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.
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