The Chapelle expiatoire (“Expiatory Chapel”) is a chapel located in the 8th arrondissement of Paris (France). The chapel was constructed on the grounds where King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette had been buried after they had been guillotined, and it is therefore dedicated to them.
The closest Paris métro station is Saint-Augustin.
The chapel was designed in 1816 by the French Neo-Classical architect Pierre François Léonard Fontaine, who, with his partner Charles Percier, figured among Napoleon’s favourite architects. Fontaine’s assistant Louis-Hippolyte Lebas oversaw the construction. The chapel was partly constructed on the grounds of the former Madeleine Cemetery, where King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette had been buried after they had been guillotined.
King Louis XVIII shared the 3 million livres expense of building the Chapelle expiatoire with the Duchess of Angoulême. Construction took ten years, and the chapel was inaugurated in 1826 in the presence of King Charles X. When he blessed the cornerstone of the Chapelle expiatoire, Hyacinthe-Louis de Quelen, Archbishop of Paris, called in vain for an amnesty of the exiled members of the National Convention.
The chapel itself is entered through a pedimented tetrastyle portico, of a sombre Doric order. It contains a domed space at the center of a Greek cross, formed by three coffered half-domed apses with oculi that supplement the subdued natural light entering through the skylight of the main dome. The cubic, semicylindrical and hemispheric volumes recall the central planning of High Renaissance churches as much as they do a Greco-Roman martyrium. White marble sculptures of the king and queen in ecstatic attitudes were made by François Joseph Bosio and Jean-Pierre Cortot. There is also a bas-relief by French sculptor François-Antoine Gérard (who also did some of the other carvings) showing the exhumation and removal of the remains of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette to the Basilica of St Denis.
Address: 29 Rue Pasquier, 75008 Paris, France.
Tuesday 10 AM–12:30 PM, 1:30–6:30 PM
Wednesday 10 AM–12:30 PM, 1:30–6:30 PM
Thursday 10 AM–12:30 PM, 1:30–6:30 PM
Friday 10 AM–12:30 PM, 1:30–6:30 PM
Saturday 10 AM–12:30 PM, 1:30–6:30 PM
Phone: +33 1 42 65 35 80
Architects: Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine, Louis-Hippolyte Lebas
Architectural style: Neoclassical architecture
Founder: Marie Thérèse of France
Function: Chapel, Place of worship