Saint–Sulpice was built over a 130-year period, beginning in 1646 during the regency of Queen Anne of Austria, Louis XIV’s mother. The church was later enlarged by a series of architects making its grand stature notable on the Paris streetscape. Saint–Sulpice is famed for the Chapel of Angels and striking murals painted by Eugène Delacroix. Unfortunately, less attention had been paid to the sacristy, a French architectural gem first built as a side chapel and renovated to its current state in 1731. The Slodtz brothers, well known in the court of Louis XV, manufactured a wrought-iron, gilded balcony above the doorway and opposite an impressive colorless leaded window. Wood paneling was added to the walls with designs that were echoed in the carved stone ceiling, creating a textured effect.
Restoration of the interior ornamentation of the sacristy
In 2002, the carved wood details in the sacristy interior, the eighteenth-century gilding, and the vaulted stone ceiling were in poor condition. Dust and soot from candles and incense had created deposits on the walls, obscuring religious decorative detail of the wood paneling. World Monuments Fund managed the restoration of the interior ornamentation, which was carried out between 2002 and 2005. The wooden walls, stone ceiling, and iron balcony were cleaned and treated. In places where the gilding had deteriorated, new gold leaf was applied and covered with a patina. Restoration of the sacristy was part of a larger conservation plan for the entirety of Saint-Sulpice, organized by the Parisian authorities.
The sacristy is a shining example of French craftsmanship and structural design. It was under the arches of Saint-Sulpice that Victor Hugo married Adèle Fouché, and the church also witnessed the baptisms of many important figures such as the Marquis de Sade and Charles Baudelaire. The Saint-Sulpice sacristy had been largely undisturbed for 300 years prior to the WMF project in 2002, a project which brought well-deserved attention to the space. In May 2005, a ceremony with music from the time of Queen Anne was held to celebrate the revitalization of the Saint-Sulpice sacristy. Because it features prominently in The Da Vinci Code, an international bestseller, tourists are especially interested in this masterpiece.