Walking the Ancient Wall of Paris
A focused tour through the heart of Medieval Paris following the ancient city wall.
The late 12th century King of France, Philip August built a defensive wall around his capital city of Paris. The oval path of this wall has greatly influenced the layout of the city as it’s limits grew beyond these early boundaries. The wall was originally 5100 meters (more than 5,500 yards) long, and between 6 and 9 meters (20 to 29 and a half feet) high. An archers path ran along the top with semi-circular towers that bellied out. At this time in history, the British occupied a part of the Southwest of France, and Normandy. Fears of invasion by the English King Richard the Lionheart was a major reason behind this construction. King Philip Augustus was about to embark on the Third Crusades with British King Richard.
This wall would act as a psychological as well as physical frontier between the urban and feudal powers.
Walking any part of what is left of the ancient wall today will take visitors through the heart of today’s Paris. The historic path leads to both ends of the city, from the Louvre to the Marias, from Saint-Germain to Les Halles.
Philip II (1165-1223), sometimes called Philip Augustus, ruled France from 1180 to 1223. He made the Crown more powerful than any feudal lord, more than tripled the royal domain, and turned the balance of power between France and England in favor of France.