Free-Mason monuments in Paris

  L'obélisque place de la Concorde  

Freemasonry was born in England at the beginning of the 18th century. She was accepted in France about 1730 and rose with the philosophy of the "Lumières" (i.e. enlightened philosophers like Voltaire).

After having influenced the liberal nobility, it deeply marked the French Revolution. The Empire borrowed much of its formalism. It was again an essential source under the Third Republic (1871-1940).

Many architects included in their work the Masonic symbolic system. The frontispiece of the Declaration of the Human Rights and of the Citizen is decorated with Masonic symbols.

  L'obélisque place de la Concorde  

The fashion joined this inspiration and lead to styles using these forms. Without the knowledge of the initiate or historical source, it is difficult to affirm the actual Masonic significance of some architectural elements, which may be only relevant to the general style.

Here is a short list, pointing only monuments clearly Masonic.

détail face ouest

The pyramid of the park Monceau

Among the fabriques of the park Monceau, an Egyptian pyramid ...

Pyramid west side Pyramid east side

Philippe d'Orléans bought an estate in the Monceau plain to arrange a residence. He chose the Carmontelle painter to design the park and the architect Poyet to build various monuments (ruins, colonnade, small obelisk, pyramid, a naumachia, a Chinese pavilion and a Dutch windmill, etc.) or "fabriques".

First Master of the Grand Orient de France, he didn't forget to give to some of his fabriques a Masonic significance. From the remains, this pyramid is the most explicit. A pavilion (now destroyed) probably functioned as a Masonic temple. With the Revolution, Philippe d'Orléans became Philippe Egalité and voted the death penalty for his cousin the king Louis XVI. During the Terror (the bloodiest period of the Revolution) he had been himself decapitated.

One of the fabriques of the famous Désert de Retz, the pyramid-shaped ice-house is similar. I don't believe however that the latter has a Masonic significance. They are inspired from the pyramid to Caius Cestius in Roma.

The monument of the Human Rights, commemorating the bicentenary of the Revolution.

(Champ de Mars, Paris VIIème)

Work of Ivan Theimer, this monument installed in 1989, inspired by Egyptian temples, comprises many Masonic symbols. Nothing is artificial there, since they testify to this historical moment where the Masonic way of thinking was the very true base of the policy.

The monument of the Human Rights

monument de 89 face est

East face --- west

monument de 89 face est monument 89 face ouest

Any walker notices the triangle of the western frontage (still that an incongruous bronze seal " town of Paris " disturbs its perfection).

The pylons of bronze of the western frontage is covered of a profusion of signs, symbols, texts with very thin details in moulding, of which the "Déclaration des Droits de l'Homme et du Citoyen". Most of them are Masonic.

Details of the west face --- of the east face

detail face ouest detail face ouest detail face ouest porte face est

These pictures were shot a quite dark day in winter.
I will replace them with other caught with a better light.
Here are some:

detail face ouest pylone droit face ouest urne droite face ouest

The Louvre

Napoléon the 1st was a Free-Mason, although this fact isn't widely reported. Relating his achievement as Emperor to symbolic sagas, he added statues of Isis and Manco-Capac, son of the Inca god of the Sun, who are looking at the rising Sun in the Cour Carrée. On the left side, an architect handling a compass would be Hiram.

Melt with classic statues in the Cour Carrée, an Egyptian goddess and an Inca god ...

Isis, détail Isis et Manco-Capac Manco-Capac, détail

The whole Louvre would be in shape of a Masonic temple.

Some monuments in the Père Lachaise cemetery

The following tombs are NOT masonic - they are from egyptomaniacs
Pyramids and an obelisk in Père Lachaise

pyramide père Lachaise pere lachaise tombe en pyramide pere Lachaise obélisque

Some other monuments

Place de la Nation
Place de la Nation

Square Paul Langevin
Square Paul Langevin Square Paul Langevin

The pyramid of the Louvre and the Great Arch : are they truly Masonic ?

The pyramid in Louvre --- Grande Arche at la Défense

pyramide du Louvre Arche de la Défense et pyramide

Some absent

The frontages of the headquarters of Masonic obediences built in the XIXth century comprise Masonic symbols; some are curious, none is a great work. The later ones are neutral, such as the head office of GODF, street Cadet, of which the frontage of the XIXth century is hidden by a modern mask, or the superb (but unfortunately somewhat clustered) center of the street Christine-de-Pisan that built the GLNF when she left Neuilly.

The catacombs shelter decorations of an intense Maconic inspiration (even of columns, engraved symbols or texts). I don't plan to return there soon.

Street Jacob a temple of the Friendship of a few tens of square meters, hidden to the public, is undoubtedly the most romantic Masonic construction of Paris. Unless than this secrecy excite too much my imagination...

In Paris area

(Rambouillet - Yvelines)

Barque solaire

This solar boat, a government order to the sculptor Karel, completed in 1993, was installed in the hedge of the castle of Rambouillet. Without having particular information, its Masonic inspiration seems obvious.

Barque solaire

To avoid any misunderstanding...

I amn't a Free-Mason. I wrote this page by interest for the history, Masonry and architecture.   What I show is not the knowledge of a revealed secrecy. The GODF himself says : "About our ritual and our symbols it is easy to consult a dictionary or Internet to be perfectly informed".

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Copyright of the author : © <Dominique Césari>
Created, September 20th, 1999   Last update : April, 6th 2002