The Scots Kirk, Paris

The Scots Kirk
Église écossaise
A picture of the front of the Scots Kirk in Paris
The Scots Kirk
The location of the Scots Kirk in Paris
48°52′0.5″N 2°18′27.5″E / 48.866806°N 2.307639°E / 48.866806; 2.307639Coordinates: 48°52′0.5″N 2°18′27.5″E / 48.866806°N 2.307639°E / 48.866806; 2.307639
Location Paris
Country France
Denomination Church of Scotland
Founded 1858
Completed 1885 (1st building purchased), 1957 (2nd building), 2002 (3rd building)
Presbytery International
Minister(s) Jim Cowie

The Scots Kirk (French: L'Église écossaise) is situated at 17, Rue Bayard, near the Champs-Elysées in the 8th arrondissement of Paris. It is the only congregation of the Church of Scotland in France. The church building is modern and somewhat inconspicuous from the street. The closest métro station is Franklin D. Roosevelt.


The upper room in l'Oratoire du Louvre, home to the Scots Kirk from 1858 to 1885[1]

The origins of the congregation date back to the 1850s, but the current church building is modern. The congregation has worshipped on the same site since 1885, when they purchased the former American Episcopal Church building in Rue Bayard.

The congregation is particularly well known for their former minister Donald Caskie, who became known as the "Tartan Pimpernel" for his exploits during World War II.

Three church buildings on the same site

Following World War II (when the church was unoccupied), the lack of maintenance led to structural problems and the church had to be rebuilt in the late 1950s. The rebuilding work, however, proved to be unsatisfactory. Major structural faults were soon discovered and by the 1980s the building was again in urgent need of replacement or major repairs. It was decided to completely rebuild, albeit with flats above the new church building. The current church building was opened by the then Moderator of the General Assembly, John Miller, in 2002.

Famous visitors

The congregation has had many famous visitors, including Queen Elizabeth II who laid the foundation stone for the (since replaced) new sanctuary in 1957.

In 1924, during the Olympic Games held in Paris, the athlete Eric Liddell chose to preach at the Scots Kirk instead of running on a Sunday. His story is told in the film Chariots of Fire, but the building used as the Scots Kirk in the film was actually the former Broughton Church in Edinburgh.

During the negotiations for the Treaty of Versailles both the American President Woodrow Wilson and British Prime Minister David Lloyd George worshipped at the church.

Current status

The current minister is Jim Cowie.

Though fully part of the Church of Scotland and conscious of its Scottish connections, the Scots Kirk primarily seeks to offer English-language Presbyterian, Reformed Christian worship and pastoral care to an international congregation.

See also


  1. "History". Scots Kirk Paris.
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