La Madeleine (Paris)

The Madeleine Church ( Sainte -Marie -Madeleine, German St. Mary Magdalene ) is one of the main attractions in Paris. It is located in the 8th arrondissement about 400 m northeast of the Place de la Concorde and 500 meters southwest of the Opéra Garnier.


Under King Louis XV. was started in 1764 at this location with the construction of a church designed by the architect Pierre Contant d' Ivry. You should with its portico and a dome provide a monumental focal point from the perspective of the near, at the same time -scale Place Louis XV, now the Place de la Concorde. The construction was slow. The work was interrupted in December 1791 due to the French Revolution. At that time there were only parts of the external walls and the pillars of the portico on the south side. In the Revolution there were several unrealized plans for the completion and use of the building, including as a stock exchange as commercial court or parliament building.

On December 2, 1806 Napoleon I decided using the foundations and rising parts of the pre-revolutionary building a Temple à la Gloire - a Hall of Fame for his soldiers - to build. The klassistizistische design by the architect Pierre -Alexandre Vignon (1763-1823) for this Hall of Fame is similar with its 52 Corinthian columns, an ancient Roman podium temple. After the invasion of Russia in 1812, however, Napoleon moved away from his plan of a hall of fame, and returned to the original project of a church. After the fall of Napoleon decided King Louis XVIII. , The building as a church in memory of Louis XVI. and let Marie Antoinette finish. Construction was completed under Louis Philippe by the architect Jean -Jacques -Marie Huvé (1783-1852) in 1842. On October 9, 1845 the building was consecrated as a parish church.


The architectural form of the Madeleine church is very unusual for a Christian house of worship. This is due to the long construction history with the change of use intentions. While the exterior is modeled after the Roman Temple, the interior is modeled with its three successive domes the main rooms of Roman baths. The interior of the church originates primarily the years 1830-1840. Particularly worth seeing is true, the statue of Mary Magdalene by Carlo Marochetti

In the church masses for the dead found, inter alia, Frédéric Chopin ( † 1849), Jacques Offenbach ( † 1880), Charles Gounod († 1893), Camille Saint- Saëns († 1921), Gabriel Fauré († 1924), Coco Chanel († 1971), Josephine Baker ( † 1975 ), Marlene Dietrich († 1992 ), Charles Trenet (instead † 2001).

La Madeleine forms the northern end of an important urban axis that connects the church on Rue Royale, the Place de la Concorde and the Pont de la Concorde to the Palais Bourbon.


The organ of La Madeleine is by Aristide Cavaillé- Coll and was completed in 1846. The prospectus is designed in the style of the Italian Renaissance. After several renovations, it has four manuals at the following disposition since 2003 register 58:

  • Pairing: Accouplements: Pos / GO, Rec / GO, Bom / GO, Rec / Pos, Rec / Bom, Bom / Pos, Rec / GO s 4 ', Bom / GO s 16' s Rec 4 ' s Rec 16' suppression Rec en 8 '.
  • Tirasses: GO, Pos, Rec, Bom; Tirasses s 4 ': GO, Pos, Bom, Rec


The titular organist at the Madeleine were:

Among the visitors during the time of Saint- Saëns included Franz Liszt and Robert Schumann. The representation included organist Charles -Marie Widor, Eugène Gigout and Nadia Boulanger.