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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Immeuble Lavirotte and Art Nouveau Doorway was last modified: December 20th, 2015 by Corinne Mossati

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Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the founder and editor of Gourmantic. An avid scribe, she has taken pen to paper since the age of five. Her repertoire includes long works of fiction, short stories and travelogues. She is a winner of the GT travel writing competition, has judged the Australasian Whisky Awards and several cocktail competitions. She is also named in the Australian Bartender Most Influential List.


  1. Stunning architecture! Worth the study in detail.

    • Chris: It’s one of those buildings that reveal new detail every time you look at it. I don’t feel the photos can do it any justice.

  2. Pingback: (Re)discovering Paris | Viator Travel Blog

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