éminence grise

The Grey Eminence - The splendid church of St Paul on the Rue Rivoli is well worth a visit if you admire early 17th century architecture.
The Grey Eminence – The splendid church of St Paul St Louis on the Rue Rivoli is well worth a visit if you admire early 17th century architecture.

The church of St Paul St Louis on the Rue Rivoli was constructed in its current form in the 17th century and the first mass there was celebrated by the Cardinal Richelieu on 9 May 1641. It has a beautiful domed ceiling and the richly carved and decorated interior is all of the finest stone.

Cardinal Richelieu coined the phrase éminence grise as a euphimism for a power broker who works behind the scenes in reference to his discrete right hand man François Leclerc du Tremblay, a Capuchin Friar who acted as his agent and confidant. The sobriquet referred to the traditional grey cloak worn by the Capuchins.

Anyway, I thought that the black and white photo I took helped to highlight the interior design and turned the church itself into an éminence grise in the literal sense; a twist which I thought most Jesuitical of me and one of which I am sure Cardinal Richelieu would approve.

Photography 101: Architecture and Monochrome


  1. When did you take that shot? Because yet again the place seems almost empty and it’s rarely the case there. I need to get back to St Paul St Louis: it’s got a special place in my heart since I used to be part of its choir before I moved to Canada.
    They’ve only just finished completely renovating the outside; still working on the spire. But it looks absolutely stunning. Maybe tomorrow if the weather on my way back from sunrise…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry for not replying sooner! Just starting up in the morning here in Perth. I am so delighted that you have a connection with this place. I took this picture just prior to mass one Sunday in April 2011. As you say, there were plenty of people there but I took the shot over peoples’ heads and this was the result. When I took my family back there a year ago they all fell in love with the building, the beautiful service and the music. I am so looking forward to seeing it renovated! With very best wishes! TJ 🙂 Also thanks for mentioning that it is St Paul St Louis and I have corrected it on the post.


      1. I know you’re in Australia, I didn’t expect an answer right away 😉 . Timezones right 😉
        It is a beautiful building indeed and now even more so. It’s interesting what white stones can do 🙂 . Best wishes.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Just waking up here in Perth so thanks for your comment! These places are just so wonderfully picturesque that it is very hard not to take a good photo! Best wishes! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It is very far. I have to treasure the times I am able to go to Europe as it is very difficult to do it regularly. Thanks so much for taking a look at my post! Best wishes from “down under”.


  2. The comment ANONYMOUS, it’s mine Rosa Ave Fénix!,I don’t know what happened! If any time como here… do come to Barcelona!!!!!!! you won’t be disapointted, sure…

    Liked by 1 person

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