Chapelle Expiatoire
Chapelle Expiatoire
4
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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About
In the tranquil setting of Square Louis XVI, lies a marvel of late neo-classical architecture: the Chapelle Expiatoire. The expiatory chapel was built in 1815 on the orders of the late king’s brother, Louis XVIII. On the exact spot beheaded sovereigns were buried in 1793 along with many other illustrious victims of the Revolution, including Marie-Antoinette. The chapel is dedicated to the memory of the royal family.Open:> All the year, on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Closed:> 1st January, 1st May and 25th December. Admission fees: Adults : 5,5€; Concessions (18 to 25) = 4€; Free admission: minors under 18*; Free admission: 18-25 years old* (citizens of one of the 27 countries of the EU or are non-European permanent residents of France) * excluding school groups
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  • Fred M
    Summerville, South Carolina2,043 contributions
    Very small, very quiet, very historical
    Chapelle Expiatoire dates to 1816 by King Charles X. It sits somewhat hidden on a small Paris street. The architecture is beautiful and the chapel extremely well maintained. Suggest studying the history of King Louis and Queen Marie Antoinette prior to your visit. (Our actual visit was in late May 2019)
    Written May 19, 2020
  • lnscout
    New York City, New York272 contributions
    The saddest place in Paris is still lovely
    Paris is a happy city. There is nothing ugly anywhere, everything is beautifully presented. The food, flowers, clothes, everyone is beautiful. This place is beautiful too, but very sad. It's an attempt at redemption by the city for having put the King and Queen to the guillotine. The white rose bushes are lovely, the dome is lovely, the little cat in the cloister is lovely, the memory of the Revolution, maybe not so lovely...but it did pave the way for modern France and that's a great thing.
    Traveled solo
    Written February 18, 2013
  • default2132020
    Paris, France6,439 contributions
    Un hommage aux époux royaux guillotinés
    Ce lieu est peu connu dans Paris mais très symbolique : il commémore la conservation des dépouilles royales de Louis XVI et Marie Antoinette pendant 21 ans à cet endroit avant qu'elles ne soient transférées à la basilique de Saint Denis. Cette chapelle expiatoire classée monument historique a été érigée sur décision du roi Louis XVIII. Le terme "expiatoire" est très surprenant pour qualifier ce monument. Aurait-on des regrets d'avoir guillotiné le roi et son épouse ? Serait-on coupable de l'avoir fait ? Aurait-on commis une faute qu'il faudrait se faire pardonner ? Ce monument plaira sans doute aux Royalistes mais n'en parlez pas aux Révolutionnaires car ils pourraient ne pas être franchement d'accord avec la démarche. Et je ne vous dis même pas d'en parler aux apôtres de la laïcité car l'expiation, à mon avis, est une notion qui risque de leur hérisser le poil. Alors, en visitant ce monument, vous n'expierez rien car l'histoire est ce qu'elle est, avec ses moments plus ou moins dramatiques, parfois compréhensibles. Si on considère la misère crasse des gueux, ceux-là même qui ont permis aux rois de France de lever des armées, de gagner des guerres et de percevoir des impôts, alors que dans le même temps, les nobles et la Cour vivaient dans l'opulence, la luxure et l'indécence, décadents qu'ils étaient, sans se soucier de la souffrance du petit peuple, ce n'est que justice et on ne regrettera pas ce roi qui a tenté de fuir devant ses responsabilités et cette reine, frivole, immature et irresponsable qui a fortement contribué à la chute de la royauté et à celle de son mari. Une leçon à méditer sérieusement pour les gouvernants actuels et futurs ... Le square qui entoure le monument est également dédié au roi déchu. C'est un joli square bien tenu, bien fréquenté, avec un espace dédié aux enfants et très fleuri en hommage à .... Marie-Antoinette. Les créations florales des jardiniers tentent d'illustrer le goût de la reine pour la campagne ... A vous de juger. Un lieu d'une connotation très mitigée qui ne fera pas consensus mais dans le fond, la royauté est-elle vraiment morte dans la République française, la plus royaliste dans l'incarnation et l'esprit dit-on ...
    Written September 25, 2019
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Linda_22003
Williamsburg, VA67 contributions
We visited the Chappelle Expiatoire because we happened to be strolling by it down the Boulevard Haussmann. It was built in the 1820s on the site of the old Madeleine cemetery, where victims of the guillotine were buried, including Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

When the monarchy was restored, Louis' brother, Charles X, had the king and queen's bodies resurrected and moved to the Basilica St. Denis, where French monarchs were traditionally buried. He had the "Expiatory Chapel" built on the site, presumably as expiation for France's sin in killing their monarchs.

