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8-08-2015, 16:08


In Paris the king’s hall, rebuilt after a fire, served as the great hall for parliament, complete with guard room and a kitchen that could feed two thousand people. The building also included the treasury and business of fices for tax and financial affairs. Philip IV remodeled the older buildings on the Ile de la Cité, beginning about 1290 by joining them with corridors and surrounding the complex with walls and towers. As it finally emerged in the fourteenth century, the architecture of the king’s residence imposed an orderly progression from public to increasingly secure and isolated space. The visitor (or petitioner) moved through the main gate into a large courtyard with the chapel at the left and great hall to the right and climbed a magnificent stairway to the merchants’ gallery, turning right to enter the audience hall (hall of justice) which led to the council chamber. If one turned neither left nor right but moved straight ahead, one arrived at the royal apartments and the garden, the most private space of all. The isolation of the royal person made that person seem important and sought after, but public display was an essential part of government. On special occasions, when the king met the public, the merchants would clear their hall and people could move directly through the building. The show of authority and the symbols of power could be as important as power itself.