A divine Paris attraction
La Madeleine is a Catholic Church dedicated to Mary Magdalene. Located at the end of the Rue Royale, it looks all the way back to the Place de la Concorde.
La Madeleine: The History
Built during the revolution, the social turmoil of the time influenced its architecture – giving it a truly unique and unusual design. By the start of the revolution in 1789, building had already started, but only the foundations and portico were complete. Debate raged about its future use – with a library, ballroom and market place all suggested.
Unsurprisingly, Napoleon had his say – deciding it should be a ‘Temple to the Glory of the Grand Army’. Claude Etienne de Beaumont won the design competition, but Napoleon overruled the judges. Instead, he chose Pierre-Alexandre Vignon’s neo-classical Roman Temple with its vast Corinthian colonnade.
Only after the restoration of the monarchy was the building finally consecrated as a church.
Other interesting facts about La Madeleine Church:
- Philippe Lemaire’s beautiful pediment (triangular carving above the pillars) depicts the last judgement
- Together with the Arc de Triomphe and Vendôme Column, the Madeleine is one of Napoleon’s imperial monuments
- Daily masses, concerts and the most fashionable weddings in Paris are celebrated here