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Paris - A Study in Symmetry...


Having just covered some symmetrical design in our post about Place des Vosges, it really got me thinking about clean lines, symmetry, and the overall (and beloved) design of Paris.

It may not be spoken of aloud very often, but symmetry is something you have definitely noticed in photos and walks of Paris. Aside from the Place des Vosges, let's take a P'Niche peek to learn a little bit more...


My very first encounter with true symmetry was right outside the Louvre Museum, waiting for a tour to start. Our dreamy guide, Monsieur Alex, stated "Zee symmetry is everything - all that we have in art and architecture is zee symmetry!"

It came to artistic and architectural importance during the Renaissance and I have to humbly admit, I had no idea...


Having never taken any advanced math courses, I had to wonder - what exactly IS symmetry? Ooh, you're wondering too? ...

Well, according to the Oxford Dictionary, symmetry is the "quality of being made up of exactly similar parts facing each other or around an axis." It provides harmony and balance. You might look at it as another word for "mirror image."

Architecturally, symmetry makes many appearances, in many varied formats and features, from gardens to dome tops, from pillars to posts.

Yep, some great examples exist in Paris!


Got your bearings yet?

Oui! This very symmetrical view is from the top level of the Eiffel Tower, gazing down the Champs de Mars.

You can take note that even though there are several elements and shapes, overall, if you were to cut a line smack dab down the center of this photo, you would notice a complete symmetry.

That is to say, again, that if you took this picture and folded it closed on top of itself, it would make a "clean line."

The view truly does offer a very "zen like" and harmonious view point of complete congruency.

Maybe that is why there are always so many relaxing picnics are held here?


Oh, still at the top of the Eiffel Tower? If you swing around to other side, you can look down toward Trocadero and notice even more elaborate symmetry, containing more than one architectural element.

(Trocadero also boasts the best viewpoint of the Eiffel Tower. P'Niche PSA - try to get there just before sunrise to enjoy the place to yourself - you'll thank me later!)


You've been strolling for some time and you have now come across another great example of Parisian symmetry...

The Palais Garnier (l'Opéra).

Best seen from the skies above, you can note that while the view is not 100% symmetrical, it is nearly there with a harmonious balance of both the Opera House itself, and the mini labyrinth of surrounding streets.

One of Paris' greatest pleasures is heading out to the central balcony of the building and looking clear down the Louvre Museum on a clear day.

Le sigh...


My goodness, you've been walking some time!

Now that you have reached the top of the Champs Élysées, you will definitely note Baron Eugène Haussmann's symmetrical masterpiece, the Place d'Étoile.

This is the central meeting point of 12 straight avenues, jutting out from the glorious Arc de Triomphe.


Let's get outta town...

We're at the Palace of Versailles now. You know - P'Niche's humble little pied-à-terre.

King Louis XIV's former hunting lodge turned palace is an absolute masterclass in symmetrical design and harmony. And gold leaf gilding...

But wait, there's more!


Head outside to the breathtaking gardens of the palace, crafted with exceeding care (and symmetry) by Monsieur André le Notre.

Spanning more space and time than you can dare to hope to able to spend in the royal residence, you will be able to admire the absolute synchronicity of the layout.

It's almost to much to take - almost.

There will be much more on Versailles to come in the months ahead, especially as it pertains to the annual Masquerade Ball (P'Niche Squeal of Delight!!). We hope you will subscribe to return back to the Parisian Niche to follow this adventure most royal...


Ok, we're now back in Paris at the Louvre - full circle. And yes, circles are symmetrical - I googled it to make sure! And the pyramid is as well - each rhombus constructing the pyramid has oblique symmetry, and each side of the pyramid consists of vertical symmetry.

That's beaucoup de symmetry!

P'Niche will leave you here for the moment, but will be back very soon to speak of more architectural delights - the Historical Axis of Paris. In the meantime, what other examples of symmetry have you noticed in Paris? Let us know in the comments below et à bientôt!


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Debbie Kwiecinski
Debbie Kwiecinski
Feb 05, 2023

I think of the entire Palais Royal: the colonnaded walkways, the garden. But what comes to my mind first are the long, tree-lined avenues on either side of the garden.


Jan 26, 2023

I've always believed that the perfect Symmetry all around is one one reason people adore Paris. It's subconsciously calming or something.

Jan 27, 2023
Replying to

I totally agree! 😀

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