31.1.13

The Philippe-Auguste Wall again



I have several times already talked about the Philippe-Auguste Wall, constructed between 1190 and 1210 around what then was more or less Paris, with some 50.000 inhabitants, plus perhaps about the same number of students in the newly started university activities. You can still find a surprising number of relics left of this wall, which basically was destructed during the latter part of the 16th century. You can read about some of the places where the wall can still more or less be seen here, here, here, here and here.

I had recently the opportunity to visit another left piece of the wall, situated under a post office, Rue Cardinal Lemoine. It was discovered when the building, housing the post office, was to be constructed in 1992 … and was saved.


It’s actually an opening in the wall, an arch, which allowed a deviation of the Bièvre River* to pass (the natural river normally reached the Seine River close to where now the Gare d’Austerlitz is situated), a canal which was created in 1151 and which reached the Seine just in front of Notre Dame (of which the construction actually started only a few years later, in 1163).

It seems that the latter part of the canal was abandoned, when a new canal deviation was created in 1370. I have tried to draw more or less where the Bièvre and its deviations used to pass -and the little red cercle inicates where the arch for the passage was - is - situated.


On the below plan from the 16th century, we can see that the canal is not any more visible in its latter part, only the 1370 deviation. The red cercle shows again where the arch was - is - situated. ... and we can see the wall, which had not yet been demolished.


Today the Bièvre River still floods, but it’s completely covered (it was stinking) and is never visible inside Paris. But, the wall can still partly be found. On the below plan, you can see which places I have so far visited and showed, but there are a few more, sometimes behind closed doors and gates. I may revert… 

*/ "Bièvre" refers to beavers, of which the little river was full. 

12 comments:

Olivier said...

ca fait parti des secrets de Paris, il fallait le trouver

hpy said...

Je réitère ce qu'Olivier a dit.

claude said...

Les secrets ou les mystères.
C'est toujours très intéressants quand on passe ici, Peter.

Synne said...

I love your posts about this old treasure, and I think it's so cool that parts of it just keep popping up! I regularly pass by that post office on my way home from university - now I'll think about this fun fact every time!

Cezar and Léia said...

I agree, it's a treasure and you explain with details in your posts, always great articles with lots of information.I guess I need to walk more next time in Paris! :)
hugs
Léia

Thirtytwo degrees said...

I like the way that you have shown the circle that the wall made which shows how Paris has grown since that time period. It intrigues me that it is built just prior to the time of Genghis Khan...that era anyway...
You have captivated my interest in this wall now.

Starman said...

Isn't part of the wall visible in the Louvre? I thought I saw it there.

Peter Olson said...

Starman: To my knowledge, what you can see under the Louvre, are the foundations of the old fortress ... and a bit further to the west, a piece of the Charles V wall, constructed some 160-170 years later. The Philippe Auguste wall reached exactly the old Louvre fortress which somehow was part of it.

M said...

Fascinating, as always!

Thérèse said...

C'est fabuleux de pouvoir retrouver tous ces bouts et surtout de pouvoir les lier ensemble... et tes explications permettent de clarifier l'ensemble.

ALAIN said...

La plupart des parisiens apprirent l'existence de la Bièvre en 1981, quand François Mitterand fut élu président de la république, car il avait sa résidence privée rue de Bièvre et celle-ci fut barrée à la circulation. Un peu plus tard, c'est le nom d'une rue située un peu plus loin sur l'enceinte de Philippe Auguste qui défraya la chronique : la rue Mazarine.

Jeanie said...

One of the things I love most about Paris, Europe, really, is that they save things -- the past matters. Thanks, Peter, for adding to your earlier posts!