is a public audition every sunday morning around 11.30am. Among the many works of art in the church are murals of Delacroix.
- The gnomon of Saint-Sulpice - In the south transept of the church is a XVIIth-century gnomon, which is an astronomical measurement tool used to determine with accuracy the position of the Sun and thus the time of year. A small opening is set up so that a ray of sunlight shines onto a brass line, called a meridian line, mostly inlaid across the floor. This allows the measurement. Gnomon is ancient greek for "indicator".