Amongst every surrounding walls that have been built in Paris, the one constructed by King Philippe-Auguste (1165-1223) is the most ancient which remains are still visible today, although the exact drawing had been supplanted by new plans.
We suggest you below a walk following in the footsteps of the wall built in the rightbank side of paris, between 1190 and 1209. Obviously, these are just remains. But more than an architectural walk, we invite you to imagine while your are walking how was Paris at this time, when the city had not other choice to guard itself against invasion but be surrounded by huge walls.
From the Pont des Arts, at the level of Quai François Mitterand (1st arrondissement) to Pont Marie (4th arrondissement), going by le Louvre, les Halles area and the Marais.
- Start of the walk at the level of the Pont des Arts. Here was the Louvre Tower (King’s residence was still the Conciergerie). The wall was crossing the present Cour Carrée of the Louvre, and was going on rue de l’Oratoire (a vestige of the tower, not visible, is inside the Protestant Church. more informations).
- At the end of rue de l’Oratoire is rue Saint-Honoré. At the n° 148-150 was raised the Saint-Honoré Gate.
- Turn right on rue Saint-Honoré, and turn left onto rue du Louvre. You will see at the n° 11 a well-conserved basis of an ancient tower. Continue straight ahead rue du Louvre. You are going by the Bourse de commerce de Paris (Paris’ Trade Chamber).
- Next, the wall was following the drawing of the present rue du Jour. Take it and go towards rue Montmartre.
- Getting rue Montmartre, turn left. You are on the exact site of the ancient Montmartre Gate. You can by the way see a plate at the n° 30. Continue and turn right rue Etienne Marcel. You are still bordering the inner side of the wall.
- 20 rue Etienne Marcel, stop and have a look to the tower in front of you. Called Tour Jean-Sans-Peur (“Fearless-Jean Tower”), it is the higher medevial remains of Paris, vestige of the old palace of the Ducs de Bourgogne. This tower has been built on the top of a piece of philippe-Auguste Wall. There is so here 2 towers in 1!
- if you want to continue your discovering of the old wall, you have to walk about 10 minutes to see the next one , Beaubourg’s surroundings no housing vestiges anymore. Go straight ahead rue Etienne Marcel. 135 rue Saint-Denis was at that time Saint-Denis Gate, and 199 rue Saint-Martin, Saint-Martin Gate.
- Continue ahead rue aux Ours, then rue du Grenier Saint-Lazare. Getting rue Beaubourg, turn right, and turn left rue Rambuteau. Next vestige is situated 71-73 rue du temple : l’Hôtel Saint-Aignan, that is nowadays the Museum of Judaism Art and History. To see it, you have to enter the museum (so buy a ticket). The wall is on the left side of the courtyard. You can also notice that the part of the building in front of Philippe-Auguste wall is a trompe-l’oeil, made to preserve the homogeneity of the building.
- Then, go as far as the 55 rue des Franc-Bourgeois, at the level of the Crédit Municipal. Enter it and have a look at the pice of tower in the courtyard.
- Finally, to see the last remain of the right bank, go in the heart of the Marais (4th arrondissement) at the level of the Lycée Charlemagne, rue des Jardins Saint-Paul. It is the biggest piece of Philippe-Auguste wall.
End of the walk