Best Paris Strolls

Stroll 16: Concorde-Madeleine-Expiatoire

Stroll 16 Chapelle Expiatoire

Quick Description: Revolution theme, spectacular plaza, avenue and church, beautiful and somber memorial. 

Where: Right Bank, from Place de la Concorde directly north to Blvd Haussmann. 

Start at Place de la Concorde, outside Metro station Concorde (##1, 8, #12 lines).  End outside the park around  Chapelle Expiatoire, near Metro stations Saint Lazare (#3, #12, #13, #14 lines) and Havre – Caumartin (#3, #9 lines) .  

Duration: 30 min walk, @1.5-2.5 hrs with venue visits and browsing the flower market and shops.  Early Departure Option at the midpoint, Place de la Madeleine, before the route heads to Chapelle Expiatorie.

Best Days: Tues – Fri.

Best Time to Start: 10:30am – 11:30am

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Connects: by quick Metro rides from station Saint Lazare via the #12 line to Stroll 13 (Musee D’Orsay to Musee Rodin), or Stroll 15 (Concorde-Tuileries-Vendome), or Stroll 17 (Concorde to Place de l’Alma), or Stroll 24 (Montmartre), or Stroll 25 (Pigalle aka SOPI); and from either station Saint Lazare or station Havre – Caumartin via the #3 line to Stroll 21 (Opera-Haussmann-Saint Lazare), or the standalone site, Cimetiere Pere Lachaise;  and from station Saint Lazare via the #13 line to the standalone site, Musee Jacquemart-Andre.

Past and Present: This stroll starts at Place de la Concorde, where King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette were executed on the guillotine during the Revolution, and follows the route their bodies were taken, up Rue Royale, past the Church of the Madeleine to the church’s unused cemetery land, where they were unceremoniously buried in what became a mass grave.  Place de la Concorde is now a spectacular traffic rotary with statues and fountains plus an 18th century royal mansion, Hotel de la Marine, which is open to visitors. The Church of the Madeleine, finished in the early 1800s, replicates the Parthenon and offers an impressive interior.  And Chapelle Expiatorie and a surrounding park now sits on the royal gravesite, as a memorial to the king and queen and other victims of the Revolution.  The stroll route also brings you to three picturesque shopping arcades, a flower market, and a variety of restaurants, including the famous Maxim’s and a “secret” lunch venue in the cellar of the church.

Attractions (in order):          

  • Place de la Concorde: Forming the western border of the Jardin des Tuileries, and the eastern end of the Champs Elysses.  Plaza dating from the 18th century, site of the guillotine during the Revolution, now a spectacular traffic rotary with statues and fountains and the Luxor obelisk, plus former royal buildings along the north side.  
  • Hotel de la Marine: #2 Place de la Concorde, start of route.  Magnificent 18th century royal mansion forming the northeastern boundary of Place de la Concorde.  Now open to the public,  to tout the opulent rooms and view the private Al Thani antiquities collection housed there. Building accessible daily 10:30am-7pm (9:30pm Fridays), but entry requires reserving a tour time.  There are five audio guided tours to choose from: four 90 min long, €17; one 45 min long €13.    (Note: To visit here on this stroll, schedule your tour time near to your start time.) 
  • Hotel de Crillon: #4-10 Place de la Concorde, start of route.  Magnificent 17th century royal mansion forming the northwestern border of Place de la Concorde.  It houses  an historic luxury traveler’s inn, also called Hotel de Crillon, at #10, as well as the Automobile Club of France and the Hotel de Coislin mansion site.  The public areas of the traveler’s inn are accessible.      
  • Rue Royale: running from Place de la Concorde north to Place de la Madeleine.   Impressive 18th century street, created as a royal parade route and vista between Place de la Concorde and the Church of the Madeleine. Many of its landmarked buildings now house the flagship stores of luxury brand retailers.
  • Le Village Royal: #25 Rue Royale, near Place de la Madeleine, with exit at the other end onto Rue Boissy d’Anglas. Shops of upscale brands are set in an 18th century courtyard.  Mon-Sat courtyard opens 8am, shops open 10am-7pm.
  • Galerie de la Madeleine: Route uses entry at #30 Rue Boissy d’Anglas, and exits at the other end onto Place de la Madeleine.  This is an operating 19th century shopping arcade with period charm and unique boutiques.  Accessible Mon-Sat 8am-11pm, shops generally open at 10am. 
  • Church of the Madeleine: Place de la Madeleine.  Large, ornate church built from the late 1700s to the early 1800s, with an exterior that is modeled on the Parthenon in Greece and an interior featuring three domes, plus various artworks.  Daily 9:30am-7pm, free.
  • Madeleine Flower Market: Place de la Madeleine.  Open-air stalls are located along the eastern side of the church.  Mon-Sat, 8am-7:30pm. 
  • Passage Puteaux:  Running between Rue de l’Arcade and Rue Pasquier.  Operating 19th century shopping arcade with period detail, shops and a restaurant (see “Dining Suggestions”).  Accessible Mon-Fri 7am-7pm.
  • #34 Rue Pasquier: Across the street from Square Louis XVI and Chapelle Expiatoire.  Art Deco style building adorned with remarkable bas relief sculptures of tropical and jungle animals and fish.
  • Square Louis XVI and Chapelle Expiatoire:  Entry on Rue Pasquier.  The small park surrounds a memorial dedicated to King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette, as well as other victims of the Revolution.  It includes a chapel with statues, a crypt and a representative cemetery.  Square Louis XVI is open Mon-Fri 8am-6:30pm, Sat-Sun 9am-6:30pm, free.  Chapelle Expiatorie is open Oct-Mar Mon-Sat 10:30am-12:30pm and 1:30-5pm, April-Sept Tues-Sat 10am-12:30pm and 1:30-6:30pm, €6, free for persons under 18, EU residents under 26, handicapped persons and their aides.

