Although the original church that was here survived the royal fire of 1731, it apparently wasn't befitting the new Place Royale. Construction on the new Saint Jacques sur Coudenberg began in 1776; during the French Revolution it was transformed from a church into a Temple of Reason and Law, if only for a short time. In 1831 Prince Leopold became H.M. Leopold I, the first King of the Belgians, on the steps of this church, making it an important site in the story of Belgian independence. The stern neoclassical design of the building is tempered by a colored fresco adorning the front facade, and the addition of the bell tower in the 19th century.
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