From the outside, this church looks no different than any other nestled within France’s cities and villages. But step inside, and you’ll soon see its sandstone exterior hides a rather unique interior.
The Notre Dame du Travail Church was built just after the Exposition Universelle of 1900 in Paris, France. Many of the laborers hired to bring the grand exposition to life lived within the city’s 14th arrondissement. As more and more workers arrived to build the affair’s various exhibits and attractions, the neighborhood soon outgrew its existing church.
As a result, a new building was constructed to fit both the size and style of the neighborhood’s working-class residents. The church was designed to make those more accustomed to factories than palaces feel at home. Even its name, which translates to “Our Lady of Labor,” pays homage to its parish.
The result is a church unlike any other in Paris. Exposed metal beams stretch upward, giving the space a distinctly industrial feel. But the typical church features–pews, an altar, and religious art—make it clear this is indeed a place of worship. Among the artwork is an image of Saint Eligius, the patron saint of goldsmiths and metalworkers.
Know Before You Go
It’s near the Pernety metro station (line 13), as well as the Plaisance or Gaîté stations. You can enter the church either via the main entrance (on Vercingetorix Street) or via the handicap-accessible entrance at 36 Guilleminot Street. An up-to-date timetable with the church’s hours can be found here.
There is a sign as you exit the Pernety metro giving directions to the Church. Exit the metro turn left and continue all the way down the street to the park and turn right.
There are also free concerts held on various Sunday afternoons, check the church website for specific information.