Notre Dame du Travail in Paris


I’d promised my friend Heide that I would publish something about Notre Dame du Travail, that 1900 church with a metal structure (some of the workers who went to pray here had worked on the Eiffel Tower) in the 14th district of  Paris. 14511604451_7dbed3fe97_o

I went through all my files of the past 6 years in order to find pictures of that church, most of them taken during concerts. 14535166883_2efce3629b_o

Not quite Jericho, but not that far either. The organ is modern though.


Pillars and all the overall structure of the building is made of metal.18535111194_491615fcb6_o

The crowd was dense on that day for a concert dedicated to Saint Saëns’s beautiful requiem. 18537016943_941cc355b6_o

Here one catches a good glimpse of the building.18537221063_486c44b559_o

Two members of the Darius Milhaud Choir.18970089968_508919afb4_o

As the church has upstairs galleries, pictures from above are possible. They often give a different perspective.

More of the same18971496029_529102f56c_o

Martin Barral is the conductor of the Orsay Philharmonic Orchestra. A nice bouncing chap whose every somersaults I track with my camera (not showing on this picture).19131456946_638225a41f_o

With a short focal lens, one gets a feeling of the size of the building. The galleries on top are visible from this point too.


The building is equipped with very narrow, dust-smelling staircases which look a bit


One can peak a head outside and catch a glimpse of Ricardo Bofill’s council estate buildings Place de

The pillars change colour when the lights are switched on.


It’s a beautiful church and it’s said to be very good in terms of acoustics. Many discs have been recorded in this place because of this. Well, there you have Heide, I hope you enjoyed this!

Yann Gourvennec
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  1. I wouldn’t say I enjoyed this, Yann — LOVED IT would be more accurate! It’s even more beautiful and fascinating than I imagined. It has shot up to the top of my “must see” list for my next visit (even if I suspect I will be disappointed in my photos when I compare them to yours after the fact). Thank you so much for taking the time to post this, Yann. It truly is a pleasure to see Paris vicariously through your eyes.

  2. One question, when I was taking pictures at concerts I was always required to use my TLR as the noise from the shutter or mirror on SLRs could distract the musicians. How did you manage the above with the musicians and choir? My newest camera has no “Silent” mode, just a deliberate fake shutter type noise.
    Lovely photos and a great story. As I probably will never get back to Paris, it is enjoyable to see new things, or things I did not see while I was there.
    Many Thanks

    • This is a good point you are making here. I own a few Nikons (D7000, D600 and D810) and although their shutter noises are all a wee bit different they are all pretty noisy. There is a so-called quiet mode on the D810 (and all the others) but to be honest, I’m not crazy about it. When quietness is of the essence I turn it on, but I don’t like it that much because it tends to generate a lag of a split second which I find very annoying and besides, I can still hear the noise.

      Maybe using a full digital camera like a Sony would help.

      My trick is to wait for the orchestra to go full blast and then I press the shutter button which goes more or less unnoticed. Besides, I keep gadding about in the Church so that I don’t stay at any one place all the time and avoid annoying listeners too much.

      Thanks for your kind comments on the pictures. Much appreciated.

      Last but not least, TLR sounds nice. You can turn some of these into digital cameras but it will cost you a packet and besides there is not much point for it (a D810 produces pictures approx. half the size of a TLR). You may always use your TLR and scan your pictures after development but it all sounds like a complicated process to me and a bit of a hammer to crack a nut.

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