The Church of Saint Peter of Montmartre is one of the oldest surviving churches in Paris but the lesser known of the two main churches in Montmartre, the other being the more famous 19th-century Sacré-Cœur Basilica. According to the earliest biography of Saint Ignatius Loyola, the church is the location at which the vows were taken that led to the founding of the Society of Jesus.
Though according to its traditional history, it was founded by Saint Denis in the third century, only scattered signs of Gallo-Roman occupation have been detected at the much-disturbed site, where Théodore Vacquier, the first municipal archaeologist of Paris, identified remains of walling as belonging to the Temple of Mars, from which Montmartre took its name. In 1657, the antiquary and local historian Henri Sauval was shown remains in the priory garden that he associated with the templum Martis.
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