This type of architecture is known as the first type of architecture to be replicated throughout Europe. Some of the most impressive buildings in this style are the basilica of SSaint-Denis Notre Dame de Chartres and Notre-Dam de Reims, where French kings were crowned. In addition to these churches, religious palaces were also built, of which the Palais des Papes is a preserved monument.
Like all of Western Europe, except Spain and Portugal, which chose to adopt Moorish architecture, France has also taken Romanesque architecture, a mix of ancient Gothic and Roman architecture. The most critical surviving sign of this style is the Basilica of St. Sernin in Toulouse, the largest Romanesque church in Europe.
Architecture in the Middle Ages
This was the time of the fortified castles where the lords of the country house exercised their authority over their serf subjects. Fortified towns eventually developed and most French castles fell into ruins. Castles like Richard’s Château Gaillard, the Lionheart, the Château de Lusignan, the enormous Château de Vincennes and the Cathar castles were demolished.
After the 100-year war, an era of further architectural transition began, it was the time of the French Renaissance when architects from Italy and Spain added their style to French architecture in a form known as the Baroque style, especially in the Loire Valley. The style flourished especially in the Loire Valley, where impressive residential palaces such as the Château de Chambord, the Châtaeu de Chenonceau and the Châtaeu d’Amboise were built. The architecture also flourished in the secular domain with the manor of Versailles and the dome of Les Invalides.
Architecture after the revolution
Neoclassicism was the main feature of post-revolution France, although the style existed long before the revolution in buildings such as the Parisian Pantheon and the Capitol of Toulouse. The most representative structures of this type can be found in the Arc de Triomphe and Sante Marie-Madeleine.
Under Napoleon III
When Napoleon’s nephew climbed the French throne as Napoleon III during the Second Empire, the country was plagued by a new wave of urban design and renovation. Extravagant buildings called Second Empire architecture, such as the neo-baroque Palais Garnier, began to appear, while Haussmann started the renovation of Paris. At the same time, a revival of the Gothic style looked in Europe and France with the presence of architects such as Eugène Viollet-le-Duc and the famous Gustave Eiffel whose ingenuity created the iconic Eiffel Tower.
A combination of both modern and traditional architectural styles was adopted by French architects from that period, which was illustrated in the pyramid of the Louvre. Because of the unique and diverse types of architectural buildings in the country, but also because of the low profiles, it was difficult to combine skyscrapers with traditional structures. For this reason, there is only one area, the financial district of La Defense, that houses a large number of buildings. Large bridges also offer a forbidden structure to integrate into the architectural environment. If you are more interested in non-traditional arts but modern, especially arts and crafts, please read my other articles like this one.