Explore the classical Architecture of Porte Saint Denis

Paris is a city full of surprises and never fails to deliver the best. No matter how many times you visit here, there is always something new to discover. There are many examples for the beauty of France just like the breathtaking Porte Saint –Denis on the Boulevard de Bonne Nouvelle in the 10th disfranchisement.

Basically Porte Saint-Denis was built on the orders of Loius XIV in 1672 to celebrate his military victories. It was designed by architect Francois Blondel and the sculptor Michel Anguier it commemorates the King’s victories on the Rhine and in Franche-Comte and was inspired by the Arch of Titus in Rome. It replaced a medieval gate in the walls of Paris that had been there since the 14th century, built by Charles V.

The enormous monument of Port Saint-Denis certainly rivals the Arc de Triumph in beauty and in fact it was the inspiration for Napolean’s arch at I’Etoile, built in 1836.

Porte Saint-Denis: a fragment of History

Porte Saint-Denis stands 60 meters away from the site of a former medieval gate that bores the same name. This gate was part of the Charles V city walls built in 14th century all around Paris. By the 17th century, the city expanded greatly and Charles V walls were replaces by a tax wall. Other than this the flat top of rampart was converted into a verdant promenade called boulevard. The fortified gates were dismantled and replaced by triumphal arches.

An aristocratic entrance to Paris

This Porte Saint-Denis was the gate where the kings of France would pass through on their return to Paris from religious services at the Saint-Denis basilica. The last sovereign to pass through the triumphal arch was Queen Victoria on her visit to the 1885 Universal Exhibition in Paris.

The grisly June days uprising at the gate

This gate was the site of a bloody insurrection during the June Days uprising. Workers threw up a barricade by the gate, blocking communication and reducing the mobility of persons. The National Guard commanded by General Louis Eugene Cavaignac was called out to put an end to the riot, on the 23rd June 1848.

Description of the Gate

This arch of Porte Saint-Denis is 24.65 meters wide, 25 meters high and 5 meters deep. It was inspired by none other than the Arch of Titus of Rome. The gate is incised by a large central arch. When it was completed, it had two smaller flanking openings for pedestrians that have since been closed off.

The base of the arch

The base of this monument is a Latin inscription which indicates that within 60 days, Louis XIV crossed the Rhine, the Waal, The Meuse and the Elbe Rivers, conquered 3 provinces, captured 40 strongholds and took the city of Utretch in 13 days.

The pillar flanking the large arch

At the left and right of the opening there are two pillars applied to the wall. They are filled with sculptural groups of trophies of arms.

At the bottom of this pillars are two seated figures.

·  The one of the right hand is a man representing the defeated Rhine.

·  The one of the left is a woman in dismay representing the Dutch Republic.  

Both these pillars are topped with the gilded coat of arms of the king of France: three fleurs-de-lis and a crown.

The bas-reliefs above the large arch

Notice the bas-reliefs in a sunken panel just above the large arch. The sculptural groups were created by Michel Anguier. 


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