There is an altar inside, and huge statues of Louis and Marie Antoinette. Downstairs there is a sepulchre which marks the spot where their bodies were found, and funeral banners representing cities in France, which were carried in the procession which took the bodies to St. Denis for reburial.

During the various republics, there were arguments about tearing the chapel down, but (being French), the arguments went on without any action being taken. The chapel is now being restored and seems to be a permanent, odd little fixture in Paris.
Written March 9, 2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

BeckyBooBird
Fort Myers Beach, FL509 contributions
Jun 2015 • Solo
The Expiatory Chapel was built to show atonement for the regicide of the French monarchy. It is located in the eighth arrondissement in a charming little park, Square-Louis XVI. It was built by Louis XVIII and is dedicated to the memory of his brother, Louis XVI, and his queen, Marie-Antoinette, who were executed in 1793 during the French Revolution. The chapel was built on the site of a former revolutionary mass graveyard, where 3,000 victims of the Revolution were buried; thus, the inner garden of the courtyard is hallowed ground. The park is a cool and peaceful oasis in the middle of a busy city and is frequented by many Parisians.

The chapel itself cannot be fully seen from the entrance on Rue Pasquier because it is surrounded by an open colonnade. These arched side galleries isolate the chapel from the outside world, giving the impression of a peaceful burial place. You go in through the stark exterior façade of the entrance building and go up a flight of steps that leads from the vestibule to the inner garden of the courtyard. The nine arches of the colonnade on each side of the inner garden hold the symbolic gravestones of the Swiss guards who died trying to protect the king when he was arrested at the Tuileries in 1792.

The chapel itself is in the form of a Greek cross, with arms of equal length. There is a main dome at the center of the chapel and three half-domes with circular openings which allow natural light to enter the chapel. Besides the main altar, there are two white marble sculptures of the king and queen. The sculpture of the king in coronation robes shows Louis XVI supported by an angel. The angel points to heaven, signaling the king’s salvation. The sculpture of the queen shows Marie-Antoinette kneeling in front of “Religion,” into whose hands she puts herself. Both sculptures were meant to convey the idea that the king and queen had received Christian mercy and forgiven their enemies, beliefs promoting national conciliation. There are stairs at the back of the side chapels, which give you access to a black and white marble altar, intended to mark the place where the royal remains were found.

The information regarding the chapel’s opening hours has been confusing. It is open from 11:00 - 6:00 PM on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I went at 1:00 on Saturday afternoon, and, by chance, the curator was there. He assured me that the chapel would be open according to the hours on the chapel web site and for three days of the week. You have the curator’s word on this. The chapel web site is: www.chapelle-expiatoire.monuments-nationaux.fr. The chapel is a ten-minute walk from Église Madeleine. Facing the Madeleine, go down Boulevard Malesherbes and turn right on Rue Pasquier. The Chapelle Expiatoire is a very lovely and meaningful monument; it represents a historical event as well as a politically significant issue of the Restoration era. The entrance fee is 5 ½ euros. I highly recommend that you visit this unique, lovely and serene monument.
Written June 10, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Anne
Vantaa, Finland794 contributions
Mar 2012 • Friends
Are you tired of queues to Paris attractions? Do you want to see something beautiful and touching that holds part of Parisian history within it? Then this is the place for you!

