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Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés

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"On a Church that will stand for a thousand years or more. Three spires reach to Heaven, the truth lies on the tallest one."
―A riddle by Nostradamus describing the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés[src]

The Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés (French: Abbaye de Saint-Germain-des-Prés) is a defunct abbey in Paris.


The first church at the site of the abbey was raised in 558. By the 17th century, the area around Saint-Germain-des-Prés became a popular place for the nobility to have their country houses built, and the abbey itself was one of the richest in France. A prison called the Prison de l'Abbaye had also been built there.[1]

As the French Revolution broke out, the abbey was ransacked and effectively turned into a town- and storehouse, with 15,000 tons of gunpowder stored in the refectory. The Templar Order took advantage of the ransacking, stealing valuable artifacts and hiding them underneath the building. In response, the Parisian Brotherhood of Assassins sent their agents to recover the artifacts.[1]

In the September Massacres of 1792, the first and some of the most brutal massacres took place at the Prison de l'Abbaye, where revolutionaries killed 24 non-juring priests.[2] The night before, the playwright Pierre Beaumarchais had just been released. After the radical journalist and politician Jean-Paul Marat was murdered in July 1793, suspects were rounded up and sent to the Prison de l'Abbaye. In August 1794, an explosion destroyed part of the former abbey.[1]


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