The Chapelle expiatoire ("Expiatory Chapel") is a chapel located in the 8th arrondissement of Paris, France. This chapel is dedicated to Louis XVI and his wife, Marie Antoinette, although they are formally buried in the Basilica of St Denis.
History and Construction:
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.
Building and Courtyard:
The Chapelle expiatoire stands on a slight rise. There are two buildings separated by a courtyard which is surrounded by an enclosed cloister-like precinct, a peristyle, that isolates the chapel from the outside World. The building on Rue Pasquier is the entrance.
In 1862, the cypresses which surrounded the chapel were cut down, and a public park (Square Louis XVI) was created around the complex. In May 1871 The Commune demanded that the Chapel be torn down. This was never put into effect. Every January 21, a memorial mass is held in the chapel to commorate the death of Louis XVI. The Chapel was severely damaged by storm in 2009.