If you’re seeking breathtaking architecture, inspirational art, innovative fashion, delicious food or even passionate love you’ll find all that in the heart of France – Paris. The city of Paris is, rather deserving, the global capital of art, gastronomy, fashion and culture. The city is a center of global fashion, erupting with art and culture and pioneering newer ideologies in all departments. This capital city has rich history and culture that shape today’s Paris and is widely known through the ages for featuring inventive styles of art and architecture. Historically, Paris is the birthplace of Gothic architecture which was later widely accepted and appreciated around the world. Along with Gothic architecture, French Renaissance, Classical Revival, Belle Époque, Art Nouveau and many other architecture styles are rooted in Paris and the city beautifully showcases some prime examples of these celebrated styles.
Paris has always inspired new architecture styles throughout history. From The Middle Ages to 21st Century, Paris has exuded significant styles of architecture. The rich history of the city has dictated a lot of these styles of architecture. Before the Middle Ages there were remnants of romanesque churches in and around Paris that were later restored and transformed into Gothic Churches. During the Middle Ages, Gothic style of architecture was first seen in Paris. Churches were designed based on this style exhibiting key elements of elaborate decoration, rose windows, buttresses and pinnacles. Notre-Dame de Paris is a very monumental example of Gothic religious architecture that was constructed during this time period. A lot of religious architecture that followed was loosely based on the planning of this church. The architecture of Paris was essentially designed to protect and thus walls and large castles were built. A large castle, The Louvre was built during this period.
During the Renaissance, Italian architects were brought in to add a splash of Italian Renaissance architecture. Thus giving birth to a form of architecture distinct on its own – French Renaissance. Elements from Italian Renaissance adapted and a new style was formed around the city. The architecture of Paris was essentially designed to protect and thus walls and large castles were built. The Louvre was transformed into a Renaissance Palace. Churches that were predominantly Gothic in their style, now adopted elements from Italian Renaissance.
During the 17th Century, more and more influence from the then prevalent Italian architecture began to pour in, thus generating Baroque style of architecture. Baroque style exhibited more opulent and irregular elements of design. This style gradually transformed into a more aligned Classical style. Less ornate and less opulent, Classical-ism proved the more logical financial decision. Around the same time, due to shortage of money, there was shift from more ornate styles of architecture to ones with lesser grandiose. However, the religious architecture was unaffected and continued to follow the famous Gothic style of the city. The Italian renaissance brought the Dome with it. The city of Paris started being peppered with domes. This greatly shaped the skyline of the city as more and more iconic domes erupted around the city.
Neo gothic, Neo Classical, Neo Byzantine and Eclectic Styles of architecture also left their mark in the history of Paris’ architectural styles. After the World War, Modernism found its roots in the city. Modern Paris had presidents who built iconic, contemporary architecture landmarks during their term. Renzo Piano’s Pompidou Centre and I.M. Pei’s Louvre Museum are examples of such iconic structures. Today, Paris is not aligned to one particular form of architecture but beautifully displays relics of a history of evolution of architectural styles.
An iconic Gothic church from the medieval ages, the Notre-Dame Cathedral is the most visited place in the city of Paris. The largest art museum in the world, The Louvre is another iconic attraction in the city making it the most visited art museum in the world. Centre Pompidou is another attraction in Paris that displays Post-modern, metal architecture by Renzo Piano. Basilique du Sacré-Cœur, the Eiffel Tower, and the Arc de Triomphe are some of the very famous monuments of Paris. Historical sites like The Palace of Versailles, Les Invalides, where the tomb of Napoleon lies are also very popular with tourists and enthusiasts.
The aligned streets and balconies, the uniform facades of buildings in Paris along with some of the busiest and significant avenues in the city are a result of the city’s remodelling undertaken by Haussmann in the 19th Century. Haussmann was entrusted by Napoleon to undertake the remodeling of the city of Paris and to make his vision of the city into reality. Together they devised a model for Paris that would essentially aid the trade and commerce, widen the streets and improve the sanitation conditions of the city. Pre-Haussmann Paris had narrow streets with open gutters that would breed diseases. One of the major problems Paris faced during the 19th Century was over population, resulting in a strain on the city’s limits. Napoleon and Haussmann envisioned a plan for Paris not only to widen the streets and construct sewers but also to make the facades of the city’s buildings uniform and organized. Wider streets meant a scope to build higher and this in turn meant more houses. These buildings were commercial on the ground floor and residential on the upper floors. A lot of modern day mixed use buildings follow the same principles. Napoleon loved the neoclassical style and all the facades were designed with neoclassical elements which is still prevalent in modern day Paris. The sewer system before Haussmann’s revival failed to segregate waste and drinking water leading to communicable diseases. Haussmann’s revival of the city employed techniques made possible by the Industrial Revolution to construct sewers that segregated waste and drinking water.
It is common knowledge that Paris is a city bursting with rich art and culture that is beautifully represented in Parisian art, fashion, food, theatre, sculptures and architecture. But like every culturally rich city, it is a product of years of changes and improvements. The architecture and urbanization alone has seen some of history’s most significant changes and revivals. The city of Paris is definitely a treat for anyone wishing to study the architecture art history and evolution of the styles of architecture.
An Arch Attire Production with France Tourism Development Agency in India.
Travel Partner :FTDAI| Story : Ar. Swati Sharma