I love the museums of Paris … and the rest of France, but I don’t need them. Down this path and around that corner, I find one visual feast after another – a charming door, a flower-covered trellis, a stunning window, the ever-enticing Seine.
And real works of art adorn so many buildings! After an enjoyable Sunday brunch at a friend’s apartment in the 16th arrondissement, we wandered around the corner for an incredible visual treat – Le Castel Béranger, an apartment building designed by Hector Guimard. While the architect’s fanciful wrought iron designs accent many of the building’s features, this front entrance demonstrates his distinct, swirling designs.
Largely considered the father of the French Art Nouveau architectural movement, Guimard designed the pioneering ornate entrances to Paris Metro stations. Only 86 of the original 180 wrought iron signs remain and are being restored with care.
After rampant modernization in the 1960’s and early 70’s eliminated many of the nouveau signs, all of Guimard’s entrances were declared historic monuments in 1978. We can now look forward to seeing the renewed Metro signs throughout Paris and feel a sense of gratitude for the wisdom of those who recognized and redeemed these historic structures.
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