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Take some time off from your hectic tour of Paris and visit one of its oldest churches. You will be amazed to learn that parts of the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés dates back to the sixth century. In fact, it is perhaps one of the oldest surviving churches of the city.

Visitors will be fascinated by the fact that Childebert originally founded this church to store a relic of the True Cross that was brought back from Spain in the year 542.

Another fact that will astonish tourists is the power of the church, both culturally and religiously. It was so powerful during the Middle Ages that it was often considered as a town within a town.

The Normans damaged all of the original structure, apart from the marble columns in the triforium. The carved capitals that you see on the pillars are actually copies of the original. The size of the church was increased in 1163 when Pope Alexander III reconsecrated it. Saint-Germain-des-Prés church provides visitors a glimpse of Romanesque architecture.

Do not miss out on the square tower that dates back from the early part of the eleventh century. The spire of the church is not so old and dates back to the nineteenth century. Do not miss viewing the nineteenth century frescoes in the nave and Romanesque paintings on the triumphal arch.