The Chapelle Expiatoire; a little-known masterpiece and symbol of the Restoration
Published on 5 January 2020, dans Visit Paris
Do you think you know most of the capital's monuments? There is one that you might well have missed; the Chapelle Expiatoire, nestled in the heart of the Square Louis XVI in the 8th arrondissement. This somewhat austere yet fascinating and beautifully dignified building set amidst trees and flowering groves dates from the end of the French Revolution and the beginning of the Bourbon Restoration. Dedicated to the memory of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, it reminds us of a tumultuous period in French history.
A funeral building in the shadow of the guillotine
This late neo-classical domed building was built between 1815 and 1826 by decree of King Louis XVIII. This is the spot where the Madeleine Cemetery once stood. Here the bodies of 3,000 victims of the Terror, including Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, were thrown into a mass grave. The royal remains were later transferred to the Bourbon crypt in the Basilica of Saint-Denis, where they still rest today. Although most of the bones found in the old cemetery were transferred to the catacombs, other martyrs of the Revolution are still interred under the foundations...
Many historical treasures to discover
The sober architecture of the Chapelle Expiatoire shelters many treasures, starting with its remarkably beautiful vaults and a pair of marble statues of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette. Engraved on the pedestal of statue of the former king is his final testament, drawn up just before his execution, and on that of the Queen is her last letter, written to her sister-in-law Élisabeth of France. The imposing altar in the crypt marks the exact location where the executed monarchs were exhumed.
During your stay at the Hotel Opéra Vivaldi, don’t miss the opportunity to visit this chapel located at 29 Rue Pasquier. It’s a little-known monument of great historical interest!
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Crédit Photo : Photo by © Myrabella on Wikimedia Commons
Hotel Opéra Vivaldi, a 3-star hotel a few minutes from Opéra Garnier and the Department Stores