Madeleine Church

I already made a reference to the Madeleine Church in a previous post which however concentrated on what is surrounding the church. I thought that the church is worth a separate post.

The present Madeleine Church (L’Eglise Sainte-Marie-Madeleine) was preceded by an old church (actually a synagogue until the 12th century). It was then already consecrated to Mary Magdalene. There were different projects during the 18th century to construct a new one, more appropriate to the distinguished surroundings. Looking down Rue Royale you can see Place de la Concorde (with preparation for the 14th July celebrations visible on the photo – see previous posts 1, 2), the National Assembly (Palais Bourbon) (see previous posts) in a similar style and the dome of the Invalides (see previous post).

Work had started when the Revolution arrived and then of course it was discussed whether to transform it to a library, a ballroom, a market place... In 1806 Napoleon decided to transform the future building to a “Temple to the Glory of the Great Army”. Finally, during the Restoration, it was again decided to make it a church, although later there were some discussions to possibly make it a railway station (before the decision about the Gare Saint Lazare). The building was finally consecrated as a church in 1842.

The church is in a neo-classical style, very much in fashion during the 18th and early 19th century.
Behind the altar, the statue (by Charles Marochetti) shows the ascension of Mary Magdalene.
The bronze doors are spectacular.
The fresco above the altar is called “The History of Christianity”, but for some reason Napoleon can be seen in the front.
The Madeleine is today one of the most prestigious churches in Paris, used for masses, fashionable weddings and funerals and even more for very good concerts.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this quick tour! Edifying and interesting and the photographs are beautiful, as usual!

Paris Paul

Simony said...

Beautiful church! It looks so grand!
This fresco is a very big one, and Napoleon.. What can we say about him? He was just been Napoleon, of course!

joanna said...

This is a magnificent neo-classical building with quite an Illustrious history -

Your photos show quite well the opulence and beautiful surroundings.


Ruth said...

This is a special church. One year I was on a quest for information about Mary Magdalene. I read one person whose opinion it was that she looks pregnant in this statue.

Vagabonde said...

When we went to the bicentennial celebration for the Louisiana Purchase in 2003 in New Orleans, it seems that I remember someone saying that one of the reasons France wished to sell their land in the US called Louisiane (it was more than the current state of Louisiana, it was 22%+ of the US territory) was because they needed money to finish building La Madeleine. Did you find this in your research about La Madeleine? Your post and photographs are very nice.

Rakesh Vanamali said...

Absolutely marvelous! Stunning images of some wonderful art and architecture!

claude said...

Je suis à la bourre, je n'ai pas encore posté dessus. Je le ferai dans les jours qui suivent en faisant référence à ton post, qui n'aura pas de mal à être mieux que le miens.

Trotter said...

Looks more like an old temple, but is absolutely stunning, as you show... ;))