BLONDEL, François
(b. 1628, Ribemont, d. 1686, Paris)

General view

Porte-Saint-Denis, Paris

The Porte Saint-Denis was originally a gateway through the Wall of Charles V that was built between 1356 and 1383 to protect the Right Bank of Paris. It was entirely demolished in the 1670s. To replace the old gateway, Louis XIV commanded architect François Blondel and the sculptor Michel Anguier to build him a monumental archway that would honour the capture of Franche-Comté in 1668 and the victories on the Rhine during the Franco-Dutch War. Work began in 1672.

The Porte Saint-Denis is a triumphal arch inspired by the Arch of Titus in Rome. The main arch is flanked by obelisks applied to the wall face bearing sculptural groups of trophies of arms. Above the main arch, the southern face carries a sculptural group by Michel Anguier of "The Passage of the Rhine" in a sunk panel, while the north face carries allegorical figures of the Rhine and the Netherlands.

The Porte Saint-Denis was the first of four triumphal arches to be built in Paris. The three others are the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel (1806-1808), Porte Saint-Martin (1674), and Arc de Triomphe (1836).