Top Ten Essential Architecture top ten Paris Utilities  
     
  For a more complete list, see Paris Main List  
1 Paris Metro  
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architect

Hector Guimard

location

all over Paris

date

1899 to 1905

style

Art Nouveau 

construction

steel and glass 

type

Utility subway entrances

Constructed like the Crystal Palace out of interchangeable, prefabricated cast iron and glass parts, Guimard created his métro system in opposition to the ruling taste of French classical culture...Guimard's system flourished, emerging overnight like the manifestation of some organic force, its sinuous green cast-iron tentacles erupting from the subterranean labyrinth to support a variety of barriers, pergolas, maps, hooded light fittings and glazed canopies. These surrealistic 'dragonfly's wings'—to quote a contemporary critic—received a mixed, not to say chauvinistic, press, the verdigris colour of their iron supports being regarded as German rather than French. This imaginative attempt to render the Orphic myth in modern terms was to be complemented later by the astringent technical forms of the elevated section of the métro, built to the designs of the architect Jean Camille-Formigé and the engineer Louis Biette.
 
     
2 Rotonde de la Villette  
Barriere de la Villette.jpg (102870 bytes)

architect

Claude Nicolas Ledoux

location

Paris, France

date

1770

style

NeoClassical

construction

cut stone

type

Toll gate- one of about 60 (mostly demolished) elaborate toll gates on the Wall of the Farmers-General around Paris.

The Canal St-Martin goes underground again at the place de la Bataille de Stalingrad, dominated by the Neoclassical Rotonde de la Villette, with portico and pediments surmounted by a rotunda. This was one of the toll houses designed by the architect Ledoux as part of Louis XVI's scheme to tax all goods entering the city. At that time, every road out of the city had a customs post, or barrière, linked by a six-metre-high wall, known as "Le Mur des Fermiers-Généraux" – a major irritant in the run-up to the French Revolution. Backing the toll house is an elegant aerial stretch of métro, supported by Neoclassical iron and stone pillars.
 
     
3 Gare de l’Est  

architect

François Duquesney

location

Paris, France. (in the Xe arrondissement, not far from the Gare du Nord, facing the boulevard de Strasbourg)

date

1849

style

Romanesque Revival main body, Neo-Renaissance wings

construction

stone facade, steel and glass train shed

type

Utility Transport Railway station

The Gare de l'Est ("East station" in English) is one of the six large SNCF termini in Paris. It is in the Xe arrondissement, not far from the Gare du Nord, facing the boulevard de Strasbourg, part of the north-south axis of Paris created by Baron Haussmann. It is one of the largest and the oldest railway stations in Paris.
 
     
4 Gare du Nord  

architect

Jacques Ignace Hittorff

location

Paris, France.

date

1865

style

Beaux-Arts

construction

stone facade, steel and glass train shed

type

Utility Transport Railway station

The Gare du Nord ("north station") is one of the six large terminus stations of the SNCF's main line network in Paris. It offers connections with several urban transportation lines (Paris Métro and RER). By number of travellers (around 180 million per year), it is the busiest station in Europe, and the third-busiest railway station in the world. The railway station serves trains to the north of France, as well as various international destinations such as the United Kingdom, Belgium and The Netherlands
 
     
5 Gare d'Austerlitz  

architect

Pierre-Louis Renaud

location

Paris, France.

date

1840, 1865-1868 extension.

style

Beaux-Arts

construction

stone facade, steel and glass train shed

type

Utility Transport Railway station

The Gare d'Austerlitz (Austerlitz Station) is one of the six large terminus railway station in Paris. It is situated on the left bank of the Seine in the southeastern part of the city, in the XIIIe arrondissement. It is the origin for the Paris-Bordeaux and Paris-Toulouse main lines, but since the introduction of the TGV Atlantique — served by the Gare Montparnasse — Austerlitz has lost most of its long-distance southwestern services. It is used by some 25 million passengers annually, about half the number passing through Montparnasse.
 
     
6 Gare de Lyon  

architect

 

location

Paris, France.

date

1900

style

Art Nouveau 

construction

stone facade, steel and glass train shed

type

Utility Transport Railway station

The Gare de Lyon is one of the six large railway terminus in Paris, France. It is named after the city of Lyon, a stop for many long-distance trains departing here, most en route to the south of France. In general the station's SNCF services run to the south and east of France. The station also hosts regional trains and the RER. It is served by the Gare de Lyon metro station.

The station was built for the World Exposition of 1900. On multiple levels, it is considered a classic example of the architecture of its time. Most notable is the large clock tower atop one corner of the station, similar in style to the clock tower of the UK Houses of Parliament, home to Big Ben.
 
     
7 Gare Saint-Lazare  

architect

 

location

Paris, France.

date

1854

style

Second Empire

construction

stone facade, steel and glass train shed

type

Utility Transport Railway station

Gare Saint Lazare is one of the six large terminus train stations of Paris. It is the second busiest behind the Gare du Nord, and serves several lines to Normandie.
The Gare Saint-Lazare has been represented in a number of artworks. It attracted artists during the Impressionist period and many of them lived very close to the Gare St-Lazare during the 1870s and 1880s.
 
     
8 Gare Montparnasse  

architect

 

location

Paris, France.

date

original 1840, second 1848, latest 1969.

style

Beaux-Arts

construction

stone facade, steel and glass train shed

type

Utility Transport Railway station

The Gare Montparnasse is one of the six large terminus train stations of Paris, located in the Montparnasse area, in the XVe arrondissement.

The station is used for the intercity TGV trains to destinations in the west and south-west of France including Tours, Bordeaux, Rennes and Nantes. Additionally, it is served by several suburban and regional services on the Transilien Paris – Montparnasse routes. There is also a metro station, and a high-speed moving sidewalk.
 
     
9 Usine Electrique de la Compagnie Parisienne d’Air Comprimé  

architect

Paul Friesé

location

132 Quai de Jemmapes, 10th.

date

1896

style

Victorian Industrial

construction

brick cladding, steel frame

type

Utility

The 10th is perfect for admiring the 19th-century’s architectural shift into iron and glass construction. Huge iron beams were first used in train station architecture. The exposed iron had a machine-made, purpose-filled look which expressed the concept of progress put forward by the Industrial Revolution. Builders took advantage of the beams’ flexibility and strength to create radical innovations in construction. Architect Baltard used the metal structure of the train shed as inspiration for his famous market buildings in Les Halles.
 
     
10 Airship Hangers  
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architect

Eugène Freyssinet

location

Orly, near Paris, France

date

1916 to 1923

style

Early Modern

construction

thin-shell reinforced concrete parabolic shells 

type

aircraft hangers, airship hangers

The airship hangers at Orly, France were built by Eugene Freyssinet between 1921-1923.The program which Freyssinet needed to follow stipulated that a sphere with a radius of 25 meters had to fit, unobstructed, within the hangar. The buildings dimensions were carefully determined so that they could house the airships without much extra space resulting in unneccesary additional costs and building stresses. The hangars were destroyed in WWII by American aircraft. 
 
     
11 The Machine Hall  

architect

Contamin and Dutert 

location

Paris, France

date

1889, demolished in 1910. 

style

Early Modern

construction

427 m (1400 ft) long, 45 m (150 ft) high, with spans of 114 m (375 ft). Completely glazed. 

type

Exhibition hall

Built for the 1889 International Exhibition, Paris, the centenary celebration of the French Revolution (as was the Eiffel Tower) and demolished in 1910. 
The machine hall at a Paris exhibition in 1889 was designed by Ferdinand Dutert. The arches of steel girders and glass panels enclosed a vast amount of space used for a machinery exhibit.