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Chapelle Expiatoire Paris: remembering Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette


La Chapelle Expiatoire Paris (the Expiatory Chapel) is one of those hidden gems which blends, history, art, and architecture and offers a quiet oasis not far from the busy Grands Boulevards in Paris 8. If you are looking for a more intimate, local experience in Paris, don’t miss La Chapelle Expiatoire. Built on the location of an ancient cemetery (le Cimitière de la Madeleine) which received hundreds of corpses during the revolutionary days, the chapel was indeed constructed at the exact point where King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were buried after their execution in 1793.

In 1814 France restored the monarchy with Louis XVIII. It was King Louis XVIII, Louis XVI’s brother, who ordered to move the rests of the royal couple to Basilique de Saint-Denis and built this chapel to honor their memory. Designed by the architect Fontaine (1816-1826), the Chapelle Expiatoire’s main purpose was to ask for the pardon on behalf of France.

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Fontaine designed a chapel in a Neo-classical style, taking some elements from Roman and Greek antiquity, Middle Ages and Renaissance. The decoration is very minimalist, reminding us that this chapel is a memory place.

Inside the chapel, we can find the statues of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Louis XVI is ascending to Heaven with the help of an angel. The pedestal is engraved with the King’s testament, written before his execution. We especially liked the sculpture called “Marie Antoinette soutenue par la Religion” (Queen Marie Antoinette hold by Religion) designed by Jean Pierre Cortot in 1835. Queen Marie Antoinette, downhearted, asks Religion for help and Religion shows her the cross. Religiona veiled woman, has the traits of Elisabeth, the king’s sister. Elisabeth, who also passed through the guillotine in 1794, received the last letter from the queen just a few hours before Marie Antoinette death.

The altar in the crypt marks the exact location of the king’s body exhumation.



We access to this nostalgic place through an alley flanked by some tombs. These tombs are just symbolic, they remind us of the Swiss Guards, the soldiers who died at the king’s service in 1792.  On this green space in front of the chapel, we can also find many kinds of trees symbolizing the different social classes, all victims of the Revolution.

Chapelle Expiatoire Paris



La Chapelle Expiatoire is located at Rue Pasquier, Paris 75008; M. Saint Agustin, L9; Vélib Station #8016

Open from Tuesday to Saturday

Tickets: Full price 6€. Free admission for people under 18, people from 18-25 (citizens of the 27 countries of the European Union and non-European residents regularly resident in France) and during special occasions like Les Journées du Patrimoine (usually end of September).


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 Chapelle Expiatoire Paris

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  • Johna
    05/04/2017 at 5:19 am

    Stunning! I was actually in Paris this time last year. Missing it a lot. Too bad we didn’t have enough time to visit this place. Looks so interesting!

    • WorldInParis
      05/10/2017 at 4:55 pm

      That means you will have to come back again 😉

  • Darlene
    05/03/2017 at 10:50 am

    Interesting. The architecture of this place is quite mystical. For sure it is also a bit eery due to its history. A hidden gem.

    • WorldInParis
      08/03/2017 at 1:04 pm

      Yes, a hidden gem in the middle of Paris 🙂

  • Sandy N Vyjay
    05/03/2017 at 2:43 am

    Who would have thought that a tomb, a man’s final resting place will be divinely beautiful? It’s classy and intricately detailed architecture will simply make every visitor’s “ wow”. Aside from being at the exact point where King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were buried. Nowadays this place is one of the top choices for wedding and Nuptial photos.

    • WorldInParis
      08/10/2017 at 9:22 am

      Really? I had no idea about the wedding thing!

  • Joanna
    05/02/2017 at 4:41 pm

    It’s amazing how Paris has so many beautiful and interesting places to visit. The architecture of the chapelle is so pretty and from your photos I can see that it’s not a touristy place and you can enjoy it in peace.

    • WorldInParis
      05/10/2017 at 4:57 pm

      It is a very calm and peaceful place. It is hidden in the middle of a garden so you see it only if you know about it

  • celine
    05/02/2017 at 3:43 pm

    There’s so much more to see in Paris. I didn’t get to see secluded and quaint areas such as this. In my next visit, I hope!

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