Something of a white elephant, the Madeleine has had a checkered career, narrowly avoiding being transformed into a railway station,a stock exchange, a bank, a theater, and yet another temple to the emperor Napoleon. Although building started n 1764, many ups and downs ensued before the Madeleine at last regained its original function in 1842 and was completed as a church. The unmistakable Greek temple form, supported by 52 Corinthian pillars, commands a spectacular perspective down the rue Royale toward the Concorde and beyond. A classic site for society weddings and funerals, the rose marble interior has seen the coffins of Chopin, Josephine Baher, and Marlene Dietrich.





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