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3.2.05

Charles IX's Wall Under the Orangerie

At various periods in its long history, the city of Paris was surrounded by a series of fortified walls. Parts of the wall built by Philippe-Auguste, which originally joined with the fortifications of the old Louvre, are still visible at a few places. A recent article (Le mur de Charles IX a rétréci, January 28) by Anne-Marie Romero for Le Figaro describes the discovery of another of Paris's walls and what happened to it.

It is no longer 41 meters [134.5 feet] of the long wall of Charles IX, discovered under the Musée de l'Orangerie, in Paris, that will be preserved, as promised by Jean-Jacques Aillagon exactly one year ago, but only 19 meters [62.3 feet]. Without a permit for modifying construction, simply by agreement between the leadership of Architecture and the Patrimony and that of the Musées de France. Behind the scenes. Just like the wall of Charles V under the Louvre was mutilated. All that can be said is that archeology truly appears to be an unneeded hassle for the Ministry of Culture. The modification of the project was denounced by Le Canard Enchaîné, in its January 26 edition, which even specifies that only "70 blocks of stone will be put back up" from this magnificent embankment wall of 55 meters, which had been ordered from her son by Catherine de Medici to protect her Château des Tuileries.
The wall was "discovered" last year, when the basement of the Orangerie was being enlarged, although specialists had known of its existence since the 19th century. It was begun by Charles IX and continued by Louis XIII. There were calls to make a special archeological crypt beneath the museum and thus to preserve the wall. The Commission du Vieux Paris recommended that "the greatest care be given to the preservation and treatment of this wall." The national government team says that the Minister's original statement was made without having had all of the information at hand, that the project evolved according to purely technical considerations, obviating the need for a new type of building permit when the plans changed.
However, the article L-421-6 does require a modified permit when the work overlaps with a historical monument, which is the case. Who is wrong? Who is right? Whatever the decision, the wall will cross through one of the basement rooms and will be cut through by a passage 1.4 meters [4.6 feet] wide. One meter [3.3 feet] high for most of its length, it will grow progressively to three meters [9.8 feet] high as it nears the Seine. That at least was not some architect's choice, but quite simply the state in which the wall was uncovered. We will have to be content with that.
The Orangerie is still closed while the renovation is completed.

UPDATE:
I should have known that David Nishimura at Cronaca would already have a handle on this news, but I somehow missed his post from September 2003. Thanks for the link, David!

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