Porte Dauphine Metro by Hector Guimard
Porte Dauphine Metro entrance is one of three remaining Art Nouveau canopies designed by Hector Guimard.
The other two are Châtelet on Place Sainte Opportune and Abbesses in Montmartre.
Guimard was one of the undisputed masters of Art Nouveau in France.
The Compagnie du Métropolitian de Paris commissioned him in 1899 to design the stations’ entrances.
The first line, Porte de Vincennes – Porte Maillot, was inaugurated on July 19, 1900 for the Universal Exhibition.
Porte Dauphine station opened on December 13 of the same year and was the western terminus of Line 2.
It was named after one of the gates of the Château de la Muette‘s perimeter wall.
The mansion was pulled down at the Revolution and the wall in the 1850s to open the Avenue Foch.
Porte Dauphine Metro Station also pays tribute to General de Lattre Tassigny, the Commander of the First Army that freed Marseille in 1944.
Guimard’s Brins de Muguet
Between 1900 and 1912 Guimard created 141 Metro entrances that came in two different styles:
Simple balustrades and kiosks with canopies (aedicules) in molded cast iron.
The balustrades were the most common and many are still around.
They consist of a series of cast iron medallions painted in green and adorned with floral garlands re-creating the initial M for Metropolitain.
They are framed with two cast iron pillars shaped like flower stems and topped with a leaf sheltering a small orange lamp.
Two secondary stems emerge half way from each pillar and hold a glazed lava board inscribed with the word Metropolitain.
These pillars are commonly known as ‘Brins de Muguet – Lily of the Valley stems’.
Canopies (edicules) came in two sizes.
The large canopies (grands edicules) built for Etoile and Bastille stations have now disappeared.
Only three complete small canopies remain at Porte Dauphine, Abbesses and Châtelet.
The rounded volumes, the predominance of curved shapes supported by a metal frame and the abstract floral and foliage patterns create such lightness and elegance that the Parisians quickly nicknamed these entrances ‘Libellules – Dragonflies’.
If you step back you can actually understand this analogy, as they look like giant insects.
A closer look at Porte Dauphine’s elaborate canopy
Porte Dauphine Metro entrance is very elaborate.
The canopy consists of an inverted pitched roof covered with glass sheets.
It is closed on three sides; the upper section is made of glass sheets, the lower section of glazed lava panels.
The glass sheets are assembled on a cast iron frame supported by three pillars (two at the front, one at the back).
A small rounded canopy, that shelters the glazed lava board marked with the sign Metropolitain, extends the front of the kiosk.
The interior panels of the kiosk are painted with white and green foliage garlands on an ocher background.
The kiosk’s metal frame is painted in green.
Porte Dauphine Metro entrance is simply stunning!
Art Nouveau, loved and loathed
Art Nouveau style is today very popular, but was not that widely acclaimed in the early 20th century!
Many ‘purists and art critics’ rejected this new style that was in total break with the neo-Classicism of the 19th century.
Mind you, they also rejected Impressionism!
Guimard’s Metro entrances, therefore, were not to everyone’s taste!
Guimard eventually gave in to criticism and terminated his contract with the Compagnie du Métropolitian de Paris.
Fortunately, by then he had already built 141 Metro entrances!
Unfortunately many of his entrances were demolished in 1931, others after WWII.
Ironically, Art Nouveau regained popularity in the years 1960-1970 and Guimard’s remaining Metro entrances were classified Historical Monument!
Porte Dauphine Metro entrance was listed on May 29, 1978.
Once at Porte Dauphine, why don’t you cross the road and go for a walk in the Bois de Boulogne?
Directions: 16th district – level of no90 Avenue Foch
Metro: Porte Dauphine Line 2
Coordinates: Lat 48.872146 – Long 2.276950