ABADIE, Paul
(b. 1812, Paris, d. 1884, Chatou)

Biography

French architect and restorer. He was the son of a Neo-classical architect of the same name (1783-1868), who was architect to the département of Charente. The younger Paul Abadie began studying architecture in 1832 and then entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1835. While he was following this classical training, he participated in the rediscovery of the Middle Ages by going on archaeological trips and then, from 1844, in his capacity as attaché to the Commission des Monuments Historiques.

He undertook his first restoration work at Notre-Dame de Paris, under the direction of Jean-Baptiste-Antoine Lassus and Viollet-le-Duc. Abadie was appointed deputy inspector at Notre-Dame in 1845, and in 1848 he was appointed architect to the dioceses of Périgueux, Angoulême and Cahors. He subsequently completed about 40 restoration projects, mainly on Romanesque churches in Charente, in the Dordogne and the Gironde. As a diocesan architect, he was put in charge of two large cathedrals in his district: Saint-Pierre d'Angoulême and Saint-Front de Périgueux. He worked on Saint-Front de Périgueux from 1851 until his death.

Abadie planned or built around 40 new buildings, most of which were religious, including in Angoulême, the churches of Saint-Martial (1849-56) and Saint-Ausone (1856-68); in the Dordogne, the churches of Notre-Dame de Bergerac (1851-66), St Georges de Périgueux (1852-70) and Villefranche-de-Périgord (1855-70); and in Bordeaux, Saint-Marie à La Bastide (1860-86) and Saint-Ferdinand (1862-67). The church of Saint-Martial in Angoulême is one of the first examples of 'archaeological' neo-Romanesque, while Notre-Dame de Bergerac is based on 13th-century Gothic examples and was inspired by a preceding project by Viollet-le-Duc. He also built several civic edifices, including the Angoulême Town Hall (1854-69).

In 1874 Abadie won the competition to build the Eglise du Vœu National au Sacré-Coeur, the celebrated basilica in Montmartre, Paris. With this monument, Abadie gave the Romanesque Revival its most notable expression.

Abadie was less militant and less of a theoretician than Viollet-le-Duc, and he produced at Montmartre and elsewhere a more equivocal architecture that reflected his training, in which the rediscovery of the Middle Ages and the academic tradition existed side by side.