View Full Version : Medieval Paris and London
08-09-2002, 03:53 PM
Is there anything left besides Notre Dame and the Tower of London? From what I understand, London burned in the 17th century and Paris is mostly a 19th century city today. Are there any neighborhoods left where one can get an idea of what they were like in the middle ages?
Also, where did the medieval French and English Kings live? I know about Buckingham Palace and Versaille (sp?), but they were also built in the last 2-300 yrs.
08-09-2002, 04:39 PM
Medieval Churches still standing in London (http://www.britainexpress.com/London/medieval-churches.htm)
General Information on Medieval/Historic buildings in London (http://vrcoll.fa.pitt.edu/medart/image/England/london/General/mainlondon.html)
Googling brought me up thousands of hits; hope you find some that suit your interests. :)
08-09-2002, 04:49 PM
Yeah, I know there are quite a few churches left from that time. But I was specifically looking for any remaining areas where,say, an entire neighborhood had preserved the medieval architecture. I know that Paris was still basically a medieval city until the early 1800's when most of it was demolished to make way for the wide boulevards we're familiar with today. However I have not been able to find any info on what,if anything was preserved.
Well, it's not in London or Paris, but York has "The Shambles", which is an area of medieval/medieval-esque streets and buildings. It's right near York Minster.
08-09-2002, 08:01 PM
I hear--although I'm not sure--that Edinborough has enclaves of medieval architecture left.
London is/was too important and prosperous to have maintained whole neighborhoods intact from medieval times, although here and there a few odd corners might have survived (London is such a tangled mess that even native Londoners get lost, and London cab-drivers are tested on their knowledge of the streets).
For Paris, the Marais district has buildings dating from the 15th century (maybe earlier, I'm a little hazy on it and don't have time to search for you now).
08-09-2002, 09:17 PM
Well, this is partly a process of elimination. If memory serves, the Great Fire of 1666 pretty much destroyed everything east of Fetter Lane, and almost across to the Tower of London – I don't know how much more there was to 'London' (as it was then, obviously a much smaller city) but, west of Fetter Lane, there does still exist a little of medieval London.
I used to be a member of Middle Temple (one of the four Inns of Court), spent copious amounts of time in Middle Temple Hall and lived in an adjoining building for a year. Although a little of the building was hit by the Luftwaffe (and later rebuilt), the Hall remains as it was originally constructed (finished 1573).
I don't think much more of medieval London does remain and I can't think of anything outside of Temple. FWIW, I suggest concentrating there. Try phrases like:
'Inns of Court' + church (the church is also medieval – lots of short, dead chaps lying around in armour)
BTW, The Hall has seen it's fair share of history – for example the first performance of 'Twelfth Night' took place there (one assumes Shakespeare was in attendance for the 'premiere' of his latest work) and the Temple itself ('Temple' being an area) was the home of the original Knights Templar. It was an interesting place to live and study ....here's one link that should whet your appetite:
08-09-2002, 11:40 PM
Originally posted by London_Calling
(lots of short, dead chaps lying around in armour)
<chuckle> Man, I love the English... :D
08-10-2002, 09:43 AM
From the medieval times, there are some things left in Paris :
-Many churches, the oldests dating from the XII° century
-A handful of houses like this one (http://nicolasflamel.parisbistro.net/default-fr.htm) (build around 1400 and advertized as the oldest in Paris, but it seems to me there's an older one)
-Le Chatelet (http://www.tgi-paris.justice.fr/tgi/fr/plan/image/chatelet.jpg) , formerly part of the king's castle
-Some other buildings like la tour de Jean sans peur (http://tour.jeansanspeur.free.fr/)
-Some remains of the medieval walls build under the reign of Philippe Auguste (http://www.philippe-auguste.com/mur/plans_photos/RGDStPaul.html)
There are more mansions dating from the Renaissance, the most noticeable being IMO the hotel de Sens (http://www.ac.aup.fr/~msimpson/deSens2.JPG) and thehotel de Cluny (http://www.rmn.fr/images/02musees/01presentation/musees/cluny.jpg)
But on the overall, indeed, there's no part of Paris which could give you an idea of what Paris looked like during the middle ages. The part of Paris where you could have some "old city" feelings is "le Marais", as already stated by a previous poster.
