Art Nouveau – Avenue Rapp in Paris’ 7th Arrondissement
When did Art Nouveau in Paris turn into a passion for me? It had to be when I saw this door on an internet post. Isn’t it the most amazing piece of architecture you have ever seen? This incredible architecture on Avenue Rapp is close to the Eiffel Tower. It is definitely some of my most favorite Art Nouveau in Paris!
Art Nouveau : 29 Avenue Rapp
Located at 29 Avenue Rapp, Mrs. Jules Lavirotte crowns the door frame you see above. As the architect’s wife, she has been given a place of honor and I imagine that fox stole draped around her neck is a nod to her aristocratic status.
Jules Lavirotte (1864-1928) is the Art Nouveau architect who is responsible for much of the Art Nouveau you find in the 7th arrondissement here in Paris. The book Paris Art Nouveau describes Lavirotte’s style as decadent baroque. This style was evidently not unanimously popular but, never-the-less, Lavirotte won the Paris façade competition three times! This competition was held, for the first time in 1889, as a reaction to the bland facades that were appearing on the Haussmanian buildings. It was sponsored by the city of Paris to encourage more decorative façades.
As is typical of Art Nouveau, trailing vines and sculptures of women frame the door. The “long, sinuous, organic lines” (Encyclopaedia Brittanica) give the door and surrounding sculptures a very fluid and animated feel to me. If you stare long enough, it almost seems as if they might move.
When I first researched information about this door and the remainder of the building at 29 Ave Rapp, to my surprise, I discovered that Lavirotte was not responsible for the entirety of the Art Nouveau we find here.
Alexandre Bigot also contributed to the façade and decoration of the building. Bigot created the huge ceramic panels that vary in color from floor to floor. This was the first time so much ceramic work was used on a building in Paris. (Paris Secret et Insolite). Bigot receives credit for the beautiful flowing ironwork on the balcony balustrades, as well.
I absolutely love the intricacies of this façade on Ave Rapp , possibly even more so than of the façade here on this Art Nouveau building in the 10th arrondissement (www.france-travel-info.com/art-nouveau-in-the-10th).
Art Nouveau: 3, Square Rapp
After studying these doors, I really do think I’d like to compile a photo journal strictly composed of Paris doors! The doors on these Art Nouveau buildings are amazing works of architecture!
I found the next Art Nouveau door at 3, Square Rapp. It’s easy to see the design similarities between this door and Lavirotte’s door at 29 Ave Rapp. However, this door seems more organic than the door at #29 in that there are no women but lots of vines, leaves and flowers.
Look at the balcony details on this building! The left balcony is above the door at 3, Square Rapp. I find it utterly curious that even side by side on the same floor these two balconies are extremely different, one being light and almost frilly whereas the other is imposing and heavy.
Except for the first two floors, sandstone covers the remainder of the building. And notice that no two floors look alike!
Art Nouveau Ave Rapp Location
I’d suggest a visit to these two beautiful buildings after you visit the Eiffel Tower. The closest metro is Pont de l’Alma (RER C) but Ecole Militaire (line 8) is equally accessible. On the other hand, if you take Line 6, you will travel part of the journey above ground and have an amazing view of the Eiffel Tower. Get off at Passy and then walk back toward the Seine, using the Eiffel as your directional guide. You will have great views of the Bir-Hakeim bridge (another architectural sight to see) that you crossed via the metro, house boats along the Seine, Trocadero Gardens and of the Eiffel Tower.