Résumé

A unique location

The Church of Madeleine is located between the Place de la Concorde and the Opéra Garnier, in the axis of the rue Royale, which gives a perspective up to the Palais Bourbon where the National Assembly is located. Its construction began in 1764 and was completed 85 years later in 1842, after many vicissitudes due to the political unrest in France at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries.

An uncertain destination

Under the Révolution, in 1793, the basements were rented to a wine merchant and various shops.

In 1806, Napoleon's wish was to make it a pantheon to the glory of his armies.

Louis XVIII planed an expiatory monument in memory of Louis XVI, Queen Marie-Antoinette, and Madame Elisabeth, who were guillotined during the Revolution.

The building was almost transformed in 1837 into a railway station which would have been the first in Paris.

A church at last

Its appearance, unusual for a religious building, has the shape of a Greek temple without a cross or bell tower.

The building is 108 meters long, 43 meters wide, and 30 meters high and is surrounded by 52 Corinthian columns. The church was consecrated on October 9, 1845.

Under the pediment, the Latin inscription "D.O.M. SVB. INVOC. S. M. MAGDALENAE" ("Domino Optimo Maximo sub invocatione Sanctae Mariae Magdalenae") means "To the best and great God, under the invocation of St. Mary Magdalene". Inside: sculptures, paintings, and the famous mosaic (composed by Charles-Joseph Lameire) of neo-Byzantine style. The magnificent great organ of the church is signed Aristide Cavaillé-Coll. Throughout the year, day and night, the church programs classical music concerts of high quality.

Funerals of personalities linked to the showbiz

Frederic Chopin was perhaps the first personality to enter the church for his funerals. He lived at 12 Place Vendôme and died on October 17, 1849, at the age of 39. He was followed by many others, such as

Jacques Offenbach in 1880
Charles Gounod in 1893
Camille Saint-Saëns in 1921
Gabriel Fauré in 1924
Mistinguett in 1956

etc. and the last artist was Johnny Hallyday in 2017.

Restoration of the building

This highly visible restoration will change the face of Paris in the run-up to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Localisation
Open hours

Opening hours: every day, 9:30am-7pm.
Free access and free of charge
Guided tour: Information or reservations at +33 (0) 1 44 51 69 00

Exceptional opening

  • January 1st
  • Easter
  • Easter Monday
  • Ascension
  • May 1st
  • May 8th
  • Pentecost
  • Whit Monday
  • July 14th
  • August 15th
  • November 1st
  • November 11th
  • December 25th
Access

Église de la Madeleine

Place de la Madeleine
75008 Paris

  • Métro - lines 8, 12, 14 - Station Madeleine
  • RER - line A - Auber
  • Bus - 42, 43, 52, 84, 94
  • Offre adaptée aux personnes en situation de handicap
Address

Eglise de la Madeleine, Place de la Madeleine, 75008 Paris

Coordinates Latitude Longitude
Sexagesimal (°, ', ") 48° 52′ 12″ N 2° 19′ 27″ E
Degré décimal (GPS) 48.86968 2.32481
Description complète

The Church of Madeleine is located between the Place de la Concorde and the Opéra Garnier, in the axis of the rue Royale, which gives a perspective up to the Palais Bourbon where the National Assembly is located. Its construction began in 1764 and was completed 85 years later in 1842, after many vicissitudes due to the political unrest in France at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries. The building was almost transformed in 1837 into a railway station which would have been the first in Paris.

The atypical aspect of the Church of Madeleine

Eglise-de-la-Madeleine is classified as a Historical Monument since 1915

Its appearance, unusual for a religious building, has the shape of a Greek temple without a cross or bell tower.

When the French Revolution broke out, the shafts of the columns of the Eglise-de-la-Madeleine rose to the height of the capitals. The work was completely stopped by the decree of the National Assembly on December 30, 1791. The period was not propitious for the construction of a church. The Direction des Bâtiments then rented the basements to a wine merchant (1794) and various parts of the enclosure to craftsmen.

In 1806, Napoleon's wish was to make it a pantheon to the glory of his armies. But after the Russian campaign of 1812, Napoleon renounced the Temple of Glory and returned to the original project of a church.

After Napoleon 1st, King Louis XVIII had ordered in August 1816 that the future new church would be an expiatory monument in memory of Louis XVI, Queen Marie-Antoinette, and Madame Elisabeth, who were guillotined during the Revolution. But funds were lacking, and Louis XVIII ended up having the expiatory chapel built nearby, on his personal cassette. The law of 1834, which provided credit for public utility projects to reduce unemployment, enabled the work to be completed in 1842. The building is 108 meters long, 43 meters wide, and 30 meters high and is surrounded by 52 Corinthian columns. The church was consecrated on October 9, 1845, by Archbishop Affre, Archbishop of Paris.

