A little history of Madeleine church in Aix-en-Provence

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The church - ©Georges Seguin (Okki) / CC-BY-SA The church - ©Georges Seguin (Okki) / CC-BY-SA
La Madeleine church in Aix-en-Provence Parish church Louis Gauffridy Legend Sorcery

The Madeleine

Before the current church, several buildings succeeded one another. 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 that they occupied until the Revolution.

Misfortunes arrived: a fire in 1383, an earthquake in 1433... Now here's the second church 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 during the Revolution in 1802, they dedicated it to Mary-Magdalene. 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. Inside, the cult of Our-Lady-of-Grace is very important: it’s a Virgin Mary's statue worshipped in Aix since 1274, when saint Bonaventure gave it to Aix Cordeliers monks.

Those one offered it to the church of la Madeleine in 1791. People often prayed her in case of dryness! And for horse’s accident, sick children...

News story

The book Les Rues d'Aix by Roux-Alphéran tells the true story of the Lady in Black, a woman who wandered around the church like a lost soul, dressed in black, bared feet, and who finally entered the church.

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 some faults...

Another story, about the demonic priest Louis Gauffridy: in 1611, he was stripped of his rank in the church’s sacristy, just before they burnt him on a stake on the place des Prêcheurs, in Aix...


And also!