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Monday, 4 February 2013

Thier's Wall, Paris



I found this picture of a fisherman near Porte de Meudon. I did not know the site so I decided to investigate. It is a photograph taken on the glacis of the walls of Paris, also known as Thier's Wall.


There have been several enceinte walls around Paris but the city outgrew them. Louis XIV demolished the wall on the Right Bank, replacing it with a Grand Promenade. Two of the gates, Saint Denis and Saint Martin, were converted to arcs de triomphe. Some historians believe he took the walls down to make it easier  for royalist troops to enter Paris at times of unrest.

Porte de Saint Denis
In 1830 King Louis-Philippe came to the throne. He was concerned to prevent Paris easily falling into the hands of France's enemies as happened at the Battle of Paris in 1814. He demanded that fortifications be built. In 1833 the first plans were put to the Chamber of Deputies by Marshal Soult, the Council President and War Minister. Work began in 1840 under the Premiership of Louis Adolphe Thiers and was completed in 1845.


The wall was 33 kilometres in length, had 94 bastions, 17 main gates (Portes) and 23small gates. The defences were supported by 16 detached forts. The current Boulevard Périphérique follows the glacis. There was a military road round the inside and a railway, the Chemin de Fer de Petite Ceinture (railway of the small belt).

In 1859 the wall became the official limit of the City of Paris.

Tram stop at the Porte de Versailles

Gardens at the Porte d'Issy, 13 Aug. 1919

Technology overtook the fortifications. During the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, French fortifications were found wanting, the new German artillery range and power made the French fortified places such as Paris unable to withstand sieges. After the Great War, the walls were demolished between 1919 and 1929.

Demolition, near Porte de Meudon, 9  Aug 1919

Very little remains. Bastion 1 at Porte de Bercy. Bastion 45 at Porte de Clichy. A small length of wall near Porte de la Villette. a little more here and there.


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