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Church of Saints Gervais and Protais: Overall view, side elevation behind houses fronting the Seine
Shows the west front facade (to the left) projecting above the Gothic roofline
The church's existence at this site is mentioned as early as the fourth century. Dedicated to Gervasius and Protasius, the church was formerly the seat of the powerful brotherhood of wine merchants. The present church was begun in the Gothic style in 1494, the chapels of the apse were finished in 1530 and the transept in 1578. The Late Gothic choir has been attributed to Martin Chambiges; his name was included in a list summoned to approve the reconstruction in 1500; his son Pierre is buried in the church. In 1616 de Brosse designed the west facade. Here he faced the problem of how to combine a classical façade with a tall Gothic nave. Several experiments with three-storey façades were made in France in the early 17th century. De Brosse's solution was to adapt the three-storey château frontispiece with superimposed orders, as exemplified in de L'Orme's corps-de-logis at Anet, and the result--with its three orders of fluted columns, Doric portico and bold, segmental pediment--was highly original if somewhat stark.