Robin Camille Davis
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Église de la Madeleine

February 04, 2009
Tags: church, gorgeous, paris

We visited Église de la Madeleine yesterday. It was quite different inside from the other churches we've seen. It was much darker — there was no stained glass — and it was inspired by Renaissance art, Christian imagery, Neo-classicism, and the mosaics of Roman baths. Its history is complicated; supervision of its construction went through several hands. What was it to be, the French people of the past asked. A church? A library? A train station?

"Non!" said Napoleon in 1806. "It will be the Temple de la Gloire de la Grande Armée — to celebrate how glorious my army is." But after Napoleon's un-glorious fall, the French decided it would be a church after all. Still, the building is a sort of patchwork of its own history. The 52 columns from 1770ish still stand, and, in the nave, there's this fresco from when Napoleon was in charge:

Guess who the glorious fellow in red is? The one front and center, more lavishly attired and attended to than Jesus Christ Himself? ...It's a more than little silly.

Food update (you're right, Crow, this is now a food blog): I made an excellent salade de poulet asiatique, aka Asian chicken salad, following une recette in a cookbook I bought today (Recettes Faciles). It was pretty delish! Parents, I know you are shocked that I am eating a salad (gasp!), but fret not: tomorrow is a return to hearty pasta.