When we arrived here in the afternoon there were no queues. While visiting the attraction, we only saw handful of people touring this place. The burial ground, which you have to cross to get in the chapel, is simple, but beautiful. The chapel itself is pretty small, but a lovely piece of neo-classical architecture. It is dedicated to King Louis XVI and his queen, Marie Antoinette. The crypts are also worth the visit. A true place of tranquility!
Written February 10, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

L D
Toronto, Canada46 contributions
Jul 2011 • Friends
If you walk along Haussmann towards the Madeleine area, you'll find a park called the Square Louis XVI at Rue Pasquier. Inside this peaceful park is a dark piece of history: it contains the mass grave of the victims of the Revolution. To get to the chapel, you have to cross the burial ground, which includes the graves of the Swiss Guards along the perimeter, making this a somber landmark...but its historical significance makes it worth seeing. The small chapel has large statues of both Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette on the first floor. One floor below, you'll find a black marble altar marking the spot where they found Louis XVI's remains.
Written August 29, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Zelda48
London England139 contributions
Apr 2013 • Friends
We visited in April having checked out timings but when we arrived it was closed with no explanation as to why. Other people were wandering around like us very disappointed.What a let down.
Written April 20, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Julia C
Fredericton, Canada124 contributions
Aug 2011 • Friends
Not hard to find - a big walled in square not far from the metro. Beautiful monument - very underrated - we enjoyed this as much as many of the 'big attractions' in Paris. The monument is very touching, especially reading Marie Antoinette's last letter (addressed mostly to her children), heart breaking.

Outside in front of the monument seems to be an attraction for local young couples in love :)
Written April 2, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

PJV1426
Cincinnati, OH415 contributions
Oct 2021 • Friends
Good bit of history here in a lovely spot, uncrowded, and beautiful. Revolutionary history, post revolutionary, and some Communard history.
Written October 2, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Pernille I
Copenhagen, Denmark4,713 contributions
Nov 2019
The expiatory chapel is built in 1816 by the then king Charles X as atonement of sins for the beheading of king Louis XVI and queen Marie-Antoinette.

When they were decapitated in 1793 their bodies were thrown in a communal graveyard and left there - no further signs of dignity deemed necessary of course.

Years later and with a change of atmosphere, they were transferred to the royal burial place of the Saint Denis cathedral north of Paris; and in its place was built this chapel of commemoration.

Since then the surroundings have changed - no longer as majestic as they once were; but there is a small square to protect the entrance.

There are basically no tourists here; which is a shame as it is an important monument; on the other hand the entrance fee of 6 EUR may seem a little high for is actually to be seen.

A small yard with chapels on both sides containing the rests of some Swiss guards killed during the unrest at Louvre in 1792; note the hour glass on top of each chapel to remind us of our mortality.

Next you enter the chapel, which is quite bare except for the 2 statues of the King and the Queen. Beneath them you will find on one hand the testament of the king - and on the other hand the last letter of the Queen asking Louis XVI's sister to look after her children.

Unfortunately these are not translated - but may be so in the little folder handed over at the entrance (I used the French version). But they are moving and interesting to read in their integrity.

Below there is a very small and simple chapel marking the exact spot of the kings burial place; and every year on January 21st to commemorate the two royal victims.

Nevertheless it is off the beaten path and despite the fee, it is an usual visit.
Written December 3, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Isabelle R
Brussels, Belgium252 contributions
Apr 2018 • Solo
It was interesting to see. I was in the area. But I think the entrance price is too high, because in the end, we don't see so much. If you don't stay very long in Paris, I don't recommend to spend time to go there...It's more little than I've imagined it.
I appreciate that they explained the story of this Chapelle.
Written May 13, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

LowMaintenanceCouple
Orlando, FL35 contributions
Mar 2017 • Family
Certainly off the beaten path, but easily accessible, this was a hidden gem of our visit to Paris. The original burial site of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, history buffs won't want to miss this. A small garden and beautiful memorials outside to those lost in the French Revolution, and impressive statues inside of Louis and Marie inside the main building. Louis' statue has a copy of his will that you can read (in French), while Marie's includes a letter (also in French) she wrote shortly before her death. The crypt is interesting, and the leaflet provided when you walk in is more than enough to help you understand the significance of the site. Check the hours, as the site is only open on limited days. This is well worth a visit, and will take less than an hour to go through.
Written March 27, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Chapelle Expiatoire (Paris) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

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Chapelle Expiatoire is open:
  • Tue - Tue 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Thu - Sat 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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