Iperiago note :
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Famous for being surrounded by luxury shops (clothes and food, mostly), the Place de la Madeleine was formed in 1815.
The central church, of neoclassical style, was build from the end of the XVIIIth century to the beginning of the next, over a period of 85 years. Napoléon 1er thought of making it a masonic temple, then the building was nearly transformed into a train station, before finally becoming a church in 1845. Architect Pierre-Alexandre Vignon made the exterior a replica of the the Olympieion in Athens. There are 52 outside columns, one per year of Napoléon's life.
The Paris Pinacothèque (a private and quality exhibition gallery) is also located at the Place de la Madeleine, as is the famous Senderens restaurant, formerly known as the Lucas-Carton.
On a side note, there was public toilets at the Madeleine, located at the entrance of the des Capucines boulevard, and they were maybe the most beautiful toilets in Paris - some even saw them as a tourist attraction ! Well, they're closed now (since late 2011).