Paris Temple

The Paris, France temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been completed. Public tours will be held between April 22 and May 13, 2017. The temple was announced in 2011, however rumors regarding President Gordon B. Hinckley’s work on a prospective temple circulated for more than a decade. Local parties confirmed that land purchase for the temple was a very slow process, inhibited by French regulation and public concerns.

Construction photo, Aug. 2015.

During my visits to Paris beginning more than two decades ago, conversations with Church members always came around to “our temple.” Now it finally exists. The building process was relatively lengthy, though other temples, even in the United States have been equally drawn out (for example, the Meridian, Idaho temple).

Baptistry (image courtesy LDS Church)

Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé has played a pivotal role since his call as a General Authority in 2012.

The temple is located within walking distance of the Versailles Palace, west of Paris. By the time of the announcement to build the temple, negotiations were complete with the community and the French government. One of the compromises worked out in the agreement: no Angel Moroni would grace a steeple or tall pillar at the site. Instead, the Church placed a copy of Thorvaldsen’s Christus in the gardens surrounding the temple structure.

Front entrance of the temple. (image courtesy LDS Church)


Church presence in France is relatively small, with 38,000 members in country. I’ve attended wards in Paris and small branches around France over the years and church growth in France has been relatively small since the first LDS missionaries arrived in 1849. John Taylor and other early leaders worked in France. The temple’s dedication will be a fulfillment of hopes over many years.

At 44,175 square feet, the temple is of moderate size. The Chicago, Ill. temple is 37,000, the Boston temple is 69,000. Columbia, South Carolina is 10,700.

Upper floor (image courtesy LDS Church)

Temple archetecture incorporates local features of design.

Celestial room (image courtesy LDS Church)

Art glass and interior elements feature motifs from Monet’s gardens. The two-acre property contains gardens inspired by elements of the Versailles landscapes. Interiors have stone floors and hardwood. The gold chandelier in the celestial room is Swarovski crystal.

Garden features, including auxiliary buildings on site (residence hall and visitor’s center).


The site is located at 46 Boulevard Saint-Antoine, Le Chesnay.
Bravo, Paris Saints.

Comments

  1. Aussie Mormon says:

    Definitely looks like a very beautiful design.

  2. I have myself walked the beautiful path from the Palace of Versailles to the House of the Lord. It is a fitting addition to the community, and will be a blessing to the Saints in France (many of whom I love). The work speeds on to set the captive free!

  3. So I guess by building it so near Versailles, they were just trying to replicate the situation in Draper, right?

  4. “The gold chandelier in the celestial room is Swarovski crystal.”

    That’s practically like Austria getting a temple!

  5. Orwell, the Draper caper was terribly unfortunate. I think it may have been more complex than shown, but Christian fail in any case. I think the Paris temple patrons will be from a very diverse group in every way: socially, economically, politically.

  6. peterllc: take what you can get!

  7. MCS, it’s a great moment.

  8. At some point in my childhood my parents banned me from talking about France at the dinner table — I read about France so obsessively, and by that point had been memorizing French words from a dictionary for years, before I could take language classes in high school. There really was no other place the Lord could have sent me as a missionary. It is unlikely I will ever see this temple in person, but I am unspeakably happy it is finally built.

  9. J. Stapley says:

    I thought that they originally announced the temple in the late 1990s, then they re-announced it over a decade later. Am I totally misremembering that?

  10. Ardis, I hope it proves out that you do visit! It sounds prophetic in fact.

  11. J., I know they were trying to buy land in early 2006 and at one point there was property in negotiation (could have been earlier) but a problem existed with regulations over how much property could be secured or something. As far as an announcement in 1990s, I just don’t know. Didn’t find anything on google.

  12. Chadwick says:

    Based on the pictures, I actually prefer a Christus in a garden to a Moroni on a steeple. It looks beautiful, even if it is so far outside the city.

  13. Kevin Barney says:

    Agree with Chadwick re Moroni.

  14. J.Stapely,

    I was a missionary in France in 1997-99. President Hinckley talked about the temple during a visit to Europe. I was in one of the multi(?)-stake meetings when he told the members that the church was working on it.

  15. Thanks, rpallred. I had heard rumors of Hinckley working on a prospective temple in that period, but could find no solid evidence.

  16. WVS, thought the homeless shelter thing isn’t irrelevant, I was mostly making a joke at the expense of the houses in pictures like this one.

