The Wall of Philippe Auguste in Paris!!!

A while back I did a long post…on medieval Paris! As I am an amateur of architecture and history, and lucky to have travel plenty already I figure it would be interesting to post it. Thanks to you all , it was well received. I, looking at my vault of pictures saw one on an street of rue Clovis and motivated me to write this one. After all, Paris is today thanks to these old pioneers who designed and treated Paris like it is, the most beautiful city in the world!!  Therefore, let me tell you another long post on the Wall of Philippe Auguste in Paris !!!

The rue Clovis , a street in the 5éme arrondissement  or district of Paris located mostly in the Sorbonne quartier or neighborhood. This road connects the Place du Pantheon and the rue du Cardinal-Lemoine located mostly in the Sorbonne but, also the Saint-Victor neighborhoods or quartiers. The breakthrough of the road in the 19C requires the demolition of the Church Abbey Sainte-Geneviève, of which only the bell tower known as the Tour Clovis or Clovis tower  remains in the premises of the Lycée Henri -IV, (a high school) located at No. 23 rue Clovis  Near the 5-7 rue du Cardinal-Lemoine, remains a remnant of the wall of Philippe Auguste. The street owes its name to King Clovis I of the Franks. During these works, the rue Clotilde was also created, named after Clotilde, the wife of Clovis, on the back side of the Pantheon. On or near rue Clovis ,you can see the Lycée Henri-IV and its main entrance at no 23 rue Clovis. The Church of Saint-Étienne-du-Mont (see post) that the street runs along. The presbytery of the church ,the former hotel of Louis d’Orléans dit le Pieux. Near rue du Cardinal-Lemoine, at nos 5-7, remains a remnant of Philippe Auguste’s surrounding wall, which was restored in 2010. See picture.

paris rue clovis old wall philippe auguste feb14

I like to go into a condense story of the  Wall of Philippe Auguste trying to mention current spots only. Bear with me, it is long…..

Over the centuries, the city of Paris was surrounded by seven successive enclosures, punctuating and thus promoting its expansion. These enclosures, which took the appearance of real walls in the city, acted as a system of fortification in times of war and more generally made it possible to delimit the urban heart of the capital.  The construction of the enclosure takes place in the context of the struggles between Philip Augustus and the English Plantagenet dynasty. In order to protect Paris from possible attacks,  the King of France, before leaving for the Third Crusade, ordered the construction of a stone wall to protect the capital in his absence.  The right bank was fortified first, from 1190 to 1209, then the left bank, from 1200 to 1215. Philippe Auguste’s enclosure encompassed an area of ​​253 hectares and was 2,500 meters long on the left bank and 2,600 meters long on the right bank.

Despite the construction in the 14C of the enclosure of Charles V including that of Philippe Auguste on the right bank, the latter was not demolished. However, the enclosure of Charles V concerned only the right bank. The left bank, always much less populated, had to be content with the old enclosure of Philippe Auguste until the 16C.  On the right bank, François I had the gates demolished in 1533 and authorized the rental of the grounds of the enclosure without authorize its demolition. From the second half of the 16C,  these lands were sold to individuals, often causing the dismantling of large portions of the wall. The wall on the left bank side underwent the same evolution under Henry IV; in 1590, it was preferred to dig ditches beyond the outskirts of the city rather than to modernize the enclosure again.

This new enclosure, which was almost round and of which the City was the center, contained 739 arpents and enclosed in Paris several boroughs which had been formed. Philippe Auguste’s enclosure crossed the current 1éme, 4éme, 5éme and 6éme arrondissements or districts of Paris. On the right bank, apart from the small section rue des Jardins-Saint-Paul, its layout has completely disappeared.  On the left bank, its layout can be deduced from that of the streets which run along it on the outside. There were eight gates and the wall began on the other side of the Seine.  Entirely crenellated, and equipped with a walkway along its entire length, the rampart measured 6-8 meters in height, even 9 including the parapet, for a thickness of 4-6 meters at the base. the wall had a walkway about 2 meters wide and battlements. It was accessed by ladders leaning against the wall or by the stairs of the gates.

It was flanked by 77 semi-cylindrical towers that did not project into the interior of the city and were integrated into the curtain wall every 60 meters (39 on the right bank, 38 on the left bank). They were about 6 meters in diameter including the one meter thick walls. Their height reached about 15 meters. Each of the towers had 3 floors. Four strong towers 25 meters high and 10 meters in diameter located at the junction of the enclosure with the Seine made it possible to control river navigation.  During the construction of the enclosure, 11 main gates were fitted out. Four other main gates and many posterns were added to cope with the growth of the city. The main gates were flanked by sloping base towers 15 meters high and 8 meters in diameter.  Originally, the left bank had only five gates opening the city onto the main traffic axes which joined the Paris of that time.  Additional openings were then made , thus 3 other posterns were added on the left bank, from West to East . Additional openings were then made at the end of the 13C.  The right bank was accessible by six main gates when the enclosure was built. In addition, two posterns complete the list. During the 13C other posterns were added; on the right bank, from west to east.

