A little history of Madeleine church in Aix-en-Provence
The Madeleine church
The first Gothic church dedicated to Virgin Mary was raised before the 13th century, by Dominican monks who came in Aix in 1218 and founded a monastery.
Misfortunes arrived: a fire in 1383, an earthquake in 1433... The second church was raised in the beginning of the 15th century, consecrated by archbishop of Aix in 1452 and dedicated to Notre-Dame-de-la-Pitié. In 1485, half of the vault collapsed.
The third church dates back to 1676, when cardinal Grimaldi laid down the first stone. Inaugurated in 1703, the new church became a temple in 1802. Finally, the last church was raised in the middle of the 19th century...
The Renaissance façade dates back to the 19th century, by the way. Look! Above the entrance, a carved scene represents Jesus in Bethany house.
The book Les Rues d'Aix by Roux-Alphéran tells the true story of the Lady in Black, a woman who used to wander around the church like a lost soul, dressed in black, bare feet.
She used to pray here all day long and cried... a veil hid her face, we didn't know who she was. The book supposed she was a noble lady who came in the church to expiate faults...
Another story, about demonic priest Louis Gauffridy: in 1611, he was stripped of his rank in the church’s sacristy! Then they burnt him on a stake on place des Prêcheurs, in Aix...