  17. rpallred says:

    It would have been in June of 1998 in Geneva that I heard him. Although I don’t recall if it was in the member meeting (which if I recall, included both Lyon and Geneva Stakes) or the missionary meeting (which was just the Geneva mission).

    Don’t know if it will let me include the link:

    https://www.lds.org/ensign/1999/02/news-of-the-church?lang=eng

    Someone who was serving in the Paris mission in June of 1998 might remember if he said anything about it when he spoke there as well.

  18. I agree with Chadwick and Kevin. And thankfully, the Christus isn’t the Kentucky backwoods version: https://bycommonconsent.com/2012/11/10/seeing-the-sites/

  19. I’m remembering that too, J.

    Ardis, I can only imagine how cool this must be for you!

  20. Gomez, unfortunately I think the Provo City Center temple has the Kentucky backwoods Christus rather than the Thorvaldsen.

  21. Mortimer says:

    In the various small temples, the floral motifs (in carpet, carved in furniture, in the painted borders below the crown molding, in floral arrangements) are extremely strategic and often local.

    I have two questions.

    1) I see morning glories in the stained glass. What is the significance of morning glories to the French?

    2) There is another flower in the temple that I do not recognize. It looks like a cosmos or blanket flower and in the video it is carved into the wooden arms of furniture as seen at 2:10 and 2:13 in the video. Does anyone know what this flower is, why it was intentionally chosen, and what it symbolizes?

  22. I’m glad it has no Moroni. People are used to having visual symbols, and since we decline to use one to represent our church, yet put angels with trumpets on all our temples, people have come to see it as the defining feature of temples and also as the de facto visual symbol of our faith. It’s even the official LDS emblem for use on tombstones in veterans’ cemeteries. (https://www.cem.va.gov/hmm/emblems.asp)

    I would much prefer we embrace the cross as a symbol of Christ’s gospel, as indicated by 1 Corinthians 1:18, Galatians 6:14, Philippians 3:18, etc.

  23. Mortimer, I expect we’d have to ask the glass artist and the architect whether they had any particular symbolism in mind for the various flowers. You can find a variety of meanings assigned by Victorian sources and floral industry sources. What look very much like morning glories near the top of the large window (with coloring very close to the variety known here as “Heavenly Blue” – not to be confused with the expression “sacré bleu”) often look more like gentians near the bottom of the window. The few leaves that are shown look much more like gentian than morning glory leaves. I can find no particular significance of morning glories to the French, but you will find them in paintings by Ernest Filliard, Eugène Delacroix, Jules Joseph Lefebrve, Raoul Dufy and probably others, in several Limoges china patterns, and in silver charms. What you have speculated may be cosmos or blanket flower shows leaves far more like chrysanthemum leaves or possibly marguerite daisy leaves. The flower could as well be a marguerite daisy or one of the daisy-like chrysanthemums. I’m told in France chrysanthemums are associated with death and the dead and should not be given to anyone on any happy occasion. Some extend that meaning to immortality. If you ever find anything authoritative on what flowers are intended to be pictured and what, if any, particular symbolism was intended, it would be of interest to others as well.

  24. 1st World Problems: My son has the opportunity to go to the open house tour in a couple of weeks with YM/YW and doesn’t want to go (he goes to school outside London). I work in the middle east, and our daughter has an AP exam that day that she can’t miss, so she can’t go. So our conversation yesterday went something like: Me: This is non-negotiable. You ARE going! Son: (whining) But I don’t want to go to Paris!! (whine… whine… whine…)

  25. Mortimer says:

    JR,
    Thank you for the art history and botanical information. I’ve been to four temple dedications over the past several years as temples have been built closer and closer to my home. Each temple has incorporated local flora/fauna into the art in the garden room and in architectural/design motifs. The new Downtown Provo Temple has a mural of the Provo area mountains and a cougar. My four temples all have all used local natural design motifs and local wood for paneling or crown molding and some furniture. Sometimes local LDS artists have been pulled in for stained glass work or other finishing touches, but recently all this work has been outsourced from Utah. Tour guides prominently point out local motifs during the tours.

    Ok collective brain of the bloggernacle, curious minds want to know.

  26. Leonard R says:

    President Hinckley first announced intention to build the Paris Temple on June 4, 1998. I remember, given the combination of having served in France (two years earlier) and it being my birthday.

    You can confirm this in the September 1998 Ensign, News of the Church.