The building is fifty feet long, twenty in height,
is built in the
Lombard-Gothic style, and resembles an ancient mausoleum.
Opposite the entrance there stands an altar to the Virgin, on the very spot where the duke breathed his last, and over it there is a strikingly beautiful statue of the Virgin and child. Beyond, there is a Descent from, the Cross in marble. On the left, is another altar dedicated to St. Ferdinand, and on the right a marble group, which represents the duke on his death-bed. An angel kneels at his head, as if imploring the Divine Mercy upon the sufferer. It is a fine figure, and is doubly interesting from the fact that the Princess Marie, sister of the duke, with her own hands wrought it, long before he was still in death. Beneath this marble group there is a bas-relief, representing France leaning over, and near, the French flag drooping at her feet. There are four circular windows of stained glass, with St. Raphael, Hope, Faith, and Charity, upon them. There are fourteen pointed windows, stained with the patron saints of the royal family. Behind the altar the very room is preserved in which the duke died—the sacristy of the chapel now. The oaken presses, chairs, and prayer-desk are all clothed in black, giving an air of gloom to the whole apartment. Opposite the entrance there is a large painting by Jacquard, representing the death of the duke. He is lying upon a couch with his head supported by physicians; his father is opposite, apparently stupefied by his deep emotions. On the left is a group, consisting of the queen and Princess Clementine, the Dukes Aumale, and Montpensier, Marshals Soult, Gerard, and the cure of Mery. The picture is a touching one. There is a small apartment detached from the chapel, which was fitted up for the accommodation of the royal family—the family now exiled from the land. In another room there is a clock with a black marble case, on which France is represented as mourning for the death of the duke. The hands of the clock mark ten minutes to twelve, the exact moment when the prince fell; and in another apartment there is a clock with the pointers at ten minutes past four, the moment when he died.
The interior of this chapel impressed me as the saddest I ever was in. Everything in it was in perfect keeping with the sentiment of complete melancholy, though it was rather too luxurious to express deep grief. Sorrow which is poignant, is not expressed in so sensuous a manner. But the chapel is unique; there is nothing else like it in the world, and that is quite a recommendation.
In my enumeration of the splendid churches of Paris, it would never do to omit that of St. Vincent de Paul. It is in the Rue Lafayette, and is now a Protestant church.
The approaches to the building are fine, and the structure forms a parallelogram of two hundred and forty-three feet by one hundred and eighty. At the southern end, there are two large towers with Corinthian pilasters. The church stands upon the brow of a hill, and presents a striking appearance from the streets Lafayette or Hauteville.