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Living in the Languedoc:   Famous Personalities:   Viollet-le-Duc

Eugene Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc was a French architect, famous for his restorations of medieval buildings. Born in Paris, 27th January 1814; Died in Lausanne Switzerland, (1879)
After centuries of neglect, a movement for the restoration of medieval buildings appeared in France in the 1830's. Viollet-le-Duc was interested in medieval architecture, and on his return from a study trip to Italy, was asked by Prosper Merimée to restore the Benedictine abbey of Vézelay in the Yonne département. This restoration marked the beginning of a long series of similar work. Among his restorations are:
Churches: Sainte-Marie-Madeleine, Vezelay.    Notre-Dame de Paris.    la Basilique de Saint-Denis, near Paris.    Saint-Louis, Poissy in the Yvelines département.    Saint-Sernin, Toulouse.    Saint-Nazaire, CarcassonneNext..
Castles: Pierrefonds.    Château de Coucy.    CarcassonneNext..
Town Halls: Saint-Antonin.    NarbonneNext..
Viollet-le-Duc applied the techniques of Gothic architecture, especially what he conceived of its structural systems, to modern building materials such as cast iron. He favoured archaeologically precise restoration, yet his own designs were innovative. The famous Catalan Antoni Gaudí was heavily influenced by Viollet le Duc's work, including his rational approach to architecture and appreciation of the Gothic achievement.
Some of Viollet-le-Duc's restorations, notably that of the castle of Pierrefonds, were controversial because they did not aim at accurately recreating a historical structures as much as at creating a idealised representations of medieval style. He has also been criticised for some of his work at Carcassonne, particularly the conical roofs which were later shown to be historically inaccurate. But it is a mean spirit indeed that does not recognise his magnificent achievement.
The Languedoc, France, Europe and the world would all have been architecturally poorer without Viollet-le-Duc.
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