Henri Blondel

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Jean Henry Blondel
Born20 January 1821
Died14 September 1897

Jean Henry Blondel[1] (20 January 1821 – 14 September 1897) was a prolific French architect.

Among his works were the Passage du Bourg l'Abbé entrance on the Rue Palestro (1863),[2] the La Belle Jardinière store on Rue du Pont-Neuf (1866-7),[3] Hotel Continental at the corner of Rue de Castiglione and Rue de Rivoli (1876),[4] the Bourse de commerce building (1885-9)[5] and the Rue du Louvre building at 15 Rue du Louvre (1889).[6]


Blondel was born in Rheims early in 1821, during the period of economic hardships that followed the Napoleonic Wars. He was a pupil at the School of Arts and Crafts (École des arts et métiers) as it was then known) in nearby Châlons-sur-Marne, before moving to Paris where he embarked on an apprenticeship under Auguste Caristie [fr].[7]

He continued his training period, working for the architect François Rolland (1806-1888), and then went on to work for Henri Labrouste (1801-1875) before establishing his own architecture practice around 1855. Blondel was able to profit from the massive redevelopment of central Paris instigated by the emperor Napoleon III, and masterminded at more a detailed level by the Baron Haussmann. The new broad streets and avenues called for the construction of many new buildings, featuring the artistic-heroic style of the Second Empire.

He would construct numerous edifices along the new avenues, notably the Boulevard de Sébastopol, the Boulevard Saint-Michel, the Boulevard Saint-Germain and around the Place du Théâtre-Français (as the Place André-Malraux before 1977), often involving a system of block concessions wherein he participated in partnership with his finance providers, the "father and son" Heullant company. A surviving trace of these block concessions can be found in the Journal des débats (newspaper) of 8 July 1868 which includes the list of real estate transactions for Paris,[8] together with the relevant title deeds lodged with the Crédit Foncier de France (national mortgage institution) having a total value of 398 million francs.[9]

On 29 July 1895 Blondel was condemned for bankruptcy by a local court, in respect of indebtedness totalling slightly more than 25 million francs.[10][11]

Awards and honours[edit]


  1. ^ The spelling of "Henry" (as opposed to the usual French language spelling of the name "Henri") come from the record of the registration of his birth in the city of Rheims, and is copied in the citation for his Légion d'honneur award. See Database Léonore|LH/260/49 [1]. Note that some (though not all) sources identify his as "Henri Blondel" and not as "Henry Blondel", however.
  2. ^ One Thousand Buildings of Paris. Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers. 2003. p. 80. ISBN 978-1-57912-316-1.
  3. ^ Pinchon, Jean-François; Châtelet, Anne-Marie; Andia, Béatrice de (1995). Autour de l'Opéra: naissance de la ville moderne (in French). Délégation à l'action artistique de la ville de Paris. p. 137.
  4. ^ Watkin, David (1 October 1984). Grand hotel: the Golden age of palace hotels : an architectural and social history. Vendome Press. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-86565-040-4.
  5. ^ Poisson, Michel (2006). Façades parisiennes: 1200 immeubles et monuments remarquables de la capitale (in French). Parigramme. p. 385.
  6. ^ Farcy, Elisabeth (1995). The Louvre. Alfred A. Knopf. p. 285. ISBN 978-0-679-76452-6.
  7. ^ Béatrice Bouvier (20 December 2003). Blondel, Herni (Reims 1821 - 1897). L'édition d'architecture à Paris au XIXe siècle: les maisons bance et morel et la presse architecturale. Librairie Droz. ISBN 978-2600008792.
  8. ^ Xavier Bezançon, Les services publics en France. De la Révolution à la Première Guerre mondiale, pp. 137-152, Presses de l'école des ponts et chaussées, Paris, 1997, ISBN 2-85978-286-9
  9. ^ "Etats à l'appui du projet de loi ayant pour objet d'approuver le traité passé entre la Ville de Paris et la société du Crédit foncier de France ..." Journal des débats politiques et littéraires. 8 July 1868.
  10. ^ "Bulletin judiciaire .... l'architecte Blondel". Journal des débats politiques et littéraires. 30 July 1895. p. 3.
  11. ^ "Petites nouvelles" (PDF). L'Express du Midi. 31 July 1895. p. 2.
  12. ^ a b "Blondel ... Blondel (Henri) - Architecte français". Serge Jodra (Imago Mundi). Retrieved 26 September 2015.