The enclosure or rather I call it, the wall of Philippe Auguste has become almost invisible since the 17C, the remains are often difficult to spot. A large part of them are located on private property, not accessible to the public. However, I will give where to find them thanks to my library, tourist and city of Paris, and wikipedia as I have done my homework, and walked it. Enjoy it as I

In the 1éme arrondissement ,can be seen at 7, 9 rue du Jour, 62 rue Jean-Jacques-Rousseau, 21, 23 rue du Jour, 70 rue Jean-Jacques-Rousseau, 11, 13 rue du Louvre, 20 rue Jean-Jacques-Rousseau ;  from 9 rue du Louvre, it is possible to see the back of a tower, as well as its base at  metro line 14, and 146, 148, 150 rue Saint-Honoré.

2éme arrondissement , can be seen at 16 rue Étienne-Marcel, 15 rue Tiquetonne,  and 20 rue Étienne-Marcel

3éme arrondissement, can be seen at 69, 71 rue du Temple; nearby the route is still visible on the map of the district or through architectural curiosities such as the blind facade of the courtyard of the Hôtel de Saint-Aignan at no 71 rue du Temple.

4éme arrondissement, can be seen at 15 rue de l’Ave-Maria, 9 to 15 rue Charlemagne, 17, 19, 21 rue des Jardins-Saint-Paul by the corner of rue Charlemagne and rue des Jardins-Saint-Paul is visible the most long portion preserved ,about 60 meters. You can see a quarter of Montgommery Tower, named after the captain of Henry II’s Scottish Guard who is believed to have been imprisoned there after accidentally killing the king during a joust. This tower was to be flanked by another in order to defend the Saint-Paul postern. In the middle of the sports field is another restored tower. A 7 meters high curtain wall connects the two towers.  7 rue de Sévigné: former Hôtel d’Evreux (which also occupied no 9) then Hôtel Poulletier or Hôtel de Chavigny; in the cellars of No. 7, remains of a tower from the enclosure of Philippe Auguste; today fire station. 57, 59 rue des Francs-Bourgeois,  at the level of the narrow entrance located between numbers 57 and 59 overlooking the courtyard of the Crédit municipal de Paris, it is possible to see from the public road a brick tower dating from the 19C whose basis is medieval. Two lines drawn in the paving of the courtyard mark the location of the curtain wall, which has since been razed. A plaque appearing on the premises of the Crédit Municipal takes up the layout of this former enclosure. Nos 8, 10, 14, 16 rue des Rosiers; remains visible in the Jardin de Rosiers – Joseph-Migneret.

5éme arrondissement, can be seen at 9, 11 rue d’Arras, 38, 40, 42 rue du Cardinal-Lemoine, 23, 25, 27 rue d’Arras (now rue Jacques-Henri-Lartigue), 48, 50 rue du Cardinal-Lemoine , 17, 19 rue du Cardinal-Lemoine, 28 rue des Fossés-Saint-Bernard, 30 bis rue du Cardinal-Lemoine, under the Jussieu post office; remains of the arch that allowed the Bièvre river to cross the enclosure of Philippe-Auguste to enter the city. 45, 47 rue Descartes, 4 rue Thouin, 60 to 68 rue du Cardinal-Lemoine, rue Clovis (see above), between 1 and 5 rue Clovis, one of the best preserved parts of the curtain wall is visible. However, the part where the original walkway is passable, inserted into private properties, is not accessible to the public. Remains are also visible at numbers 10, 12 and 16 rue Thouin. An indirect vestige also remains at no 7 bis boulevard Saint-Germain,  a very narrow building built between two buildings of more traditional invoice on the site of the old enclosure.

6éme arrondissement, can be seen at Cour du Commerce-Saint-André, Cour de Rohan, 11 quai de Conti; 34 rue Dauphine, passage Dauphine, 35 rue Mazarine; 13 rue de Nesle, impasse de Nevers, and 27, 29 rue Guénégaud.

The city of Paris on the wall of Philippe Auguste

The city of Paris going out guide on the wall of Philippe Auguste

The Paris tourist office on medieval Paris

There you go folks, Paris will amaze you still of its wonders. The walk around these streets is wonderful and additional architecture and history booth for me and surely will be for you . Hope you enjoy this long post on the wall of Philippe Auguste in Paris!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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