Saturday, 2 April 2011

La Chapelle de la Compassion - X marks the spot?

The Chapelle de la Compassion at Porte Maillot is curiously positioned between a coach park, the périphérique motorway and a busy roundabout, but the story as to how it found itself here is more curious still.

In 1842, the Prince Ferdinand-Philippe d'Orleans was killed in an accident near this spot, falling from his carriage after his horses had bolted. It was decided that a chapel should be built on the exact place of his death, a shop called the Epicerie Cordier where he was taken immediately following the accident. The chapel in the shape of a Greek cross, originally known as the Chapelle Saint Ferdinand, was built on this plot, but it's not clear what happened to the shopkeeper and his store!

However, although the chapel we see today is the original building, it has now moved around 100 metres from the position in which it was initially situated. When work began on the large-scale developments in this area in the 1960s - the motorway, the underground passageways, the Palais de Congrès, it was found to be particularly poorly situated. With the French Royal family having limited importance, its move a little to the North met with almost no opposition.

This building in the shape of a cross therefore still marks a spot, but not the one it was originally designed for!

8 comments:

Owen said...

Hi Adam, what a crazy story, I'd never heard of or seen this chapel before. An infinity of places to discover in Paris.

Hope all is well with you... I've been going quietly crazy lately, never a dull moment. Good to be getting out in warmer weather, no ?

Take care, a fine Sunday to you...

Paredes said...

magnifico!!!

Theresa Cheek said...

Something new to put on my "Paris" list! I love the story behind the architecture.

Peter said...

Well, as I have also posted about, I can only confirm! :-)

Kiki said...

how fascinating! Adam; I so much appreciate your stories and facts - a Paris well worth knowing and yet totally 'invisible'... thank you!

Philippa said...

Great post, as always!

The French seem a tad careless about royal monuments. Have you ever noticed that the statue of Marie Antoinette in St-Denis shows her in early 19th garb, not the 18th century clothes she actually wore in her lifetime? She looks more like Josephine, but I guess historical accuracy was not a priority.

landscapelover said...

Adam, I was stuck in traffic at Porte Maillot today and noticed this little chapel for the first time. It is so incongruous among all that concrete development. But at least the French decided to keep it, albeit in a different place - I suspect in 1960s Britain a curio like this would just have been demolished.
Thanks for posting - it was great to stumble across the building having just learnt about its unusual history on your blog.

cell phone accessories wholesale said...

I wished to visit this chapel if this really exists. Nice knowing the story and the history of the church. The outside view is terrific; eventually has one of a kind design.

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