With its rows of uncompromising columns, this enormous neoclassical edifice in the center of the Place de la Madeleine was consecrated as a church in 1842, nearly 78 years after construction began. Initially planned as a Baroque building, it was later razed and begun anew by an architect who had the Roman Pantheon in mind. Interrupted by the Revolution, the site was razed yet again when Napoléon decided to make it into a Greek temple dedicated to the glory of his army.
Those plans changed when the army was defeated and the emperor deposed. Other ideas for the building included making it into a train station, a market, and a library. Finally, Louis XVIII decided to make it a church, which it still is today. Classical concerts are held here regularly, some of them free.
Pl. de la Madeleine, Paris, 75008, France
Sep 1, 2014
This sanctuary houses the revered relics of Saint Mary Magdalene, witness of the resurrection of Christ and announcer to the apostles. The first church dedicated to Mary Magdalene dates back to 1492. The reconstruction of the church was decided in 1757, and was completed in 1842. Its appearance is more reminiscent of an ancient Greek temple than a church. Indeed, during its construction Napoleon made it a mausoleum for the Grand Army. Very far from
the standards of the churches of the time, it has neither crosses nor outside bells but many Corinthian columns and two monumental gates. The construction of this monument was part of the vast global development plan of the west side of the capital, including the Place de la Concorde. The church houses a magnificent Cavaillé-Coll organ. Concerts at night.