There are so many parts of Paris that are sort of alluded to in guidebooks, but as a first time visitor, there just isn’t time to hit everything. Being overwhelmed by all there is to see and do is understandable and expected. The little journey I am going to send you on isn’t out of the way–it’s something that you might not know to do but can easily fit into your day. The above photo is taken from Place de la Concorde looking down Rue Royale towards Place de la Madeleine which is where you might want to go today.
La Madeleine’s history has created the sense of it being a bit of a lost soul, by what a beautiful one it is. Initially built under the reign of Louis XV, it was meant to be a church modeled after a Roman temple. Clearly, that is what one is reminded of as they come upon this massive structure, surrounded as it is by 52 Corinthian columns. Throughout it’s life, La Madeleine was slated to become a bank, parliament building, theatre, stock exchange and just one more symbol of Napoleon’s conquests, but at the end of the day, it is still a church. A massive square surrounds it which is equally fun to visit as it has become a shopping mecca with Fauchon and Hediard competing for your tastebud’s attention right across the street from one another, while Ralph Lauren, Cerruti, Eres and other designers tempt you with their fashion offerings. It can be a heady day, to say the least. Underground at Metro Madeleine, you’ll find Darty which is the equivilent of Best Buy in the states. It was weird buying my DVD player at a metro station, underground and then haul it back home, but such is life in Paris.
Not to take away from this beautiful building, you first need to pay homage to it’s beauty and history and then participate in all the fun shopping surrounding La Madeleine. A stone’s throw from Place de la Concorde, you really won’t be going too far out of your way!