Actually, the towns which have well conserved medieval parts are usually towns which were florishing during the middle ages (hence rich and important enough for walls, mansions, etc... to be build) but were ruined later for various reasons (hence the town never grew enough for the walls to be torn down, the noble/ricch families weren't rich enough to build new beautiful "modern" mansions/castles during the following centuries to replace the old crappy middle-age buildings)
For instance, the best preserved *authentic* (as opposed to Carcassonne, largely restored/rebuild during the XIX° century) walled city in France is possibly Aigues-Mortes, which used to be a major port on the Mediterranean sea. The sea slowly withdrew and the town became irrelevant. Similarily, the medieval town closest to Paris is Provins which was a major trade center during the XIII° century, but became unimportant when the trade routes shifted to northern cities like Brugges (which is itself wonderfully preserved for the same reason : the trade routes changed later). Or look at formerly major trade cities like Venice or Dubrovnik. Large parts of these are left pretty much like they were when the city was at the top of its power.
Capitals like London or Paris aren't the best place to find really old building and monuments (apart from the churches). Until modern times, people weren't really enamored with old buildings, and they were torn down when the city expanded.
08-10-2002, 10:04 AM
I didn't notice your question about the kings :
During the merovingian/carolingian era, the french kigs had various residences, and the capital switched from one town to another, depending on various circumstances.
The capetians definitely settled in Paris (of course they had any other residences, for instance, during the medieval era, the king frequently stayed in the castle of Vincennes, currently situated in Paris subburbs, or during the renaissance era, kings spent a lot of times in several Loire Valley castles). The king's castle was first situated on the "Ile de la cite", close to Notre-Dame. The Chatelet is a remain of its northern part which was later used as a prison (the king's private church, the Sainte Chapelle (http://architecture.relig.free.fr/chapelle.htm) ", one of the most beautiful monument in Paris IMO, is still there too )
Then they moved to the Louvre, which, before being the renaissance building we can see today was a middle-age castle. The foundations of the original castle (along with an archeological gallery) can be visited in the basements of the Louvre museum. Louis XIV build Versailles during the XVII° century, and it was the king's residence until the revolution.
08-10-2002, 10:09 AM
The link doesn't work. Let's try again :
Sainte Chapelle (http://architecture.relig.free.fr/chapelle.htm)
08-10-2002, 10:16 AM
Nice clairobscur! Ca me fait souvenire que Paris me manque!
08-10-2002, 11:18 AM
I forgot that part of the question as well! - About the Royal Residences (http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/page567.asp).
The intriguing 'Palace of Whitehall' would also be a useful search term.
BTW, I'm sure there's less likelihood of the OP being in pursuance to a school project at this time of year, nonetheless I hope you'll understand if I just generally point in the right direction. Besides, it makes life easier for me ;)
08-10-2002, 03:54 PM
St Etheldreda church, c1250 may be the only surviving work of Edward I reign.
(St Ethelburga church was seriously damaged by a terrorist bomb so its largely a restoration - damned shame, but then why should those lovable boys from the emerald Isle care?)
The Staple Inn, example of a tudor manor house.
Middle temple hall
L-C I take it you must be part of the legal world then .
08-10-2002, 06:38 PM
Originally posted by Sparc
Nice clairobscur! Ca me fait souvenire que Paris me manque!
So, you speak french too...That's great...
08-10-2002, 06:59 PM
So, you speak french too...That's great..Naturally. It's the home country. I grew up in Versailles and close to Pigalle.
08-10-2002, 07:52 PM
Interesting info. here.
I also enjoyed visiting the Basilique St-Denis near Paris.
The first bishop of Paris, St. Denis became the patron saint of the monarchy, and royal burials began here in the 6th century and continued until the Revolution.From http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUrl-g187147-d232100-r364262-e__2F__Attraction_Review__2D__g187147__2D__d232100__2D__Reviews__2D__Basilique_St_Denis__2D__Paris_I le_de_France__2E__html-Basilique_St_Denis-Paris_Ile_de_France.html
08-10-2002, 09:57 PM
Originally posted by Sparc
Naturally. It's the home country. I grew up in Versailles and close to Pigalle.
