La Madeleine, Paris
The maps and pictures below present data about La Madeleine, Paris. L'église de la Madeleine (Madeleine Church; more formally, L'église Sainte-Marie-Madeleine; less formally, just La Madeleine) is a Roman Catholic church occupying a commanding position in the 8th arrondissement of Paris.
The Madeleine Church was designed in its present form as a temple to the glory of Napoleon's army. To its south lies the Place de la Concorde, to the east is the Place Vendôme, and to the west L'église Saint-Augustin.
The site of this edifice, centred at the end of rue Royale, a line-of-sight between Gabriel's twin hôtels in the Place de la Concorde, required a suitably monumental end from the time the square was established in 1755, as Place Louis XV. The settlement round the site was called Ville l'Évêque, for it had belonged to the bishop of Paris since the time of Philip II of France, when Bishop Maurice de Sully seized the synagogue that stood on the site from the Jews of Paris in 1182, and consecrated it a church dedicated to Mary Magdalene. The site in the suburban faubourg had been annexed to the city of Paris since 1722.
Two false starts were made on building a church on this site. The reconstruction of the older church consecrated to Mary Magdalene was considered. The first design, commissioned in 1757, with construction begun with the King's ceremonial placing of the cornerstone, April 3, 1763, was halted in 1764; that first design, by Pierre Contant d'Ivry, was based on Jules Hardouin Mansart Late Baroque church of Les Invalides, with a dome surmounting a Latin cross. In 1777, Contant d'Ivry died and was replaced by his pupil Guillaume-Martin Couture, who decided to start anew, razing the incomplete construction, shortening the nave and basing his new, more centralized design on the Roman Pantheon. At the start of the Revolution of 1789, however, only the foundations and the grand portico had been finished; the choir of the former church was demolished in 1797, but work was discontinued while debate simmered as to what purpose the eventual building might serve in Revolutionary France: a library, a public ballroom, and a marketplace were all suggested. In the meantime, the National Assembly was housed in the Palais Bourbon behind a pedimented colonnaded front that was inspired by the completed portico at the far end of the former rue Royale.
After the execution of Louis XVI his body was immediately transported to the old Church of the Madeleine (demolished in 1799), since the legislation in force forbade burial of his remains beside those of his father, the Dauphin Louis de France, at Sens. Two curates who had sworn fealty to the Revolution held a short memorial service at the church. One of them, Damoureau, stated in evidence: