Yes,you spotted it. the Greek temple just north of the Place de la Concorde is La Madeleine. Such a melodic tone to the word,isn't it? The large building's actually a Roman catholic Church dedicated to saint Mary Magdalene.
The French Meaning of Magdalene is Magdeleine and such,its the name of this edifice. It style was based on the Pantheon and definitely occupies a commanding position in the 8th arrondissement of Paris. Its inspiration was the Maison Carre in Nimes,one of the best preserved Roman temples.
It is staggering in size ,and was crafted in superb workmanship. There are no less than 52 Corinthian columns surrounding the temple,each scaling 20 meters. Get your rug-rats to count all of them or play peek-a-boo behind them. At the front, the columns are topped with sculpted frieze and the base-relief on the bronze doors which represent the 10 commandments are something to behold .
The church has a single nave with three domes over wide arched bays ,lavishly gilded. It takes time to take it all in. Its huge and sublimely grand. The temple facade counterbalances the colonnaded facade of the Palais Borbon across the river.
Walk behind the alter and you find the large statue depicting the ascension of Mary Magdalene. I love pipe organs any time and this one is used frequently for concerts which are held here. The acoustics are terrific. For those religious Mass is conducted everyday and the joint is booked out for weddings and funerals.
To get here, find your bearings for Place de la Concorde Palais garnier and before long you will be situated at Place de La Madeleine, facing the columns.
PS. There is a restaurant open 11.30- 2.00pm and for an annual subscription of a meagre Three euros, you can dine under the superb vaulted ceiling, on a three-course French meal served by volunteers for the price of 7.5 euros....... its a bargain and very tasty as well. Bon appetite .
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