Information source from Sacred Destinations: Église Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois: Back when the Louvre was still a royal palace (Palais du Louvre), Église Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois was its church. It accordingly drew an assortment of royalty, courtesans, men of art and law, and local artisans.

The first church on this site was constructed in the early 12th century and was known as Saint-Germain-le-Rond. The bell tower is the only element that survives from this period (although it was later given a Gothic renovation). The church was reconstructed in the late 13th century, then enlarged with side aisles in the 15th century, when it attained its current appearance.

The low point in the church’s history was August 24, 1572, the evening of the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre. The tower bells of Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois rang, signaling the supporters of Catherine de Médicis, Marguerite de Guise, Charles IX, and the future Henri III to launch a slaughter of thousands of Protestant Huguenots, who’d been invited to celebrate the marriage of Henri de Navarre to Marguerite de Valois.

Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois’ impressive and unique bell tower dates from the 12th century and is the only Romanesque survival. It was, however, transformed into the Gothic style in the 19th century. Contrary to common assumption, this was not the tower that tolled the St. Bartholomew’s Day bells, but the small tower on the south side of the church.

Monet's painting of the Saint Germain l'Auxerrois