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Immeuble Lavirotte and Art Nouveau Doorway

Photo opportunities in Paris abound at every corner. One only needs to glance up at a Haussman-style building or notice the pattern of chairs and tables outside a café to feel the urge to trip the shutter. But sometimes a little foray into a relatively unknown location goes a long way into providing an opportunity away from tourist-ridden clichés.

Located near the Eiffel Tower on avenue Rapp not too distant from the Musée du Quai Branly is Immeuble Lavirotte. Known for its imposing door, the building dates back to 1901 and is characteristic of the Art Nouveau of the period. In 1903, it won the Prix des façades de Paris for its intricately designed doorway by architect Jules Lavirotte with ceramics by Alexandre Bigot.

Immeuble Lavirotte Immeuble Lavirotte

Take a close look at the magnificence of the front door then take a few steps back to the other side of the road to study the architecture of building. You’ll see an intricate design that is highly suggestive of sexual imagery.

Immeuble Lavirotte Immeuble Lavirotte

Framing the door is a naked couple depicting Adam and Eve after committing the original sin. Note the expression on their faces. She stands posing seductively while he, in true male form, is looking down at his crotch in awe. There is a also a lizard on the door, with its sexual connotations. Beneath them is the bust of the woman wearing a boa which is said to be based on Madame Lavirotte. Here expression is lame but she wears a boa, another representation of temptation of the serpent.

Immeuble Lavirotte Immeuble Lavirotte

Look up at the building, and the sexual imagery abounds in figures and shapes that resemble male and female genitalia. Little wonder the design was considered to be controversial at the time.

On the day we visited, we were graced with a few minutes of reprieve from the rain. I would have preferred to photograph its intricate detail under sunny skies.

Immeuble Lavirotte
29 Avenue Rapp
7ème arrondissement, Paris
Métro: Ecole Militaire


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About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of popular online magazine Gourmantic and Cocktails & Bars, a website dedicated to cocktail culture and the discerning drinker. She is named in Australian Bartender Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The Academy responsible for judging the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the inaugural Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions.