Saturday, September 18, 2010

St. Paul's Church in Covent Garden

It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of the Covent Garden Piazza and miss this historical church. St Paul's Church (note: different from St. Paul's Cathedral) was completed in 1633 and almost 400 years later it still stands and still is a place of worship among modern shops.

Famously the side of the church that faces the Piazza is the setting for Robert Bernard Shaw's "Pygmalion" and its musical adaptation "My Fair Lady".  The first scenes in the movie musical takes place on these steps (in the film, actually a movie set). In 2002, the church was the host for one of two weddings for singers Gwen Steffani and Gavin Rossdale.

The garden that flanks the church on either side provides a tranquil escape from the hubbub of the market outside. With the Royal Opera House and the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane nearby, St. Paul's is associated with the theatre and commonly known as the actors' church.

Daily in front of the church's portico are street performers of all kinds: clowns, fire-eaters, musicians and acrobats. More info at


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