It took me a long time to see just what was so surprising about this stunning doorway. But before getting to that, simply admire this most breathtaking of entrances, just around the corner from the good old Eiffel Tower.
It was created by the architect Jules Aimé Lavirotte, whose designs are flamboyant in the extreme, and the lascivious curves and sinues of the art nouveau movement are in full evidence here. Indeed, much more than that is available to you if you know how to look! Apparently there are nine examples of his work in and around the 7th arrondissement of Paris and by hook or by crook I'll track 'em all down for ya eventually!
The building at 29 Avenue Rapp was done in 1901, at the time his contemporaries such as Hector Guimard were trying out equally vegetal designs on the other side of the river over in the 16th, which was something of virgin territory back in those days, and so more available for the unusual to sneak in without being spotted.
One of the things that made this building stand out was the large number of glazed tiles used to jolly things up and truly make it stand out from the crowd. Apparently the ceramicist, a Mr. Alexandre Bigot, got plenty of business thanks to his patronage from Lavirotte for this one edifice.
The Wikipedia article's only reference to the actual door is when it says 'the building at 29 avenue Rapp also had a highly exotic door frame...' Which is a shame, because what they could also have said is that there is unmistakably an enormous downward-pointing phallus slap-bang in the middle of it and dominating the whole thing. This was very much in keeping with the sensual nature of the art nouveau movement, although it's true that Lavirotte took that particular aspect of it further than most.
Just around the corner from this oracular marvel is another example of his work, at 3 Square Rapp, which is less impressive but nevertheless interesting and well worth checking out.
So next time you're half way up the Champs de Mars, turn down this avenue towards the Seine and look out for one of the best examples of art nouveau in Paris. Remember, life in Paris can often seem like a bed of roses... but watch out for the... ;-)
P.S. There are all iPhone pics, so the quality's not that amazing, but the angles are all mine - click for bigger versions... much bigger!
SOME DARING DETAILS...
This item (the doorway) first appeared on my Paris Photo Quiz blog, where you can test your knowledge of Paris curiosities and maybe win some cool bookmarks. Check it out!