From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Pierre-Adrien Pâris (1745, Besançon - 1819, Besançon) was a French architect, painter and designer.
The son of an architect and official surveyor at the court of the prince of Basel, Pierre-Adrien Pâris came to Paris to study architecture in 1760 and was particularly a student of Étienne-Louis Boullée and Louis Trouard. After failing to win the Grand Prix de Rome three times, he visited Rome in 1769 to accompany his teacher's son as his tutor, and followed courses at the French Academy in Rome. He traveled in Italy, including visits to the Roman ruins of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Paestum, of which he made many drawings. He returned to France in 1774.
In 1775, Trouard entrusted him with the interior decoration of the hotel d'Aumont he was building in Place de la Concorde in Paris. In 1778, Louis XVI him King's Designer and Architect. He worked on numerous decorative schemes for official events, theatrical performances and funerals, and also directed the decoration of the Paris Opera.
Appointed to the Académie royale in 1780, from 1784 to 1790 he directed the construction of the magnificent town hall in Neuchâtel (Switzerland). In 1785, he built the Hotel Depont des Granges in La Rochelle. Starting in 1787, for the Duchess of Bourbon, he worked on the interior layout of the Palais de l'Elysee, which virtually eliminated the scheme of by his master Boullée, and also redesigned the English garden and built the so-called "de Chantilly" village. It rearranged the buildings and created the English garden of the Abbey of Valasse at Gruchet-le-Valasse (Seine). He also carried out a major neo-classical reconstruction project at the Château de Porrentruy.
Renamed architect of the Menus Plaisirs, he and Louis XVI realised plans for the meeting of the States General at the Hotel des Menus Plaisirs, the workshop for the opera's sets. He was charged by the National Assembly with redeveloping it into an amphitheatre, and installing the same set of gradients in the Tuileries, divided into two, facing a podium. His close friendship with the king, and his attachments with the most radical Enlightenment thinkers, caused him a serious moral crisis during the French Revolution, during which he declined any work offered him, and retired near Le Havre, at Colmoulins.
In 1807, he was acting director of the French Academy in Rome and directed excavations at the Colosseum. He realised his plans for a monument to Louis XVI on the Place de la Concorde, which is the elliptical device with a declaration of the "Droits du Homme", which he had invented for the National Assembly of Menus Plaisirs, and that Chateaubriand had incorporated without citing the author.
Pâris spent the last two years of his life preparing a catalogue of his collection of paintings and antiques, which he bequeathed to the city of Besançon.