I already wrote about the Madeleine Church, e.g. here and here, but walking by the other day I was struck by the ongoing cleaning and renovation job and thought I must have a new look. The cleaning really makes you observe “details” that you normally just may neglect, see top picture.

Here we have some views of the “before”, “during” and “after” cleaning.

The Madeleine Church has a rather curious history… In 1753 Louis XV decided to have a church built here, ten years later the works commenced. The original architect died in 1777, was replaced … However, the church was not yet ready, when the Revolution of 1789 stopped it all – with ideas to transform the future building to a “Temple of the Revolution”. Then Napoleon had the idea to create a temple dedicated to the glory of his army and there were other ideas about the use… library, ballroom, bank, Court…

When the royalty was back in power in 1815, Louis XVIII decided that the building after all was going to be a church, dedicated to Mary Magdalene – we can see her kneeling here. The works continued slowly… and as late as 1837, there were even some plans to use the building for a future railway station. Finally, in 1842 the building was consecrated as a church.

There are some 30 or 40 Saints around the church. So far only Saint Denis seems to have been cleaned.

The flowers on the steps in front of the Church have been there now for a couple of years. A place for a nice relaxing moment on a sunny day – with a nice view.

The front doors are worth a closer look, inspired by the Florence Baptistery and Ghiberti. They are by a rather unknown Henri de Triqueti (1804-1874) who also decorated a fantastic Albert Memorial Chapel at Windsor.

A few shots from the interior. The Cavaillé-Coll organ has been there since 1845 and has had some famous titular organists like Camille Saint-Saëns (between 1858-77) and Gabriel Fauré (between 1896-1905).

What is really quite special is the fresco in the nave from 1838 by Jules-Claude Ziegler (1804-1856) – “The History of Christianity”.  Once again we can see Mary Magdalena… but also some historic kings and rulers… and also Muhammad, Luther… and in the very front – Napoleon!

Not really within the subject, but I wonder what is happening to what is supposed to be one of the most beautiful public toilets in the world? It’s been closed for a couple of years. I wrote about it here, when it was still open.

Maybe also a reminder that you, for a yearly subscription of 5 Euros, can have a good lunch for 8.50 Euros in a restaurant in the basement of the church.   


Jeanie said...

This is one of the spots I didn't get to, Peter, but I can see how the restoration will really bring it back to life. It looks beautiful.

claude said...

Je me souviens d'une belle visite en ta compagnie. L'intérieur est très beau, j'avaiz moins aimé les gens qui piquent niquent sur les marches.

Anonymous said...

The weight of history inside and around this elegant church!
And to think of that child prodigy (and at that time the best pianist in the world) M. Camille Saint-Saëns played the organ there!

I also read that this church has a public dining place? With no restrooms? How do they get away with it?

Love your photography! Thank you so much.