Segments in this Video

Place de l'Étoile (02:38)


In 1816, Napoleon I laid the groundwork for an imperial capital. The Arc de Triomphe is 164 feet high, 147 feet wide, and 72 feet deep. It is surrounded by other monuments to military victories and was built due to the Battle of Austerlitz.

Victory at Austerlitz (01:58)

In 1805, Napoleon prepared to invade Great Britain. He assembled an army of 190,000 men at Boulogne-Sur-Mer; they had trained for three years. The British formed an alliance with Russia and Austria but Napoleon was victorious.

Arc de Triomphe (08:40)

In 1806, Napoleon decreed the construction of arcs to celebrate victory. A commission suggested the second larger arc be built at the west entrance of the city. The arc was twice as big as the largest arc in Rome.

Vendôme Column (01:40)

Inspired by a column in Rome, the monument is over 140 feet by 10 feet with 787 feet of decoration to the Austerlitz campaign. Completed in four years, it is made with bronze captured in battle; a statue of Napoleon as a Roman Emperor sits atop the structure.

Madeleine Church (11:16)

Napoleon defeated the Prussian army in 1806; a temple in the Greco-Roman style commemorates the victory. Pierre-Alexandre Vignon used the attic to create a metal frame to support the scale of the stone building. Work started in 1808 and finished in 1842.

Revenge of Rue de Rivoli (05:24)

Throughout his reign, Napoleon built markets, cemeteries, and slaughterhouses. As a military general against the royalist insurrection in 1795, Napoleon made enemies. To create this central street, the area around the Tuileries was destroyed.

Constructing Rue de Rivoli (06:09)

Napoleon took over the project that dated to the Revolution. Architects Charles Percier and Pierre Fontaine outline the future the main highway across Paris, replacing an old neighborhood with innovative buildings.

Plans for Canal de l'Ourcq (06:38)

In 1801, Paris was a dirty city that lacked drinking water. Napoleon ordered the building of canals and viaducts to bring fresh water and supplies. The canal woulf divert water from River l'Ourcq to a basin at la Villette, built by engineer Pierre-Simon Girard.

Engineering the Canal de l'Ourcq (07:06)

To supply drinking water and allow for navigation, Girard designed a course that followed natural riverbeds and used 10 locks to prevent water stagnation. Excavation started in 1802 and was completed in 1825. As an artilleryman, Napoleon understood the language of engineers.

Credits: The Paris of Napoleon I (00:32)

Credits: The Paris of Napoleon I

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The Paris of Napoleon I

Part of the Series : Legendary Megastructures
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We often think of Napoleon I as an incredible legislator and wartime leader, but he was also a prolific patron, who supported the construction of many of Paris' most iconic monuments: the Arc de Triomphe, Vendôme Column, Palais de la Bourse, the church of La Madeleine, as well as many bridges. In this program, we learn how long these projects took, how many architects, sculptors, and workers were needed, and what innovations in materials and techniques were made to allow these constructions to materialize.

Length: 55 minutes

Item#: BVL205452

ISBN: 978-1-64867-690-1

Copyright date: ©2019

Closed Captioned

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