From the outside, this church looks no different than any other nestled within France’s cities and villages. But step inside, and you’ll soon see its sandstone exterior hides a rather unique interior.
The Notre Dame du Travail Church was built just after the Exposition Universelle of 1900 in Paris, France. Many of the laborers hired to bring the grand exposition to life lived within the city’s 14th arrondissement. As more and more workers arrived to build the affair’s various exhibits and attractions, the neighborhood soon outgrew its existing church.
As a result, a new building was constructed to fit both the size and style of the neighborhood’s working-class residents. The church was designed to make those more accustomed to factories than palaces feel at home. Even its name, which translates to “Our Lady of Labor,” pays homage to its parish.
The result is a church unlike any other in Paris. Exposed metal beams stretch upward, giving the space a distinctly industrial feel. But the typical church features–pews, an altar, and religious art—make it clear this is indeed a place of worship. Among the artwork is an image of Saint Eligius, the patron saint of goldsmiths and metalworkers.