Architecture of the Church

Climbing up the wide staircase and before entering through the two monumental bronze doors, one can admire the Corinthian columns that surround the building. Under the pediment, the Latin inscription "D.O.M. SVB. INVOC. S. M. MAGDALENAE" ("Domino Optimo Maximo sub invocatione Sanctae Mariae Magdalenae") means "To the best and great God, under the invocation of St. Mary Magdalene". Inside: sculptures, paintings, and the famous mosaic (composed by Charles-Joseph Lameire) of neo-Byzantine style. The magnificent great organ of the church is signed Aristide Cavaillé-Coll. Throughout the year, day and night, the church programs classical music concerts of high quality.

Funerals of personalities linked to the showbiz

Frederic Chopin was perhaps the first personality to enter the church for his funerals. He lived at 12 Place Vendôme and died on October 17, 1849, at the age of 39. He is buried in the Père-Lachaise cemetery, after a ceremony at the Eglise-de-la-Madeleine, to the sounds of his famous Funeral March (in an arrangement for orchestra by Napoleon Reber) as well as those of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Requiem. Other celebrities with ceremonies at the Eglise-de-la-Madeleine:

Jacques Offenbach in 1880
Charles Gounod in 1893
Camille Saint-Saëns in 1921
Gabriel Fauré in 1924
Mistinguett in 1956
Edith Piaf in 1963
Coco Chanel in 1971
Josephine Baker in 1975
Tino Rossi in 1983
Thierry Le Luron in 1986
Dalida in 1987
Marlene Dietrich in 1992
Charles Trenet in 2001
Gilbert Bécaud in 2001
Daniel Toscan du Plantier in 2003
Henri Salvador in 2008
Patrick Saint-Éloi in 2010
King Kester Emeneya in 2014
Aldo Ciccolini in 2015
Johnny Hallyday in 2017

Exterior and interior restoration of Church of Madeleine

More than a century and a half after its construction, the Eglise-de-la-Madeleine requires major restoration work. Serious structural disorders require a thorough restoration of the building and pollution both inside and out has covered the magnificent statues, sculpted decorations, and paintings with a layer of blackish, greasy dust. The numerous romantic works - created by more than 60 of the most renowned sculptors, painters, mosaicists, founders, and goldsmiths of the 19th century - now only show a sad glow. The building was the subject in 2011 of an order of danger from the prefecture of police.

Given the size of the building, a complete restoration project for the Madeleine - estimated at €80 million - can only be achieved with the help of sponsorship, supplementing the budgets allocated by the City of Paris. This is why the Fondation Avenir du Patrimoine à Paris, which encourages the mobilization of private energies to accelerate the restoration of Parisian churches, created in 2015 a fund dedicated to the preservation of this priceless architectural and artistic heritage that is the Eglise-de-la-Madeleine.

Provisional work schedule for the Church of Madeleine: 2020-2022

The general lighting of the Eglise-de-la-Madeleine is at the same time insufficient, very heterogeneous, and exaggeratedly contrasted. This accentuates the impression of obsolescence. Lighting of the Eglise-de-la-Madeleine will finally make it possible to appreciate the magnificence of the interior volumes of the church and to make more cordial the various religious and cultural events that took place there.

In addition, the general condition of the façade of the Madeleine church on rue Royale is alarming. To mitigate the risk of falling stones, retention nets have been placed there for decades. A deep median crack goes up from the lintel of the big door to the top of the façade. Some of the decorations, sculptures, marble floor tiles, and acanthus leaves are so mutilated that they have practically disappeared. In addition, the general condition of the façade of the Madeleine church on rue Royale is alarming. To mitigate the risk of falling stones, retention nets have been placed there for decades. A deep median crack goes up from the lintel of the big door to the top of the façade. Some of the decorations, sculptures, marble floor tiles, and acanthus leaves are so mutilated that they have practically disappeared.

This highly visible restoration will change the face of Paris in the run-up to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

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Open hours today: 9:30 am - 7:00 pm
  • Monday

    9:30 am - 7:00 pm

  • Tuesday

    9:30 am - 7:00 pm

  • Wednesday

    9:30 am - 7:00 pm

  • Thursday

    9:30 am - 7:00 pm

  • Friday

    9:30 am - 7:00 pm

  • Saturday

    9:30 am - 7:00 pm

  • Sunday

    9:30 am - 7:00 pm

  • July 16, 2024 8:55 am local time

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