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Chapelle Expiatoire (Expiatory Chapel) 8th.
After the Revolution, and the monarchy restored, Louis XVIII wanted to revive the memories of the royal family. The remains of his brother Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette were removed to St Denis, and on exactly that spot had this chapel built. Once the Madeleine cemetery, the beheaded King and Queen laid here for some 20 years alongside others such as Charlotte Corday and others executed during the Terror. Started on the 21st January 1815, anniversary of Louis' XVI death it wasn't completed for a further 11 years and it became a great debating point between Royalists and those that still had a revolutionary side to them.
Above the entrance to the vestibule there is the inscription by Louis XVIII engraved on a slab just below the pediment. Through the vestibule you enter into a well laid out garden known as the "Campo Sancto" amid rows of gravestones in arched niches commemorating the Swiss guards that died protecting Louis during his arrest in 1792. On each arch is carved a winged hourglass representing the passage of time or mortality. This can also be found on the great carving on the entrance wall in the square Louis.
Normal entrance fee is 5€50 for an adult with the usual gratuités for children etc, but nothing for seniors.
Metro:Havre-caumartin, or St. Lazare, or St. Augustin (the closest)
Follow this link to part II :
Chapelle Expiatoire (Expiatory Chapel) 8th. II
Entering the chapel itself, you have a main dome surrounded on three sides by 3 smaller vaults and the entrance door. One of the vaults holds an altar and the other two, statues representing Louis and Marie-Antoinette with Louis' will and Marie's last letter to his sister, Elisabeth, engraved on black marble. Above the entrance is a depiction of the removal of the remains to St Denis' basilica.
Behind the statues are stairs leading down to the crypt where you find an altar on the exact spot where Louis laid for 21 years.
Following the exit signs takes you through a walkway in the form of a cloister.
Close to the classic malls, a small fenced garden invited me in.
It is the burial place of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, with a neoclassical chapel built by king Louis XVIII.
It's strange the precaution to "hide" the chapel, in a dense and fenced garden. Is it only to justify the expensive ticket?
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
This Chapelle was erected on the site of a mass cemetary where Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette were buried along with 3000 victims of the Revolution.
Limited Opening Hours:
1pm-5pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Entrance fee: 3E
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