The Royal Gate was the most ambitious architectural project in the programme for the new fortified walls of La Rochelle, the construction of which was launched in 1689 under the direction of Vauban. The “King’s Gate”, which opens onto the road to Paris, needs an entrance worthy of the most powerful monarch in Europe.
The combination of brick and stone still looked good, but was beginning to go out of fashion: neo-classical style had already made its appearance in military architecture, particularly in the new buildings at the Ch√Ęteau de Vincennes. While waiting for the means to build the Royal Gate, and as it was necessary to get out of the town to join the road to Paris, they were content with a simple cut in the ramparts. It is a long open-air corridor that exits to the north and is naturally known as the Porte de Paris. A guardhouse with colonnades housed the soldiers nearby. In 1915, when the ramparts were levelled, the remains of this gateway were found in the extension of what is now the Avenue des Cordeliers.

The history of the Porte Royale is engraved in stone on its walls. All the traces of life left behind by prisoners, inhabitants or simple passers-by from successive eras are still visible today.

This makes the Porte Royale a witness to the last three centuries of La Rochelle’s history.

This contemporary art exhibition draws a parallel between this history in stone and today’s artistic expressions, enabling us to rediscover this heritage left by our ancestors.