Dining Suggestions (in order):

  • Maxim’s: #3 Rue Royale, on the left-hand side of the first block as you walk north from Place de la Concorde.  Dating from 1893 this became a legendary watering hole of the rich and famous during the 20th century, and was used as a movie set on several occasions.  It features Art Nouveau architecture, sumptuous Belle Epoque décor and a limited menu of expensive, classic French dishes, plus sales of branded caviar and fancy chocolates.  Wed-Sat Noon-2pm, 7:30-10:30pm.  Average cost @€120. Reservations suggested.  
  • Le Boissy d’Anglas: #41 Rue Boissy d’Anglas, opposite entry to Galerie de la Madeleine.  French cuisine, short bistro menu. Upscale traditional room, outdoor seating.  Mon-Fri 9am-Midnight.  Prix fixe meal @€44 3 courses, a la carte mains @€16-22, breakfast pastry options.  
  • Lucas Carton: #9 Place de la Madeleine, next to the Galerie de la Madeleine.  Michelin starred restaurant dating from 1860. Inventive French haute cuisine, offered a la carte and in tasting menus.  Elegant dining room.  Average cost @€120.  An alternate dining room, Le Petit Carton, located upstairs, offers somewhat lower prices. Mon-Sat Noon-1:30pm, 7:30-9:30pm. Reservations suggested.   
  • Le Foyer de la Madeleine: Inside the Church of the Madeleine, with an entrance behind the flower stalls.   Charitable enterprise offering a short menu of French home style dishes at economical prices.  The space consists of vaulted cellar rooms located beneath the church, furnished in traditional restaurant style.  Open for lunch only, Mon-Fri 11:45am-2pm. Average cost: @€10 3 courses.  No reservations.  (Note: Once a “secret” place it is now quite popular, so arrive early if possible.)
  • La Pate a Nouilles Madeleine: #8 Rue de Castellane.  Chinese and Japanese noodle shop.  Casual, bright, modern room.  Mon-Sat 11:30am-3:30pm, 5:30-10:30pm.  Appetizers @€4.10, Soup and wok noodle dishes @€11.40, desserts @€5.30.       
  • O’Ginko: #17 Rue de Castellane.  Japanese cuisine, including full menu of cooked dishes, plus sushi and sashimi, served in set menus including soup, salad and choice of main, as well as a la carte.   Modern room.  Daily 11am-3:30pm, 6:30-11pm.  Menu prices @€13-22, a la carte appetizers @€5, sushi rolls @€8.5.
  • Les Caprices de Charlotte: #14 Rue de Castellane at Rue de l’Arcade.  Patisserie with pastries, baguette sandwiches, quiche, coffee and tea.  Counter service. Seating for about 20 in casual modern space.  Mon-Sat 7am-8pm. Moderate prices.
  • Le Boutiques des Vins: #31/33 Rue de l’Arcade (actually inside Passage Puteaux). Wine bar serving French cuisine, including a small plates menu, plus many wines by the glass at reasonable prices.  Traditional room and seating along the covered passage. Mon-Fri Noon-3pm, 6-11:30pm.  Lunch prix fixe @€24.

Ready to stroll?
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Stroll Map

Ready to stroll?
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