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Discover La Madeline
Started in 1764 during the reign of Louis XV, and designed by Constant d'Ivry using plans based on the St-Louis-des-Invalide Church, La Madeline was razed by a second architect to who favored a design modeled after the Panthéon. However this second design was not well accepted either, and all work ceased between 1790 and 1806.
Napoléon then decided that a Temple of Glory to his Grande Armée should be built, and Pierre-Alexandre Vignon was commissioned to draw up the plans. After razing the remaining efforts from 1790, building started on what was to be a Greek temple. The commemorative role of the edifice was lost when the Arc de Triomphe was completed in 1808, and again the focus of the structure became ambiguous.
In 1814, Louis XVIII confirmed that the Madeleine should be a church, but in 1837 it was nearly selected to be the first railway station of Paris. Finally in 1842 it was consecrated as a church.
Place de la Madeleine, 14, rue de Surène
La Madeleine is one of Paris's minor landmarks, dominating rue Royale, which culminates in place de la Concorde. Though construction began in 1806, it wasn't consecrated until 1842. Resembling a Roman temple, the building was intended as a monument to the glory of the Grande Armée (Napoleon's idea, of course). Later, several alternative uses were considered: the National Assembly, the Bourse, and the National Library. Climb the 28 steps to the facade and look back: You'll be able to see rue Royale, place de la Concorde and its obelisk, and (across the Seine) the dome of the Hôtel des Invalides. Don't miss Rude's Le Baptême du Christ, to the left as you enter.
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