The most famous victims of the guillotine (see previous posts) during the Revolutionary years were of course Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette, executed respectively in January and in October 1793. I recently made a post about their executioners, the Sansons (buried at the Montmartre Cemetery).
Their bodies were brought to a cemetery, quite close to Place de la Concorde (see previous post) - then called Place de la Révolution – the Madeleine Cemetery. The Madeleine Church was then not the same as today – the present one dates from the 19th century (see previous post) - and was surrounded by several small cemeteries. On the plan from about 1800, you can, compared to today’s map, follow the way their remains were carried. (Some source indicates that Louis XVI first was carried to the old Madeleine church for a short ceremony.)
Louis XVI (“Louis Capet”) and Marie Antoinette (“Veuve Capet”) did not get any individual graves - the cemetery was used for a great number of other victims of the guillotine -, but a royalist neighbour to the cemetery noted the exact place and when the Royalty was restored after Napoleon’s fall, in 1815, the remains could be recovered and they were brought to where most other French Kings and Queens are buried, the Saint Denis Basilica (see previous post).
Louis XVIII, the brother of Louis XVI, decided to build an expiatory chapel on the ground of the cemetery, which had actually been closed rather soon after the execution of the King and the Queen. It took some ten years before the chapel was ready. You can now find it, surrounded by a little park, Square Louis XVI. The inscription on the front of the entrance reads in translation: “King Louis XVIII raised this monument to consecrate the place where the mortal remains of King Louis XVI and Queen Marie-Antoinette, transferred on 21 January 1815 in the royal tomb of Saint-Denis, reposed for 21 years. It was finished during the second year of the reign of Charles X, year of grace 1826.”
Under the dome of the chapel you can find the statues of Louis XVI (by F.J. Bosio) and of Marie Antoinette (by J-P Cortot).
Downstairs is the crypt, where an altar indicates the place where Louis XVI’s remains were found.
As said, above, the Madeleine Cemetery was closed rather soon and the majority of the Revolutionary guillotine victims were buried in mass graves at the Errancis Cemetery (disappeared), the Sainte Marguerite Cemetery (I will revert in a later post) and at the Picpus Cemetery (see previous post). As indicated in previous posts about the guillotines, there were rather few executions at Place de la Concorde, although of course of some of the more famous personalities. Most of the Revolutionary executions took place at the Carrousel, Place de la Bastille and close to Place de la Nation.