Photographs and text by Jacqueline Banerjee [You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL.]

Porte Dauphine, Paris

Designed by Hector Guimard (1867-1942) and inaugurated in 1912, Porte Dauphine is the western terminus of Line 2 on the Paris Metro. It is one of only three stations that still have their original architectural frames or "aedicules" at the entrance. The others, Chatelet on Line 1 and Abbesses on Line 12, have similar entrances and canopies without the tall sides. In complete contrast to the subterranean world into which it gives access, this entrance, although almost enclosed, is bright and airy. It has a transparent canopy and panel "windows" above, and orange paneled walls below, each panel replicating the same scrolling Art Nouveau pattern that echoes the ironwork of the frame. Positioned on a green rather than in a street, the whole structure has something almost magical about it, as if inviting the traveller into another world — which, in a sense, is exactly what it does. [Click on this and the following images for larger pictures.]

Notice the sinuously branching ironwork at each side of the portal, the use of distinctive Art Nouveau lettering on the sign, and the "rays" of ironwork above. These can be seen also in the other two station entrances. Such "whimsical" entrances "constituted the common ground between the old century and the new, between technology and art, between that which was hidden and that which was ostentatiously put on show ... the new style had some most beguiling features" (Sembach 21).

Related Material


Sembach, Klaus-Jurgen. Art Nouveau. Cologne: Taschen, 2002.

Decadents Decadent architecture next

Last modified 15 October 2012