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2. Paris, artistic geography of a city and its territory

Vue de Paris prise depuis la rose ouest de la cathédrale Notre-Dame, 2022, photo Élisabeth. Pillet

Research on Paris is constitutive of the Centre André-Chastel. The French capital indeed offers a particularly important area of investigation, due to the different scales associated with its study – from local to global. Various approaches, topographical, urban, artistic, have privileged the crossing of disciplines for a better understanding of the capital's history. In this context, the role of artists in the texture of the city, both in terms of productions and in terms of an imaginary, remains essential.

In this sense, this theme is thought as a laboratory in which the approaches from other themes of the Centre André-Chastel intersect, on a specific object.


A first research theme is more specifically dedicated to urban space and monuments in a perspective initiated in 1977 by the publication of the survey conducted on the Halles district. Crossing of disciplines (archaeology, sociology, urban studies, architecture, etc.) is thus privileged for a better understanding of the capital's history. The team relies on topographic studies of the city. In this context, the survey of the old cellars of Paris is carried out, combining topographic research, archeology of buildings and restitutions using the PLEMO 3D digitisation platform. Similarly, the participation of several members of the theme in the scientific project of Notre-Dame, promoting exchanges between art historians, scientists and conservation professionals enhances the transdisciplinarity of the team. Furthermore, many monographic studies are conducted on emblematic buildings (Notre-Dame de Paris, the department store Samaritaine, the Hôtel de la Marine, etc.) as well as on more common buildings or districts of Paris. This approach to the Parisian monumental heritage is however always renewed by current techniques of investigation.

A second research program focuses on the role of the artists in the making of the city. This approach combines the study of Parisian artistic productions and the formation of an artistic imagination linked to Paris. Closer to cultural history, this section also tests the shape of the laboratory and activates the transversality of all themes of the Centre. Artistic capital of international renown since the 13th century, Paris calls for new specific studies from this angle, which affects art history as much as mentalities and sociability. Similarly, the question of Paris's relationship to modernity can be approached on the diachrony, from the Middle Ages to contemporary era, where this subject is unavoidable.

The research perspectives developed in the theme "Paris, artistic geography of a city and its territory" are regularly enriched by the work of students enrolled in master's or doctoral studies.

Members attached to the theme

Teachers-researchers Sorbonne Université

Heritage curators ministère de la Culture

Engineers Sorbonne Université

Engineers CNRS

Emeritus professors Sorbonne Université

Honorary members

PhD candidates

Élodie BitsindouAlice CronierBaptiste Dumas-Piro, Roxane Ilias, Nicolas Jaques, Enzo MenugeWooseok Seo, Damien Tellas

Associated researchers