For some reason, I believed you were german...
08-10-2002, 10:41 PM
Passport Swedish, grew up in France, and I live at present in Germany.
08-11-2002, 06:18 AM
Despite horrendous -- and ongoing -- attempts to commercialise it and turn it into a tourist haven, Edinburgh has the horrific remnants of Mary King's Close (http://www.ebs.hw.ac.uk/MaryKing/welcome.html), a winding street inhabited by Edinburgh's poor. Once the plague came, the richer inhabitants of the surrounding tenements bricked up the street, leaving food through a hatch until the entire street had died out. Well, that's the story the tour company promotes, although apparently the truth was a little more mundane and not necessarily related to the plague.
08-12-2002, 06:03 AM
Casdave - Now, there's a question! No, I did the training (Bar School) but never practiced.
To be fair, from (Casdave's links) neither Grays or Lincoln' s Inn could be classified as medieval. Gray's Inn Hall was another victim of the Luftwaffe and although they've done a good job at recreating the sense of an Inn, it's not the original building.
Lincolns Inn Hall looks pretty Victorian to me from the outside. It's the only one I haven't dined at so I don't know it internally - although I rather got the impression they've tried hard to overcome earlier inappropriate 'improvements'.
Having said that, Lincoln's Inn is a beautiful Square (not to be confused with Lincoln's Inn Field next door) and very evocative off olde London. One very minor titbit concerns Wildy's (the legal bookstore in the south-east corner). David Bowie developed Mr Srardust when he worked there in the late 60's - from the room above the walkway, IIRC......read it somewhere......
Nope, as far as I know, the Temple area is the only place with medieval buildings that remains. Could be wrong........
08-12-2002, 08:39 AM
Dont Forget Westminster Abbey, bits of Westminster School and Charterhouse Square and Barts in General.
08-12-2002, 10:04 AM
The present Barts Hospital building dates from 1729 but the original seems to have survived the Great Fire so, presumably, other buildings in that enclave might still remain (not sure when the River Fleet disappeared underground or if it might have played a part during the Great Fire). Those back streets looks olde but I just don't know how old. Thinking about those streets and Temple, I'd have to say the stonework of them doesn't appear as old....but I'm not an expert.
I'd agree that one might think bits of Charterhouse Square would fit the bill but seemingly they don't. http://www.regentquarter.com/Exhibition/siteHistory.htm
Westminster Abbey was well west of the Great Fire – and almost certainly not even in 'London' then – and also escaped the attentions of the Luftwaffe. Not sure how evocative of medieval London it is of itself, though.
I thought Westminster School was in a new building in the City so perhaps I don't know of that to comment.
Westminster School aside, I'm still guessing Temple is the only area that might fit the bill.
This gives you some idea of how far the Great Fire spread.
How far the Temple is actually 'medieval' is debatable. The church was very heavily restored in the nineteenth century and almost none of the surrounding buildings date from before the seventeenth century (that they are mostly in brick or stone is indeed the big giveaway). The Middle Temple Hall is the exception, but, as London_Calling has already pointed out, that dates only from 1573.
The Staple Inn is, IIRC, another post-Blitz reconstruction, as is most of the Charterhouse. Bits of Westminster School are medieval (although, again, with some war damage), but it doesn't feel typically so and, in any case, it's not usually open to the public. The only pre-eighteenth century bit of St. Bart's is St. Barthlomew-the-Less and that too had to be extensively repaired after bomb damage.
The best preserved example of a large pre-Fire house is Crosby Hall, but it has been much mucked about with, not least because it has been moved to a completely different location.
Yet, if there is very little of medieval London that survives above ground, an amazing amount has been excavated over the past 60 years. The best place to start to get a sense of what has been lost is the very readable account by the leading expert on the subject, John Schofield's Medieval London houses (Yale University Press, 1994).
08-13-2002, 07:55 AM
Amusingly, the aforementioned Marais is now the gay village.
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