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Medieval Paris: 1100s-1500s

Posted by Malindi Pender on June 14, 2018
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Before the 19th century, Paris was a swampy city overran by disease, an overgrowing population, crowded streets and a lack of green space. During the medieval period, people’s homes were made mostly through ravishing parts of Roman walls due to their stability. During those years (pre-1530) the most statuesque buildings were religious and made to last through turbulent times and weather. These buildings were often made of stone and inspired by the Roman empire. There are still traces of both Roman and Gothic architecture in Paris. To see Roman architecture, you can visit the Abby Saint Germain Des Pres. For Gothic architecture, visit Cathedral Notre Dame.  

Medieval architecture was generally built for protection. Most of Paris was surrounded by walls in the medieval period. King Philip II ordered a wall to be built around various parts of the city (left and right bank) in the early 1200s. Some of this wall is still present in the Marais, where King Philip lived. The streets were narrow and used for waste to be discarded. To further protect their homes from scraping or outside damage, homeowners barricaded themselves with shelters and stone blocks in front of their homes. There were three, four and five story homes each with a small ground floor, residential floors in the middle and then a small top floor.  The more popular the street (ex: Rue Saint Honore) the higher the houses and the wider the sidewalks were. What is left of this period includes: Hotel de Sens, Hotel de Cluny and the oldest house in Paris which is located at 51 Rue Montmorency. Another Medieval replica stands in the Marais at 3 Rue Volta, however, it is now a Chinese restaurant.